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CF 043: Stroke Caused By Chiropractor

CF 043: Stroke Caused By Chiropractor

Today we’re going to talk about Stroke caused by chiropractor and we’re to show you once again what a pile of hooey the idea is and we’ll even talk a bit about where it came from.Integrating Chiropractors

Stick with us but first, we’re going wade through this here bumper music. 

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

You have bee-bopped into Episode #43 and we are so glad to have you. I’ve noticed that podcasts are going into Seasons….Shows you how much I pay attention to stuff outside of what I’m doing. I’m ashamed. I should do Seasons. Here’s the deal though. I enjoy it so much. I actually WANT to put one out every week. It’s not work when you’re having fun right?

It can be a little stressful creating content and talking points but hey, we get through it and have a lot of fun in the process. 

Growth

What a great month this has been in regards to listens and downloads. You’ve heard me say it before but it’s fun to watch. Because I’m a numbers nerd and who the heck doesn’t like to see the growth of a brainchild?

Speaking of growth, I’ve started work on something that I hope you’ll love. I’ll hope you’ll think about using for your own offices, and I think may be pretty cool. I’ll fill you in more and more as we go along but just know, I’m working on something and you should get yourself on our email list at www.chiropracticforward.com so I can tell you about it and maybe pass along discounts, stuff like that. Email list. Do it. 

A little personal…

How has your week been? Mine….well….I have to continue the saga of hiring a new front desk person. Hell people. Actual hell. The first one just didn’t show up. The second one we hired lasted three days. Three freaking days, folks. 

But, we think we have a winner in place now. You know I’m going to keep you all updated on this deal. This by itself has been enough for its own reality show. I’ve never seen anything like it. The workforce right now just doesn’t seem to want to work. At least that’s my experience lately. 

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.

Let’s get to the research papers

First thing’s first. I have covered this stroke caused by chiropractor topic in depth. As in….very in-depth. In Episodes 13, 14, and 15. If you do nothing else this week as far as educating yourself, make sure you go listen to those three episodes in stroke caused by chiropractor or read it on our blog at http://www.chiropracticforward.com all of which are linked here in the show notes. 

Podcast Episodes:

Blog: https://www.chiropracticforward.com/blog-post/debunked-the-odd-myth-that-chiropractors-cause-strokes-revisited/

YouTube Video: https://youtu.be/tRXpG_Ie0Rs

Why go over stroke again?

So, why go over stroke caused by chiropractor again? Well, one reason is that it’s been a while since we touched on the topic. Another being that I heard a prominent speaker just this year talking about chiropractors causing strokes and implying that it happens fairly often. That’s a pro-chiropractic speaker, by the way, acting as if chiropractors are the sole reason for a stroke on a regular basis. 

I don’t think that it is necessarily the way the discussion was meant but it could definitely have been interpreted in that manner if those listening didn’t have the information from our Debunked series. 

The other reason I wanted to cover stroke caused by chiropractor again is that is the main thing in regards to safety that the medical kingdom tries to hold over us. Or that they’ve been told about us. And, instead of doing their work on this, they just believe it. 

New habits take 20 days to cement. We need new habits in the medical realm so I’m doing my part by taking away one of the main things they have against us. One may argue that the philosophy and subluxation model is another thing they hold against us but, all I can do about that is continue to disseminate evidence-based information and keep plugging. We’ll see where that part of it goes in the future. 

Common sense talk

For now, though, it’s about stroke caused by chiropractor this week here on the Chiropractic Forward podcast. Now, let’s compare and contrast shall we?

Did you know that the RAND Institute estimates a chiropractic adjustment is the sole cause of a vertebral artery dissection at the rate of only about 1 in 1 million or more adjustments? And did you know that your chances of winning an Oscar stand at about 1 in 11,500? Your chances of being hit by lightning are 1 in 176,426? 

How about this: NSAIDS like ibuprofen and acetaminophen cause around 16,000 deaths per year and send 100,000 people to the ER in America….EVERY YEAR.

Let’s let all that sink in. I say all of that just to put things into context and to make the point that the medical kingdom needs to quit making such a big damn deal out of trained and licensed chiropractors adjusting necks. 

We’re starting with this paper 2015 by Kosloff and friends titled, “Chiropractic care and the risk of vertebrobasilar stroke: results of a case-control study in U.S. commercial and Medicare Advantage populations[1].” It was published in Chiropractic & Manual Therapies. 

Why They Did It

This is obvious. We’re looking at the real chances of chiropractic adjustments being the culprit for strokes. 

What They Found

There were 1,829 vertebral basilar artery stroke cases

Findings showed no significant association between chiropractic visits and VBA stroke

The Authors’ Conclusion

“We found no significant association between exposure to chiropractic care and the risk of VBA stroke. We conclude that manipulation is an unlikely cause of VBA stroke. The positive association between PCP visits and VBA stroke is most likely due to patient decisions to seek care for the symptoms (headache and neck pain) of arterial dissection. We further conclude that using chiropractic visits as a measure of exposure to manipulation may result in unreliable estimates of the strength of association with the occurrence of VBA stroke.”

Research Paper #2

Just like a rolling stone we are moving on and gathering no grass…..

This next paper is from Church, et. al. and is called, “Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Chiropractic Care and Cervical Artery Dissection: No Evidence for Causation[2].” It was published in Cureus in February of 2016. 

Just to review the research hierarchy for those unaware, systematic reviews and meta-analysis papers are at the tippy top of the food chain just above randomized controlled trials. It’s like people in the animal kingdom. We’re the top predators ya know. 

Anyway, the point is: this is reliable information folks. 

We already know why they did it so let’s skip to what they concluded. “ There is no convincing evidence to support a causal link between chiropractic manipulation and CAD. Belief in a causal link may have significant negative consequences such as numerous episodes of litigation.”

Uhhuh….numerous episodes of litigation based on belief and NOT based on fact or research. Believing stroke caused by chiropractor is unfortunate.

Now we come to the guy that helped put the matter to rest once and for all. If you are unaware of John David Cassidy, let me introduce you. He is a professor at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health and is a Ph.D.

Research Paper #3

Let’s start with his newer one concerning this topic. It’s called “Risk of Carotid Stroke after Chiropractic Care: A Population-Based Case-Crossover Study[3].” It was published in the Journal of Stroke & Cerebrovascular Diseases in 2017. Newer stuff from JD Cassidy, folks. 

As you’ll see, this paper deals with CAROTID artery and stroke specifically whereas the next and last paper deals with the VERTEBRAL artery and stroke. 

  • The why is obvious once again so, what did they find?
  • They compared 15,523 cases to 62,092 control periods using exposure windows of 1, 3, 7, and 14 days prior to the stroke. 
  • There was no significant difference between chiropractic and PCP risk estimates. 
  • They found no association between chiropractic visits and stroke in those 45 years of age or older. 

The Conclusion

“We found no excess risk of carotid artery stroke after chiropractic care. Associations between chiropractic and PCP visits and stroke were similar and likely due to patients with early dissection-related symptoms seeking care prior to developing their strokes.”

Research Paper #4

You’re about to notice a trend here. Next paper is by Cassidy et. al. as well and is called, “Risk of Vertebrobasilar Stroke and Chiropractic Care: Results of a Population-Based Case-Control and Case-Crossover Study[4].” This is the Daddy of papers proving that chiropractic adjustments are not the sole cause of strokes. 

Again, everyone knows why the research was done so let’s get to the meat and taters. 

  • It was done over a nine-year period from April 1993 to March of 2002. 
  • There were 818 vertebrobasilar artery strokes hospitalized in a population of more than 100 million person-years. 
  • There was no increased association between chiropractic visits and VBA stroke in those older than 45 years. 

The Conclusion and nail in the coffin

“VBA stroke is a very rare event in the population. The increased risks of VBA stroke associated with chiropractic and PCP visits is likely due to patients with headache and neck pain from VBA dissection seeking care before their stroke. We found no evidence of excess risk of VBA stroke associated chiropractic care compared to primary care.”

It’s like the action hero cartoons “Shazam” “Pow” “Bang” “Smack!”

Again, believing stroke caused by chiropractor unfortunate.

Wrap It Up

I’ve said it a thousand times. “If we were wrong, we’d have been wiped out years ago.” Lord knows every force of the medical kingdom focused on our demise for generations and that goes from the national and state associations all the way into the national and state legislatures. 

How do you fight against that amount of money and power and survive if you’re not inherently right in what you’re doing?

We can argue amongst ourselves till the cows come home about how to do our jobs but, in the end, we help our patients, we get them better when nobody else can, and….well…we’re right. 

So, the haters in the medical field can take a long walk off a short pier and stick it in their ears. I’m not always professional and that’s OK. I’ve always felt being strictly professional all of the time is more than just a little bit boring. We need more spice, personality, and a lot more laughter in life don’t we? 

Integrating Chiropractors

Affirmation

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

The literature is clear: research and experience show that, in 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, patients get good to excellent results when compared to usual medical care and it’s safe, less expensive, and decreases chances of surgery and disability. It’s done conservatively and non-surgically with little time requirement or hassle for the patient. If done preventatively going forward, we can likely keep it that way while raising overall health! At the end of the day, patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm and THAT’S Chiropractic, folks.

Contact us

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

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

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

Website

http://www.chiropracticforward.com

Social Media Links

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

iTunes

Player FM Link

Stitcher:

TuneIn

About the author:

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

Research Paper Links:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26085925

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/18204390/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27014532

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/27884458/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2271108/

Bibliography

1. Kosloff T, e.a., Chiropractic care and the risk of vertebrobasilar stroke: results of a case–control study in U.S. commercial and Medicare Advantage populations. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, 2015. 23(19).

2. Church E, e.a., Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Chiropractic Care and Cervical Artery Dissection: No Evidence for Causation. Cureus, 2016. 8(2): p. e498.

3. Cassidy, e.a., Risk of Carotid Stroke after Chiropractic Care: A Population-Based Case-Crossover Study. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis, 2017. 26(4): p. 842-850.

4. Cassidy, e.a., Risk of Vertebrobasilar Stroke and Chiropractic Car. Spine, 2008. 33(4S): p. S176-S183.

CF 032: How Evidence-Based Chiropractic Can Help Save The Day

CF 029: w/ Dr. Devin Pettiet – Is Chiropractic Integration Healthy For The Profession?

CF 028: Will Chiropractic First Finally Take Its Place?

 

 

CF 034: Chiropractic Information To Help You Form Your Practice

Chiropractic Information To Help You Form Your Practice

Integrating Chiropractors

Today we’re going to talk about a couple of interesting articles that have come out recently touching on some chiropractic information and it’s all good in the neighborhood for chiropractors. 

But first, here’s that bumper music

OK, we are back. Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  That’s this one…you’re listening to it right now so you don’t have to do anything else at this point. Just listen and chill out. 

Since you’re here, I might as well ask you to go to chiropracticforward.com and sign up for our newsletter. It makes it easier to let you know when the newest episode goes live, when someone new signs up it makes my heart leap a little and in the end, wouldn’t you just like to know when new episodes come out and, what if we end up compiling a team and coming up with some great ideas? Heck yeah, you want to know about that stuff so make sure you’re on the newsletter. It’s just an email guys. Not diamonds or gold. Lol. 

I want to share with you all the fact that our downloads on this podcast have almost DOUBLED from last month. We’ve picked up that much steam in just one month. Thank you to you all for tuning in. If you can continue to share us with your network and give us some pretty sweet reviews on iTunes, I’ll be forever grateful. 

If all you do is listen, that’s awesome and I’m glad you’re a part of this thing. But, if you can take the extra few seconds to share the episode with buddies on Facebook or wherever, THAT’S the real difference.  

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.

You have bee-bopped right into Episode #34

Before we get into it too far, I’m going to be honest with you all. 2018 has been a challenging year for me both business wise as well as personally. For several reasons really. 

When your attention is taken away from where it needs to be, things tend to fall apart little by little and then finally, you go into a mode where you are all hands on deck and really focused on righting the ship. 

Well, that happened to me at the end of 2017 and through a lot of 2018 as well. I’m only sharing this with you because I want listeners to understand that we’re in this dude together. Issues I deal with and are ultimately able to solve…..if I share those experiences with our listeners, I believe it serves to help you in your practice. 

Here’s the deal, an evidence-based chiropractor, whether I like it or not, is somewhat dependent on a steady stream of new patients. That is due to the fact that we don’t try to see our patients a hundred times, right? We don’t develop the reputation of seeing how many times we can run our patients through the door. Do we? Hopefully, this is chiropractic information you can use.

Oh looky here….your insurance allows you to have 27 visits in a year and….what dya know….your specific condition requires exactly 27 visits to resolve. Ugh. That stuff makes me crazy and, unfortunately, chiropractors are notorious for it. I am hoping some updated, reasonable chiropractic information can sway them to the light. 

Just so chiros don’t think I’m bashing too hard here, medical doctors do useless surgeries just because they can do it and get paid for it with little to zero concern about the person it was done to. It’s rampant in all fields. I just notice the chiropractic side of it more than the others because I’m in it. No chiropractor holds on to 100% of their patients. It just doesn’t happen. 

But, if those NUMBERS DOCTORS – the ones hitting certain stats and the ones that are doctor-centered rather than patient-centered….those guys and gals…..I wonder if they have any idea how many patients they drive away by having that kind of model. And I don’t mean drive away from just their practice. I’m also talking about the number of people they drive away from ANY chiropractor because they assume we’re all the same. It all gives me a rash when I think about it. The public doesn’t have the kind of chiropractic information the rest of us have. 

Anyway, new patients: we depend on a steady stream of them. Now, last year, I would average 55-65 new patients a month but, while we started having issues with billing/collections department, I really got down, I got stressed, and honestly, for a bit, doubted the future of my practice remaining in its current state. That leads to self-doubt too. Where you had a ton of confidence, there remains only a shred after having your foundation shaken, right?

As much as you’d like to avoid it, business gets brought home. Especially when it’s an all-consuming feeling of self-doubt and potential impending doom. Lol. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic looking back on it but, when you’re in it, it’s intense. 

As a result of my focus being altered, my new patient count went to 38 here, 42 there. We’re talking 20+ less new patients per month there for a little while. Without changing anything to my knowledge. 

I spoke with a colleague here in town and his numbers have been down as well so maybe it’s not just me. Who knows?

Here’s what I DO know though. As soon as things lined out in the billing/collections department, guess what, the new patient stream started to line out.

How’s that exactly? I don’t know. I’m guessing an increase in confidence in regards to finances leads to an increase in self-confidence and, when all of my focus isn’t on billing/collections, I have the freedom to work on and consider other aspects of the business. And let’s face it, I’m just a much more pleasant person to be around when I’m not worried about the financial health of my company. I’m going to guess you all are the same way. 

Seriously, once we made a change in the billing/collections department (as badly as I did not want to do it), my billing and collections turned around immediately. I mean immediately. Front desk staff became more confident. I became more confident. Patients started paying what they were supposed to pay. Outdated balances got current. THAT’s some good chiropractic information!

Long story short, what started out as a slow 2018 has become a little bit crazy for me and, if it continues, I’m going to have to hire an associate so I can come up for air. Just getting the podcast written up and produced has started to become a real chore in the last several weeks but I’m committed folks. I’m here for the long haul. 

I hope you are too. 

Let’s start our research talk with one from Chiropractic & Manual Therapies dated 17th of July, 2018 called “Chiropractic in global health and wellbeing: a white paper describing the public health agenda of the World Federation of Chiropractic[1]. This was authored by Michele Maiers, et. al. 

The article begins by saying, “The World Federation of Chiropractic supports the involvement of chiropractors in public health initiatives, particularly as it relates to musculoskeletal health.” I noticed there is no neuro before the musculoskeletal description. Curious. 

The authors then say there are three topics that require out focus as chiropractors and they are

  1. Healthy aging
  2. Opioid misuse
  3. Women, children, and adolescents’ health

I guess the men in the crowd are either built heartier or we’re just not quite as important. Lol. 

The WFC want to help us in participating in these areas and promote chiropractic as partners in the broader healthcare system. That’s certainly something I can get on board with. 

Now, this article is pretty darn long so we’re just going to hit some of the more interesting spots. I will have it linked in the show notes so you can go hop online and read the whole thing word for word should you feel the desire. 

In the background section of the article, they say, “In an era where both medical costs and years lived with chronic disease are increasing, calls have been made for closer collaboration between public health officials and healthcare providers. The potential contribution of many providers, including chiropractors and other health care professionals, is often overlooked.”

But then they go on to say our profession needs to identify priority areas of focus and have plans for our engagement in public health based on these areas of focus. 

I am wondering why they feel that men engaged in manual labor activities having chronic low back pain are not worthy of being a focus group here? We’ve talked so much about how low back pain is such a global epidemic and how so much work is missed as a result blah blah blah. 

Maybe I’m just old school. I don’t have any stats to prove my thoughts here but, I would assume the majority of manual labor is on the backs of men. If I’m not right about that, please email me and show me the stats at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com. If I’m wrong, I need to be educated. 

Still, what gives on this? I want to be positive so let’s get back to the paper. 

In the area of Healthy Aging, they state the world’s population is getting older and older with the number of folks over the age of 60 years old expected to double in the first half of this century. 

That’s assuming they get control of opioids right? We covered an article some time back that said the US expected lifespan has actually decreased in the last two years rather than increased because of opioids so there is that to keep in mind. 

They mention that “Musculoskeletal conditions are a leading contributor to non-communicable burden of disease, predominantly low-back pain and osteoarthritis.” 

And…”Physical activity is key in the prevention, treatment, and management of most chronic conditions affecting older adults, including musculoskeletal complaints. Chiropractors should consider prescribing exercise, with or without manual therapy, for spine care in older adults. Such approaches are supported by an evidence-based framework, which includes clinical practice guidelines.” Great chiropractic information.

Isn’t it nice to see the WFC using evidence-based terminology and approaching things from an evidence-based platform? Everything mentioned in this article has resources that are cited. It feels good and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling all over. 

They also talk about how falling is a major concern among the older crowd and how exercises and physical activity helping to maintain strength and balance can help prevent them. 

They mention potential barriers to older folks getting chiropractic care. If you are a regular listener of our podcast, you know about the White House report that actually said CMS creates barriers to patients seeking care under a chiropractor[2]. I just linked that in the show notes if you want to look at it. It’s on page 57 so you can avoid reading the whole thing just to get that snippet.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/images/Final_Report_Draft_11-3-2017.pdf

How does that get resolved exactly? I think that’s what happens when we have government-run healthcare in my opinion. They have to cut costs and the services they feel are of the least value will go away in terms of coverage. 

I think that’s what is going on with Medicare. Research shows it’s effective but we can’t get anything other than an adjustment covered. What other reason would there be? Pass on any of your chiropractic information you can share with us on this.

Onto focus area #2: Opioid misuse. 

Boy we’ve covered this one. Like….a lot. Let’s see if they have anything new here for us to chew on. 

Here’s a new stat I haven’t seen before, “Opioids account for 70% of the negative health impact associated with drug use disorders globally, and are considered the most harmful drug type .” They also say, “Approximately 69,000 people worldwide die from opioid overdose each year, with a large toll of overdose deaths in the United States and Canada.”

Then they say something I completely agree with, “The opioid misuse crisis creates an impetus for chiropractors and chiropractic organizations to collaborate with other healthcare providers, decision makers, and stakeholders. Patient-centered, inter-professional collaboration should be expanded for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain, with chiropractors playing a larger role on multidisciplinary pain management teams.”

Notice they say “Patient-centered.” Not “Doctor-centered.” Not offices and doctors that do things to hit numbers. Not doctors that see a patient 80 visits. Not those guys. Patient-centered, evidence-based chiropractors are in the right spot right now folks. 

OK, priority #3: Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health. 

When covering some of the relevant issues for this group, they cite pregnancy-related back pain and pelvic pain and post-partum spinal disorders which may impede recovery. 

The second issue cited is hormonal changes, dietary factors, and physical inactivity are all factors for osteoporosis. 

The third is violence against women and girls causing injury. I’m just not sure how in the year 2018 we still have violence against women and girls or children in general. Human beings can be cretins, can’t we? Lack of parenting? Inherent evil in the offenders? Who knows? It’s hard to postulate on something you understand nothing about. 

Here’s something in the article I can agree with 100% they say that women are the major decision maker for their families. If you are marketing men…..in most markets, you are wasting your money. 

I can’t tell you how many men come in here and when we ask how they found us or what brings them here today, they say, “My wife. This is where my wife told me to be. I didn’t want to come. I don’t like doctors but my wife is tired of my griping about my back.”

Market the ladies and you market effectively. End of story. 

To summarize the article, the WFC says they are developing tools with the goal of empowering chiropractors and WFC member organizations to engage in public health activities in the three identified priority areas. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re going to come up with. Exciting stuff here. Great chiropractic information.

The next article I want to cover quickly is one written by Dr. Christine Goertz called “What Does Research Reveal About Chiropractic Costs?” and it was published on the ACA Blog on July 10, 2018[3]. 

Dr. Goertz by saying something ALL evidence-based chiros can yell, “Amen,” at and that is where she says, “Without a doubt, the most common issues raised by those outside the profession relate to the quality and consistency of chiropractic care delivery. The second most commonly asked question invariably pertains to the costs associated with chiropractic care.”

So….AMEN! 

Another amen quote would be this one: “(Evidence) consistently shows that patients with low back and neck pain who are treated by chiropractors have either similar or lower costs than those seeking care from other providers. In particular, it appears that patients who visit a chiropractor are less likely to undergo hospitalization, resulting in lower global healthcare costs than those who receive medical care only.”

Hallelujah. If you love this chiropractic information you need to share this chiropractic information.

When addressing the cost of chiropractic care, Dr. Goertz mentions a paper we have covered here by Hurwitz[4] that concluded that found that health care expenditures for patients with low back pain, neck pain, and headaches were all lower in those who received chiropractic care alone when compared to any other combination of healthcare providers. 

Well, that’s some sexy chiropractic information, isn’t it? Of course it is. You realize you can use articles like this and the information you get from podcasts like this to help you educate your population and your area’s Medical professionals right? Are you listening or are you listening and utilizing? That’s a good question to think about. I have cited the Hurwitz paper in the show notes for your own independent review. 

She then covers a paper by Martin et. al. that we will be covering soon. Over 12,000 patients with 4,300 or so using alternative healthcare. 75% of the alternative users (3,225) were treated with chiropractic. This is big for chiropractic since those treating with alternative means had $424 less in spinal care and $796 less in total healthcare costs. Average healthcare spending for alternative care users was on average $526 lower. 

Huge, absolutely huge folks. If that doesn’t put a grin on your face, you’re dead. You need a defibrillator muy pronto, amigo. Share this chiropractic information won’t you?

This week, I want you to go forward with this: Don’t you understand that if we chiropractors were wrong, we’d have been wiped out by now? We are right. We have been right and we will continue to be right. What we do is so powerful that our profession has persisted and, in fact, prospered in spite of the non-evidence-based people out there on the fringe giving the rest of bad names. The hucksters and profiteers have not even been able to destroy it. They’ve held us back, no doubt. But they haven’t been able to extinguish us and that’s pretty powerful. We are right. Keep on keeping on with confidence. 

Integrating Chiropractors

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

The literature is clear: research and experience show that, in 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, patients get good to excellent results when compared to usual medical care and it’s safe, less expensive, and decreases chances of surgery and disability. It’s done conservatively and non-surgically with little time requirement or hassle for the patient. If done preventatively going forward, we can likely keep it that way while raising overall health! At the end of the day, patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm and THAT’S Chiropractic, folks.

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

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

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

??Website

http://www.chiropracticforward.com

??Social Media Links

??iTunes

??Player FM Link

??Stitcher:

??TuneIn

Bibliography

1. Maiers M, Chiropractic in Global Health and wellbeing: a white paper describing the public health agenda of the World Federation of Chiropractic. Chiropr Man Therap, 2018. 26(26).

2. The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and The Opioid Crisis. 2017.

3. Goertz C, What Does Research Reveal About Chiropractic Costs?, in ACA Blog. 2018: ACA Blog.

4. 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.

Relevant Links

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

 

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

 

CF 030: Integrating Chiropractors – What’s It Going To Take?

Episode #30

Integrating Chiropractors – What’s It Going To TakeIntegrating Chiropractors

Today we’re going to talk about what the medical field may be looking for when integrating chiropractors into their referral network. We’ll also talk about a recent article discussing The Lancet papers and whether or not the Chiropractic profession needs to take more care…..or care at all for that matter. 

But first, here’s that bumper music

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

Before we get started, it was brought to my attention by Dr. Ryan Doss out in Lubbock, TX that our Chiropractic Froward episodes in iTunes only go back to Episode 18 or 19 right now. This is a new development that I’m not sure exactly how to fix or what to do about it at this time but, I am trying to figure it out. For now, though, you can go to our website at www.chiropracticforward.com and have access to all of the directly right there. All of them in one place.  

I want to ask you to go to chiropracticforward.com and sign up for our newsletter. It makes it easier to let you know when the newest episode goes live and it’s just nice of you and helps me notify when a new episode is up and ready for you. 

I’m always offering myself up for speaking opportunities or to be a guest on YOUR podcast or at your seminar.  Just send me an email at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com and we will connect.

I have to tell you that I have recently joined the Facebook group called Forward Thinking Chiropractic Alliance led by Dr. Bobby Maybee who also hosts the Forward Thinking Chiropractic Podcast and I have been a member of the Evidence-Based Chiropractic group over there on Facebook for a while now. That one is led by Dr. Marc Broussard and has several highly respected admins. 

First, I host the Chiropractic Forward podcast and Bobby Maybee hosts the Forward Thinking Chiropractic podcast. Those sound similar right? And….to be fair…in regards to focusing on researched information and draggin’ chiropractic further into the evidence-based realm, we are very similar. OF course, we have different deliveries and Forward Thinking Chiropractic Alliance has been around longer than we have. Integrating chiropractors is a common topic. 

When I was trying to figure out what to name my podcast, I somehow came up with Chiropractic Forward. I Googled it and nothing showed up for Chiropractic Forward and I was so excited and ran with it. It wasn’t until a few months later that I stumbled on Forward Thinking Chiropractic and thought, well hell…. But, though there are similarities in the names, I do my thing and Bobby and his crew do theirs and they are very successful and good at what they are doing. In the end, I hope we are both extremely healthy for chiropractors everywhere a podcast can be heard. 

There is also Dr. Jeff Langmaid known as the Evidence-Based Chiropractor. Jeff has built an amazing brand talking about many of the things we talk about here and he does a great job with it. He’s a great speaker. Clear, concise, and easy to understand. 

So, outside of myself and the Chiropractic Forward Podcast, I hope you will give Dr. Bobby Maybee and the Forward Thinking Chiropractic Podcast a listen as well as Dr. Jeff Langmaid and the Evidence-based Chiropractor Podcast. They are excellent resources for further learning and understanding on all of this stuff. Again, integrating chiropractors is a common topic and you know I love that topic!

The Facebook groups I mentioned are simply priceless when it comes to being an evidence-based chiropractor.

I’ve found myself from time to time feeling a little uncomfortable and surrounded by ideas and philosophies within our profession that I just never got behind or could support. I’ve had to sit through countless speeches that made my eyes roll with disbelief. The Evidence-Based Chiropractic group and the Forward Thinking Chiropractic Alliance groups on Facebook are groups that fit me like a glove. As I said, integrating chiropractors is a topic I’m on board with. I’m not super active in there but really do enjoy reading the threads, opinions, and yes….even some light arguing here and there. But, these groups are very educational and an absolute must if you are evidence-based. 

We have a Chiropractic Forward group as well on Facebook but it’s new and just now getting going. I’d love to invite you all over there to join up with us as well as like our Facebook page itself and maybe even check us out on Twitter at chiro_forward. 

Hey, I’m doing my part to get the word out. You can rest assured on that. 

Enough social media talk, 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 and I’ve never shy-ed away from big goals. You shouldn’t either!

You have collapsed into Episode #30. I can’t believe I started this journey 30 weeks ago. It’s crazy to think. I really can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed it so far. I suppose it takes some amount of hubris to think anyone would care about what you have to say but, in the end, don’t you just have to go where you’re led? That’s what I’m doing and I’m glad you’re coming along with me each week.

We have talked a lot in previous episodes about integrating chiropractors. Whether that means integrating chiropractors into a hospital setting, bringing medical services into your clinic, or some sort of co-treatment/referral sort of set up between the chiropractor and other medical professionals. Regardless, integrating chiropractors is the next step for our profession. 

On that note, let’s start with the article about The Lancet papers on low back pain. This was in Chiropractic & Manual Therapies and Published June 25, 2018. Brand new stuff here folks. This was written by Simon French, et. al. and titled “Low back pain: a major global problem for which the chiropractic profession needs to take more care(French S 2018).” 

The abstract on this article introduces the series of papers published in The Lancet back in March of 2018 which provided the global community with a comprehensive description of low back pain, treatment recommendations based on research, and low back pain going forward from where we are currently. 

They go on to mention what we have been saying over and over here on the podcast. And that is that chiropractic is poised to step in and run the show for non-complicated low back pain. But, according to the authors and according to the Chiropractic Forward podcast, many chiropractors make statements and do things that aren’t supported by robust, contemporary evidence. 

We went through the Lancet papers here on the podcast and you can listen to them by going back to episodes 16, 17, and 18. I encourage you to do so. There really is some excellent information from a multidisciplinary panel of low back pain experts around the world. 

The authors of the Lancet papers, if you follow them on Twitter, have said repeatedly that they don’t want this paper to be profession specific. Meaning, they don’t want to come right out and say, “Hey folks, chiropractors should be the first referral or, we recommend PTs take any and all low back pain patients first and then deal them out where needed for more treatment.” 

I think that’s probably smart on their part but, as a chiropractic advocate, I have no problem throwing our hat in the ring and saying that research has proven several times over that spinal manipulation is superior to the mobilization that PTs perform AND less expensive. If chiropractors are less expensive and more effective, then why in the Hell WOULDN’T we be the first referral for these low back pain patients? Integrating chiropractors makes more sense now than ever before.

This paper goes on to mention that there has been a shift in thinking on low back pain in recent years from the traditional medical approach to a more patient-centered, evidence-based, non-pharma approach putting chiropractors right where they always should have been. 

They also talk about how The Lancet papers say that imaging needs to be reduced significantly. Wouldn’t you agree that may be a challenge for the way many chiropractors practice? You know who you are out there! They also discuss how evidence doesn’t support ongoing passive chiropractic care. This will also be an obstacle for many in my profession. In addition, they state that many chiropractors implement therapy modalities that simply have little to zero good evidence supporting them. 

French says chiropractors are in the right placed but not enough of us are actively involved in research and our research output is small when compared to other healthcare professions. Integrating chiropractors into the medical field will require more research production from our profession that we currently see. 

He also says that the chiropractic profession needs to be more integrated to be a major player if we are to be able to fulfill the role The Lancet papers put us in. And I agree wholeheartedly. If you check out episode #20 called Chiropractic Evolution or Extinction, you’ll hear a robust discussion on this. 

CF 020: Chiropractic Evolution or Extinction?

 

French’s conclusion highlights the reason the Chiropractic Forward podcast exists. It puts a spotlight right on the purpose if you listen close enough. 

He wraps up the article by saying the following: “Our low back pain “call to action” for the chiropractic profession is to get our house in order. In our opinion, nothing is more relevant to chiropractors than people with low back pain, and the evidence clearly shows that we can do a better job for the millions of people who experience this potentially debilitating condition every year. Chiropractors in clinical practice need to provide higher quality care in line with recommendations from evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.

The chiropractic profession is perfectly placed to be a major player in providing a part of the solution to the global challenge of low back pain. But the profession has been shut out of this role in most countries around the world due to, amongst many other things, internal political conflict, a lack of political will, and a minority of chiropractors who provide non-evidence-based approaches. The profession needs to invest heavily to support chiropractors who wish to undertake high-quality research directed at solving this major global problem.”

Amen amen amen. I’ve always wished I knew more about running my own research projects. It’s just not something we were taught. I’m looking at maybe searching out a mentor to help me get my own projects going…..maybe just case reports but something…. and get them published. Although the idea of generating my own research projects makes me want to punch myself in the nose, I know it’s important towards integrating chiropractors.

OK, let’s shift gears a bit. If we are poised and ready for integrating chiropractors and we start following evidence-based protocols, that’s all fine and dandy and moving in the right direction. However, what if there are already perceptions out there in the medical field we’ll be needing to change? I said what it? I meant, of course, there are negative perceptions of us that will have to be battled. It’s a fact. 

Here is a paper from June 22, 2018, by Stacie Salsbury, et. al. called “Be good, communicate, and collaborate: a qualitative analysis of stakeholder perspectives on adding a chiropractor to the multidisciplinary rehabilitation team(Salsbury S).” It would have been more fun if Salsbury would have just titled it “Stop, collaborate and listen if you want to be a good chiropractic physician….. but……she didn’t. We’re obviously not dealing with a Vanilla Ice fan here. It’s probably a good thing that, so far, I’m not responsible for naming research papers. 

Anyway, this paper wanted to explore the qualities preferred in a chiropractor by key stakeholders in a neurorehabilitation setting. 

How They Did It

  • It was a qualitative analysis of a multi-phase, organizational case study
  • It was designed to evaluate the planned integration of a chiropractor into a multidisciplinary rehabilitation team
  • It was a 62-bed rehabilitation specialty hospital
  • Participants were patients, families, community members, and professional staff of administrative, medical, nursing, and therapy departments. 
  • Data collection was from audiotaped, individual interviews and profession-specific focus groups 
  • 60 participants were interviewed in June 2015
  • 48 were staff members, 6 were patients, 4 were family members, and 2 were community members. 
  • The analysis process helped them produce a conceptual model of The Preferred Chiropractor for Multidisciplinary Rehabilitation Settings. 

What They Found

  • The central domain was Patient-Centeredness, meaning the practitioner would be respectful, responsive, and inclusive of the patient’s values, preferences, and needs. This was mentioned in all interviews and linked to all other themes. Of course, I may interject my own opinion here if you don’t mind. Isn’t the lack of patient-centered care the MAIN gripe when it comes to medical doctors too?!? That’s not just a chiropractic issue. 
  • The Professional qualities domain highlighted clinical acumen, efficacious treatment, and being a safe practitioner. Again, something desired of all practitioners regardless of discipline I would think. 
  • Interpersonal Qualities encouraged chiropractors to offer patients their comforting patience, familiar connections, and emotional intelligence
  • Interprofessional Qualities emphasized teamwork, resourcefulness, and openness to feedback as characteristics to enhance the chiropractor’s ability to work within an interdisciplinary setting.
  • Organizational Qualities, including personality fit, institutional compliance, and mission alignment were important attributes for working in a specific healthcare organization.

Wrap It Up

Salsbury ended the article with this conclusion, “Our findings provide an expanded view of the qualities that chiropractors might bring to multidisciplinary healthcare settings. Rather than labeling stakeholder perceptions as good, bad or indifferent as in previous studies, these results highlight specific attributes chiropractors might cultivate to enhance the patient outcomes and the experience of healthcare, influence clinical decision-making and interprofessional teamwork, and impact healthcare organizations.”

Now when you go a little deeper than the abstract you’ll see statements that hint at the fact that, when it comes to chiropractors there is fragmentation, disconnection, boundary skirmishes, and a general failure to communicate. 

In addition, the primary care providers and medical specialists have recognized the ability of some chiropractors to treat some musculoskeletal stuff in some patients but that’s about it right now. Couple that with the fact that most in the medical kingdom report just not knowing much about chiropractic or its treatments. 

Some medical providers express concern about the safety of spinal manipulation and have voiced skepticism over the efficacy of our protocols. Let’s be fair, I have my own concerns and am skeptical of some of their protocols as well so that swings both ways friends. But for evidence-based chiropractors, integrating chiropractors into the field makes perfect sense.

When talking to orthopedic surgeons that had particularly negative attitudes toward chiropractors, they typically cited something a patient told them or would cite aspects of the fringe element of the chiropractic community that allowed the surgeons to question the ethics of some chiropractors, to comment on the inadequacy of educational training, and comment on the sparse scientific basis of chiropractic treatments. 

To all of this, I say…..what the hell rock have these people been living under? Sure question the ethics of some. I question the ethics of A LOT of chiropractors if I’m being honest. I could be a wealthy man right now myself but I wouldn’t be able to sleep knowing I’m taking advantage of people. But, what about laminectomies? What about the fact that outcomes have never improved for lumbar fusion but they incidence of performing fusions has gone sky high. Where are the ethics on that? The epidural shots have shot through the roof without any improved outcomes and proof of zero long-term benefits. Where are the ethics?

If you question our education, know what you’re talking about first. That’s all I’m saying. The admission scale is low admittedly. There are philosophy courses I could do without. There are a few technique classes I think are worthless but, overall, the education of chiropractors is outstanding. Are physical therapists getting the same basic science courses the medical doctors are getting? Is that happening? From a quick search of the Physical Therapist curriculum, it appears that it is not so what on Earth are these people even talking about?

The other comment was the sparse body of research. Let’s just say that I’ve been blogging on chiropractic research since 2009 every single week without repeating research papers. The body of research is absolutely there. They’re just ignorant of it. It’s that simple. And where is the research for some of the garbage they utilize? 

I’m in no way saying chiropractors don’t need to step up. They most certainly do in a big way if integrating chiropractors si to become a reality. I hope the evidence-based guys and gals are starting to find more places they feel comfortable out there in social media and starting to find more of a voice within the profession. I truly believe there are many many more evidence-based chiros than there are others. Let’s be honest here. If you want to fit into healthcare, you damn well better do it based on solid research and evidence backing your profession and protocols. 

If I went through this paper from top to bottom, we’d be here for hours, I would have a red face from defending chiropractic, my blood pressure would be sky high, and my vernacular would probably devolve into meaningless gibberish at some point. So I’m going to leave it there. I gave you some highlights, I have it cited in the show notes. Go and read it and email me your thoughts. I’d love to hear them. 

This week, I want you to go forward with some things a poster in the Evidence-based chiropractic group on facebook the other day that I thought had value when it comes to what we’re talking about. She said:

Chiropractic is not a religion. 

A medical doctor should be able to understand the language coming out of your mouth, if they do not, they need to be able to find it cited in a medical textbook. 

I think chiropractic has a long way to go. It does indeed. But, not as far as we had to go 5 years ago. We still have too many people out there on the fringe. We still have far too many practices that are about numbers instead of being patient-centered. Don’t you think that when your business is patient-centered, your patients know that and the money takes care of itself? 

On the other hand, if you are trying to get 50 visits out of a patient, some will go for it, but many more will be turned off by it and will not return. Not only that but for many patients, you will have ruined the entire profession in their eyes based on your act of hitting numbers rather than making sure you’re doing what is best for the patient. That’s just being as honest as I know how to be. I know some won’t like that much but it’s a fact. 

I can’t tell you how many patients I have gotten from a guy that made patients sign contracts for treatment and when treatment didn’t work, he wouldn’t allow them out of the contract. How in the hell does that fit into healthcare folks? It certainly not patient-centered in any shape form or fashion and you’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise. You will never see us integrating chiropractors into the medical profession with junk like that. 

I told you that I can’t tell you how many patients we got from this guy’s poor ethics but, the bigger question is, “How many patents did he ruin on the idea of chiropractic so now they’re out there thinking they have to suffer in pain when all they had to do was visit a chiropractor better equipped with a high standard of ethics?”

THAT is the real question. 

We have to improve, yes. But, for us to integrate properly, the medical kingdom has to improve as well in regards to musculoskeletal complaints, proper recommendations and treatments, and in their perception and understanding of chiropractic and what we can do for these patients. It’s not all one-sided in my mind. 

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

When you look at the body of literature, it is clear: research and clinical experience show that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, patients get good to excellent results with Chiropractic when compared to usual medical care. It’s safe, less expensive, decreases chances of surgery and disability. Chiropractors do it conservatively and non-surgically with little time requirement or hassle for the patient. And, if the patient has a “preventative” mindset going forward, chiropractors can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health! At the end of the day, patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm and THAT’S Chiropractic, folks.

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 heard on integrating chiropractors, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. We want to ask you to share us with your network and help us build this podcast into the #1 Chiropractic podcast in the world. More people need to hear about integrating chiropractors!

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

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

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

 

 

 

French S (2018). “Low back pain: a major global problem for which the chiropractic profession needs to take more care.” Chiropr Man Therap 26(28).

Salsbury S “Be good, communicate, and collaborate a qualitative analysis of stakeholder perspectives on adding a chiropractor to the multidisciplinary rehabilitation team.” Chiropr Man Therap 26(29).

Today’s topic was integrating chiropractors, integrating chiropractors, and integrating chiropractors. : )

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

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

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

But first, here’s that bumper music!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s look at a couple of possiblities:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why They Did It

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

How They Did It

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

Wrap It Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Media Links

iTunes

Bibliography

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

CF 020: Chiropractic Evolution or Extinction?

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

CF 020: Chiropractic Evolution or Extinction?

Chiropractic Evolution or Extinction?

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

First, bring on that bumper music!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrap It Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Media Links
https://www.facebook.com/chiropracticforward/
https://twitter.com/Chiro_Forward
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtc-IrhlK19hWlhaOGld76Q

iTunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/chiropractic-forward-podcast-chiropractors-practicing/id1331554445?mt=2

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

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

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

 

 

References

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

 

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

Review of The Lancet Article: Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions (Part Two)

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 #2 from the Lancet series called Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions. 

Before we get started, I want to draw your attention our website at http://www.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.

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, prevention of low back pain, and treatment of 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. 

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 for 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 second paper of the series titled, “Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions.”

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 “Prevention and treatment of low back pain,” 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.

Paper 2 Summary:

Recommendations commonly offered for those with low back pain include:

  • Pharmacologic implementation is not typically a first line choice
  • Education supporting self-management
  • Resumption of regular daily activities
  • Resumption of exercise
  • Psychological programs for those with low back pain that tends to linger
  • Limited or non-use of medication
  • Limited or non-use of imaging
  • Limited or non-use of surgery

The authors state that these recommendations for prevention and treatment of low back pain are derived from high-income countries and that they are concentrated on treatment rather than preventative recommendations. 

The authors state there is an inappropriate high usage of the following treatments for low back pain:

  • Spinal injections
  • Imaging
  • Opioids
  • Surgery
  • Rest

In the rest of the paper, the authors identify some promising directions and solutions for treatment of low back pain including the redesign of clinical pathways, an integrated health partnership, and occupational interventions to get workers back when possible.

Prevention

  • A 2016 systematic review with 30,850 adults showed that there was moderate quality evidence that exercise alone, or in combination with education, is effective for prevention of low back pain. 
  • However, the review was mainly for secondary prevention and the exercise program required an intense schedule of twenty 1-hour supervised sessions.
  • A 2014 systematic review with 2700 children that found moderate quality evidence that education is not effective. They also found that ergonomic furniture was likely no more help in preventing low back pain than regular furniture. 

Treatment

The authors cite three studies. The studies come from Denmark, the UK, and the USA. 

  • All three of the studies (Danish, UK and USA) recommend spinal manipulation as an effective treatment of low back pain. The UK study specifically recommends spinal manipulation in conjunction with an exercise protocol. 
  • As my own side note, in America, chiropractors perform 90% of all spinal manipulations. When we are discussing spinal manipulation and it’s role in treating low back pain, it is important to keep in mind which profession is the one being recommended. Although the authors do not come out and recommend chiropractic specifically, when spinal manipulations are recommended, it is a well-known fact that chiropractors are the doctors that are best-equipped to perform the treatment. 
  • Also in the US guidelines, there is a recommendations for the marked reduction of pharmacologic care. 
  • Some key advice coming from these updated recommendations (besides the use of spinal manipulation) is to assure patients they are not suffering from serious disease, that they will indeed improve in time, that they should continue as much movement and exercise as can be tolerated, they should avoid bed rest, and they should get back to work as soon as possible. 
  • The authors recommend physical treatments. Certainly for chronic low back pain which refers to pain lasting longer than 12 weeks. Physical treatments included exercise programs targeting the patients’ abilities, preferences, etc. 
  • The authors stated that passive therapies such as electric stim, interferential, traction, diathermy, and back supports seem to be ineffective. As a side note, it’s strictly anecdotal but this panel of experts are going to have a hard time convincing me traction, when done correctly, is not effective. I’ve seen patients avoid surgery from traction therapy alone.
  • They say new recommendations encourage doctors consider psychological therapies such as cognitive behavior therapies, progressive relaxation therapy, and mindfulness-based stress reduction alone or in combination with other physical and psychological treatment for chronic low back pain with or without radiculopathy having not responded to other treatments. 
  • If the condition persists and the patient is functionally disabled, the authors then recommend multidisciplinary rehab with supervised exercise, cognitive behavior, and medication. 
  • Of course, routine use of opioids is not advised.
  • Recommend no spinal epidural injections or facet joint injections for low back pain
  • Do recommend epidural injections of local anesthetic & steroid for radicular pain, however, as we have discussed before, epidural steroid injections show short-term effectiveness only if they are effective at all and have no influence at all on long-term disability or future need for surgery. In my own research, epidural steroid injections have shown to increase risk of spinal fracture up to 21% after each subsequent injection. 
  • Surgery – the benefits for spinal fusion when the back pain was thought to be due to degenerated discs were about equal to the results gained with intensive multidisciplinary rehab and only a modest improvement over non-surgical treatment. In addition, surgery has obvious downsides like expense, recovery, medication, and the risk of adverse events. However, surgery may be indicated when the patient is suffering severe or progressive neurological symptoms and surgery may be indicated when patients suffer radicular pain, have failed first line treatment, and the symptoms can be traced to via imaging to a disc or stenosis origin. 
  • Ultimately, the authors say, low back pain patients have a tendency to resolve with out without surgical intervention so waiting and trying to avoid surgery is certainly appropriate. 
  • Research dealing with low back pain in children or in low and middle income countries is limited so a lot is unknown for those categories, however, the two studies that actually have been done in low and middle income countries (Brazil and Philippines) have similar results as those in high income countries. 

The global gap between evidence and practice

This section masterfully demonstrates the difference between evidence-based medicine and what is really happening in the real world.

  • They start by stating that low back pain should be managed by primary care practitioners and then go on to list studies showing how it is being managed, in many cases, by emergency rooms, hospitals, and surgeons. 
  • Their next directive is to provide low back pain patients with education and advice on self management and then show how, in the real world, roughly only 20%-23% of practitioners seem to actually do so. 
  • The next directive is for low back pain patients to stay active and get to work or stay at work if possible. They go on to cite research showing how, in the real world, medical professionals are recommending rest and time off work. In India, for example, 46% of physiotherapists recommended rest to low back pain patients and in Brazil, rheumatologist recommended rest. 
  • The next comparison was for the guideline that imaging should only be ordered if the practitioner suspects a specific cause that would guide treatment and case management differing from normal care recommendations. In the USA, for example, from 2010-2013 the rate of imaging the low back with no red flags stayed consistent at 53.7%.  If we thought that was excessive, the authors go on to cite information from India showing 100% of chronic low back pain patients in an orthopedic clinic underwent imaging for non-specific low back pain. Similar results were found through the other studies cited for low and middle income countries. 
  • The next comparison was for the guideline that the first line treatments should be non-pharmacologic. They found that this guideline is not commonly followed citing research for high income countries demonstrating that 64.5% of low back pain patients in Australia from 2000-2010 were prescribed meds on the first visit and, on a personal note, I had a patient here in the USA just this morning with acute low back pain that was prescribed pain meds on the first day. To be fair, his pain is severe but, they are not following guidelines and the meds have had no impact on his level of pain still he continues to take them as ordered. Medication for no effect essentially. In the lower and middle-income countries, the authors cite research showing that in South Africa, 90% of the low back pain patients going to a primary care physician received medication. 
  • The next guideline was that many times, there was advice to avoid electrical physical modalities such as diathermy, etc. In the high-income setting, Swedish physiotherapists recommend transcutaneous stim for low back pain to the tune of 38%, 75% of American PTs use lumbar traction, and a Spanish National Health Service study suggested 38.6% of physical therapy costs were for treatments known to have no effectiveness.
  • The next guide comparison was that the use of opioids is discouraged. The authors go on to cite prescription rates from 2004-2009 and, to be honest, I think the opioid epidemic has likely caused the numbers cited to actually drop. Although opioid addiction is on the rise, it’s my opinion that it is now at the forefront of the national story. With the sort of attention it has demanded, I cannot imagine the numbers staying the same. That is my opinion, of course. 
  • Next guide was that surgery and interventional treatment should be very limited or possibly eliminated for low back pain. In the real world, this is not occurring. In the USA in 2011, spinal fusion was the reason for the most costs of any surgical procedure in the nation. US Medicare covered 2,023,481 epidural injections (a substantial increase from 2000-2011), 990,449 lumbar or sacral facet injections as well as 406,378 lumbar or sacral facet neurotomy treatments, Medicare funded 252,654 sacroiliac joint injections. Two-thirds of Dutch spinal surgeons perform spinal fusion surgeries. 
  • The next guide comparison was that exercise is now recommended for the treatment of chronic low back pain. A 2009 paper the authors cited showed that 54% of Americans with chronic low back pain were not prescribed any exercise as treatment. 
  • The final guide comparison was done for the recommendation that a biopsychosocial framework guide the management for low back pain patients. In the USA, only 12% of chronic low back pain patients had been treated for their diagnosed depression in the year prior and only 8.4% were recommended cognitive behavioral treatment. 

Promising Directions

Implementation of the best available evidence

The authors state here that some of the biggest issues toward implementation of new low back guidelines may be short consultation times, the practitioners having a decreased amount of knowledge on the guides, fear of being sued if missing serious pathology, and an effort to appease patients’ desires and, in my opinion, be the “good guy” in the patients’ eyes. However, the authors explain that there are some examples of successful implementation and that widespread use may be achieved through dispelling existing established practice patterns, repetition of the guides, and finding out what is the most effective and cost-effective treatments. 

The authors suggest integrated education of health-care professionals surmising that such a thing could not only educate & innovate but also break through professional barriers that exist. Professional barriers such as exist between many in the medical field and the chiropractic field. 

Clinical systems and pathways

The authors say that one solution in the treatment of low back pain could be a radical departure from current procedure and move toward a stratified primary care model known as STarT Back. This model is a two-part model with the first part consisting of a questionnaire to help the practitioner identify the patient’s risk of persistent disabling pain. The second part consists of treatments tailored to the patients level of risk according to the first part questionnaire. 

Another option along these lines would be to redesign the entire case management paths from first contact all the way through to the specialized care practitioner. They argue that a current barrier to doing this is the fact that healthcare reimbursements are currently geared toward quantity rather than quality. Two programs the authors cited for examples of promising pathways are Canada’s Saskatchewan Spine Pathway as well as NHS England’s program. 

Integrate health and occupational interventions

The authors argue in this section that healthcare and occupational health interventions need to be considered simultaneously when it comes to patients with low back pain and work disability issues. Return to work commonly happens before the absence of pain. Even hurting, people can still return to work. The authors tend to have a very strong recommendation on never leaving work or returning as quickly as possible. 

Due to very specific examples, I have admittedly glossed over this section to avoid inaccuracies and unintended generalizations. I highly encourage your reading the paper on your own time for accuracy. 

Public health interventions

In this section, the authors are discussing public relations: how to get the word out. How to change public perception of back pain and the treatment of low back pain. They cite a successful campaign in Australia that used television ads with prominent public figures serving as the spokespeople. They felt it was well-funded and was successful in part due to the proper messaging but also due to laws and public policies that supported the campaign. 

Conclusions

The authors admit that even the solutions put forth in this paper are based on relatively limited evidence. The following are quotes from the conclusion:

  • “Focusing on key principles, such as the need to reduce unnecessary health care for low back pain, support people to be active and stay at work, and reform unhelpful patient clinical pathways and reimbursement models, could guide next steps.”
  • “No single solution will be effective, and a collective, global effort will take time, determination, and organization. Without the collaborative efforts of people with low back pain, policy makers, clinicians, and researchers necessary to develop and implement effective solutions, disability rates, and expenditure for low back pain will continue to rise.”

Key Takeaways:

A paper of this size and of this magnitude, and with the level of education of contributors honestly cannot be done complete justice by a review such as this. I admittedly hit the high spots on the treatment of low back pain. I am more focused in some areas than in others. More specific for some topics and more general in others. That is the nature of a summarization and I hope I am allowed that latitude. 

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 and interested in treatment of low back pain, 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. 

Next week we will review the third and final paper of this three paper series. Next week’s paper is called “Low back pain: a call to action.” It will continue with ideas toward treatment of low back pain. 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 https://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. 

 

Here is the link for Part One of The Lancet Review from last week:

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

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

 

 

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

Low Back Pain: A Major Global Challenge

On the Chiropractic Forward podcast this week, we are going to do a review of The Lancet article on Low Back Pain. It is a recent paper published in march 2018 that we hope will have a powerful impact in the months and years to follow. 

Before we get started with this review of The Lancet article on Low Back Pain, I want to draw your attention our website at https://www.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, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast where we talk about issues related to health, chiropractic, evidence, chiropractic advocacy, and research. Thank you for taking time out of your day I know your time is valuable and I want to fill it with value so here we go with some vital information that we think can build confidence and improve your practice which will improve your life overall. 

You have illegally u-turned into Episode #16 and criminals are welcome so make yourself at home. Again, we are doing a review of The Lancet article on Low Back Pain.

I’ve been battling a head cold and depending on the day, the head cold is winning. I hope you’ll excuse my graveled voice and my nasal presentation. I’ll do my best on this review of The Lancet article on Low Back Pain. 

Those of us that are hungry for new research and the recommendations that arise from the body of literature being constantly created were excited last week about the release of significant reports coming out in a highly respected research journal called The Lancet. 

Founded in 1823, The Lancet is published weekly is is one of the oldest, most respected, and most well-known medical journals in the world so when it was announced a series of papers were to be published in The Lancet having to do with low back pain, as you may imagine, those of us interested in the research world and musculoskeletal complaints were all ears. 

Not only was the article noteworthy due to its being published in The Lancet, but it was also exciting for those of us in the so-called alternative healthcare world because there were several Doctors of Chiropractic sitting on the steering committee for the series of reports. For some reason, chiropractors are still considered by many to be alternative while this group of papers suggest chiropractic may be a lot more than simply “alternative.”

There are a couple of things in my mind that stand out as reasons for such a series of papers. The first being that low back pain has become a major problem globally and show no sign of stopping the growth of it impact. The second reason would be the ineffectiveness of the treatments commonly used or recommended. This includes surgery, epidural steroid injections, and, the most notable of failed treatments, opioids.

The series of Low Back Pain papers were compiled by a team of leading experts on back pain. The team was made up of an international spectrum  of varied backgrounds. They met for a workshop in Buxton, UK, in June, 2016, to start the journey and the process of setting the outline and some sort of structure for each paper. 

It was quite an undertaking from quite the group of experts. This is not a group of papers to be ignored since these authors and researchers are among the best of the best globally. 

The 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 for action

In this article, I will cover the first of the three papers with plans to highlight the next two papers in the coming weeks so be sure to return for those important discussions. 

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 this review of The Lancet article on Low Back Pain I think it’s important to re-iterate the authors assertion that, in order to ensure a high-quality standard, systematic reviews were shown preference for inclusion.

Summary of the introduction of the first paper. 

  • Low back pain is now the leading cause of disability worldwide.
  • Only a small percentage have a well-understood, definite cause for their low back pain. Examples of well-known and udnerstood causes are things like a vertebral fracture, malignancy, or infection.
  • Things that seem to raise the risk of having low back pain complaints would be populations that smoke regulary, people that have physically demanding jobs or routine jobs or jobs that keep them mostly sedentary throughout the day and throughout the work week, people with physical and mental issues that add to a low back complaint or contribute to a low back complaint, and overweight/obese people. These populations are all at risk for developing low back pain.
  • 540 million people were affected at any one time globally.
  • A systematic review (3097 participants) found several MRI findings had a reasonably strong association with low back pain, including Modic type 1 change, disc bulge, disc extrusion, and spondylolysis. To further define Modic 1 changes, in regular vertebral endplate bone, the trabeculae shoud be like a type of scaffolding. Within the trabeculae there is red bone marrow producing blood cells. In a Modic type 1, the trabeculae are fractured intermittently and the patterns are more erratic and the marrow is absent. In the marrow’s place now is serum which is the same substance one can find in a blister. 

Symptoms associated with low back pain

Radicular Pain and Radiculopathy

  • Radiculopathy is usually called sciatica and mostly occurs when there is involvement where the nerve root exits the spine.
  • The authors noted that the term sciatica is used inconsistently by doctors and the public in general and should probably be avoided all together. 
  • The diagnosis of radicular pain relies on clinical findings, such as history of dermatomal leg pain, leg pain that is actually worse than the back pain, aggravation of the symptom when bearing down such as in coughing, sneezing, lying on your back and raising heels off of the table or in going from seated to standing, and straight leg raise test. General rule of thumb for an SLR is that pain in the first 30 degrees of leg elevation hints at a disc origin since that is the movement that first starts to tension the nerve at the root.
  • Patients presenting with low back pain in addition to radicular pain or radiculopathy tend to have worse outcomes than those presenting with low back pain alone.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

  • I tell my patients that the simplest way to explain stenosis is to say that a hole that nerves run through has become smaller and, as a result, the nerves sometimes have pressure on them that can cause them to be somewhat dysfunctional. 
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis is clinically characterized by pain or discomfort with walking or standing that radiates into one or both legs and can be eased resting and almost always by lumbar flexion (neurogenic claudication). They call this the shopping cart sign. Meaning, if a person gets relief from leaning on a shopping cart, it sure may be stenosis. If it is aggravated by leaning back or by inducing a “swayback” type of movement, that sure may be stenosis. As a sidenote and from my own studies, if lumbar extension (or swayback) does not hurt, but then rotation in either direction at the endpoint of lumbar extenstion actually does increase the pain, then the patient is likely suffering from a lumbar facet complaint. 
  • Lumbar stenosis is commonly caused by narrowing of the spinal canal or intervertebral foramina as a result of a combination of degeneration such as facet osteoarthritis, ligamentum flavum hypertrophy, and bulging discs. Two or three of these factors can combine to reduce the size and space available for the neural structures to pass through. Obviously that can create issues.
  • Experts tend to agree that the diagnosis of stenosis requires both the presence of the symptoms in addition to imaging findings demonstrating stenosis.

Other causes of Low Back Pain

  • Vertebral fracture, inflammatory disorders, malignancy, infections, intra-abdominal causes.
  • The US guideline for imaging advises deferral of imaging pending a trial of therapy when there are weak risk factors for cancer or axial spondyloarthritis. What does that mean exactly? That means a trial of conservative care. The authors will delve further into this in the second paper from the Lancet series but I will butt my head in here with the opinion of the American College of Physicians. Their updated recommendations from February of 2017 reflect that doctors should be recommending Chiropractic, massage, and/or ice for acute low back pain and should recommend Chirorpactic, acupuncture, and/or exercise/rehab for chronic low back pain. These recommendations are to precede taking even ibuprofen. 

Prevalence

  • Approximately 40% of 9-18-year olds in high-income, medium-income, and low-income countries report having had low back pain.
  • Low back pain prevalence increased 54% since 1990.
  • It is the number one cause of disability globally

Work Disability

Social Identity & Inequality

  • MacNeela and colleagues reviewed 38 separate qualitative studies in high-income countries. They showed found common traits, including: worry and fear about the social consequences of chronic low back pain, hopelessness, family strain, social withdrawal, loss of job and lack of money, disappointment with health-care encounters (in particular with general practitioners), coming to terms with the pain, and learning self-management strategies.
  • Froud and colleagues reviewed 42 qualitative studies from high-income countries, and found that many people living with low back pain struggled to meet their social expectations and obligations and that achieving them might then threaten the credibility of their suffering, with disability claims being endangered. Sometimes we have to almost force low back patients back into the workforce and, did you know that studies show in general that the sooner people are returned to work, the better they tend to recover from the low back pain complaint?
  • Schofield and colleagues found that individuals who exit the workforce early as a result of their low back pain have substantially less wealth by age 65 years, even after adjustment for education. This is just an obvious statement. It makes sense that people that quit working earlier than 65 end up making less money by the time they reach 65. You can also throw the expense of dealing with a back pain complaint in on top of the loss of wages. 
  • Globally, low back pain contributes to inequality. At first, when I read this, it struck me as being silly. Everything’s about inequality these days isn’t it? Certainlly in America it seems. But, this is a little different when you read through the explanation. The authors go on to say that in low-income and middle-income countries, poverty and inequality might increase as participation in work is affected. In addition, regulations on how to properly re-introduce a person into the workforce are absent, and workers are likely to be placed right back into the job they were originally injured without proper re-introduction. The authors felt this might place more strain on family and community livelihoods.

Cost of Low Back Pain

  • Costs associated with low back pain are commonly tallied as direct medical costs, meaning the cost of the doctor’s bill. They are also tallied in terms of indirect costs; meaning the cost of being out of work and the loss of productivity at the work place.
  • Most studies underestimate the total costs of low back pain
  • Although we do not think of low back pain in these terms yet, the truth is that low back pain, in terms of a real problem as far at the cost to treat and the overall indirect costs, are right up there with the biggest issues the global pupulation faces. Issues such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, mental health, and autoimmune diseases. That’s huge. 
  • In the USA, 44% of the population used at least one complementary or alternative health-care therapy in 1997; and the most common reason was low back pain. with 70,000 plus chiropractors in the United States, I can tell you with some confidence the profession most associated with alternative treatment for low back pain or spinal pain of any sort is chiropractic care. 
  • The USA has the highest costs, attributable to a more medically intensive approach as well as higher rates of surgery compared with other high-income countries. We see patients every week that have gone through needless surgeries. Surgeries for which there is plenty of high-level research proving its ineffectiveness yet you see the popularity for these surgeries continuing to rise. 

Natural History

  • A systematic review (33 cohorts; 11?166 participants) provides strong evidence that most episodes of low back pain improve substantially within 6 weeks, and by 12 months average pain levels are low. However, two-thirds of patients still report some pain at 3 months and 12 months
  • The best evidence suggests around 33% of people will have a recurrence within 1 year of recovering from a previous episode.

Risk Factors and Triggers for Low Back Pain Episodes

      • A systematic review (5165 participants) found consistent evidence that people who have had previous episodes of low back pain are at increased risk of a new episode. Likewise, people with other chronic conditions, including asthma, headache, and diabetes, are more likely to report low back pain than people in good health
      • a UK cohort study found psychological distress at age 23 years predicted incident low back pain 10 years later. The Canadian National Population Health Survey with 9909 participants found that pain-free individuals with depression were more likely to develop low back pain within 2 years than were people without depression
      • systematic reviews of cohort studies indicate that lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity, and low levels of physical activity that relate to poorer general health are also associated with occurrence of low back pain episodes. We know that obesity and lack of exercise has become an American trait that needs to be reversed. 
      • A systematic review found the genetic influence on the liability to develop low back pain ranged from 21% to 67%, with the genetic component being higher for more chronic and disabling low back pain than for inconsequential low back pain.Don’t we all have patients that present to us claimng that their bad back just runs in the family? Mom and Grandma had a bad back so that must be why they have a bad back is the common sentiment. It seems there may be a bit of validity there. 
      • An Australian case-crossover study (999 participants) showed that awkward postures, heavy manual tasks, feeling tired, or being distracted during an activity were all associated with increased risk of a new episode of low back pain. Similarly, work exposures of lifting, bending, awkward postures, and tasks considered physically demanding were also associated with an increased risk of developing low back pain in low-income and middle-income countries

Psychological Factors

For this review of The Lancet article on Low Back Pain, the presence of psychological factors in people who present with low back pain is associated with increased risk of developing disability even though the mechanisms are not fully understood

Social and Societal Factors

      • Cross-sectional data from the USA (National Health Interview Survey 2009–10, 5103 people) found that those with persistent low back pain were more likely to have had less than high-school education and had an annual household income of less than US$20,000. 
      • Suggested mechanisms for the effect of low education on back pain include environmental and lifestyle exposures in lower socioeconomic groups, lower health literacy, and health care not being available or adequately targeted to people with low education.
      • To go along with lower wages, the lower socioeconomic groups are commonly in routine and manual occupations and ahve increased physical workloads is associated with disabling low back pain

Conclusion

In this review of The Lancet article on Low Back Pain, the authors concluded, “Low back pain is now the number one cause of disability globally. The burden from low back pain is increasing, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries, which is straining health-care and social systems that are already overburdened. Low back pain is most prevalent and burdensome in working populations, and in older people low back pain is associated with increased activity limitation. Most cases of low back pain are short-lasting and a specific nociceptive source cannot be identified. Recurrences are, however, common and a few people end up with persistent disabling pain affected by a range of biophysical, psychological, and social factors. Costs associated with health care and work disability attributed to low back pain are enormous but vary substantially between countries, and are related to social norms, health-care approaches, and legislation. Although there are several global initiatives to address the global burden of low back pain as a public health problem, there is a need to identify cost-effective and context-specific strategies for managing low back pain to mitigate the consequences of the current and projected future burden.”

Key Takeaway:

Obviously, if you followed us all the way through on this review of The Lancet article on Low Back Pain, low back pain is an issue that must be addressed in a more effective way globally and irregardless of national ranking in terms of the economy. Just because it’s musculoskeletal doesn’t mean it can be ignored and kicked to the curb while the big stuff like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are treated. The research for the big stuff is adequately funded but, honestly, in general, most general practitioners don’t have the first clue of what to do for low back pain. I personally suggest they turn to their own American College of Physicians for updated recommendations on chronic and acute low back conditions if I were them. 

Authors

Steering Committee

Rachelle Buchbinder – Australia

Jan Hartvigsen – Denmark

Dan Cherkin – United States

Nadine Foster – UK

Chris Maher – Australia

Martin Underwood – UK

Maruits van Tulder – Netherlands

For this week’s Next Steps in this review of The Lancet article on Low Back Pain, be sure to send us an email at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you thought or contribute to the show for next week. We love hearing from you all. Also, go and follow Jan Hartvigsen https://twitter.com/JanHartvigsen, and Chris Maher https://twitter.com/CGMMaher on Twitter. 

Next week we will review the second paper of this three paper series. Next week’s paper is called “Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions.” 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. This review of The Lancet article on Low Back Pain is just an example of what you can look forward to.

We cannot wait to connect again with you next week for review of The Lancet article on Low Back Pain Part Two. 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. 

Be sure to check out part of our Chiropracrtors Cause Strokes Myth. This is a link to Part Two:

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

References:

 

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

Debunking the odd myth that chiropractors cause strokes. I’m almost done with this y’all. In this final episode of this series, 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.

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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