jeff williams dc Archives - chiropracticforward jeff williams dc Archives - chiropracticforward

jeff williams dc

CF 042: w/ Dr. Tyce Hergert – Chiropractic Maintenance Care / Chiropractic Preventative Care

CF 042: w/ Dr. Tyce Hergert – Chiropractic Maintenance Care / Chiropractic Preventative Care

Tyce hergert chiropractor southlake

Integrating Chiropractors

Today we have a special return appearance from a friend of the show and we’re going to talk about chiropractic maintenance care also known as chiropractic preventative care. Chiropractors have recommended a regular schedule to their patients for generations but it was mostly as a result of experience and intuition. But what about research on the matter? We’ll get to it.

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.  

Be sure you have signed up for our newsletter slash email. You can do that at chiropracticforward.com and it lets us keep you updated on new episodes and new evidence-based products when they come out. Yes, eventually there will be some pretty cool things available through us. We won’t email any more than once per week and the value outweighs the risk. Kind of like in cervical manipulation. So just go get that done while we’re thinking about it. 

You have confidently strutted right into Episode #42 and we are so glad you did. 

I would really like to just turn this mic on and automatically be the #1 chiropractic podcast in the world but that’s not the real world, right? But I have to say that we continue to grow. I’m impatient and it’s never quite fast enough but we are continually growing and that’s always exciting. When you see the growth chart consistently going up and to the right, then hell yeah. Ka-bam shazam. 

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.

My Week

But first, my week has been nuts. When was the last time you tried to hire someone? It’s absolutely stupid these days. Honestly, I posted a job on indeed.com. I got literally 175 resumes, scheduled 15 interviews, only 7 showed up for the interview, and we have one really good prospect. 

This is the second round by the way. We tried to hire for the front desk position a few weeks ago and went through 120 resumes. We actually hired a girl but then her dad got sick and after thinking it over, decided we weren’t a good fit. Lol. Can you imagine? 

I don’t know if you can tell from this podcast or not but….I’m generally a pretty darn good guy and really care about my staff and care about people and care about making connections with others. 

I don’t yell, I don’t fuss a lot. Even when they’re wrong. That’s just not my style. I don’t think I stink or anything having to do with body functions so, I can’t figure it out other than people have just changed. Or has it always been hard to find good help? All I know is that I’m having a hell of a time finding the right front desk personnel and it’s making me more than a little crazy. 

Welcome Dr. Tyce Hergert from Southlake, TX

Now that we have all of that out of the way, I want to welcome our guest today. You could say we sort of know each other. In fact, we grew up in the same neighborhood from elementary school all the way through high school. Even though I was a couple years older, we definitely knew each other. He lived right next door to my best friend and we played football in his front yard pretty often. 

We were at the University of North Texas at the same time living in Denton, TX and then we were down at Parker College of Chiropractic at the same time as well. If that weren’t enough, we have both served in statewide leadership positions for the Texas Chiropractic Association. In fact, Tyce is part of the reason I got involved in the first place. 

He took it a step further than me though. Dr. Hergert actually served as the President of the TCA two terms ago and helped steer the profession to a historic 4 chiro-friendly bills passed in the state legislature that year. This is important because the bills that were passed in our favor prior to that would be basically zero, none, nada, goose-egg, zilch. 

About an Integrated Practice

Dr. Hergert also runs an integrated practice down in Southlake, TX so he’s an excellent resource for our kind of podcast. 

Some people kind of think he’s a big deal and there’s a good argument to be made for that but I’m not going to be the one making it because I’ve known him way too long. 

Not only is he an ex-Pres for the TCA, but he also has the bragging rights of being a guest on 2 of our top five most popular episodes of all times here at the Chiropractic Forward Podcast. Those are episodes 6 and 11 with 11 actually being our most listened to episode of all time so congrats to Dr. Hergert on that. 

If you enjoy his guest appearance on this episode, although I’d be a bit flabbergasted as to why you enjoyed it….you can always get more of Tyce on those. Again, I’m not sure why you’d ever want to do that. Lol. 

Welcome to the show Dr. Hergert. Thank you for taking the time to join us. 

Tell us a little bit about Southlake, TX for the ones unfamiliar with the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. 

Tell us a little bit about running an integrated practice. What’s it like? Have you become more of an owner/administrator or are your elbow deep in treatment and the physical aspects of seeing patients all day every day still?

Getting To The Research

This first paper….I alluded to back in episode #36 but very briefly. We covered a little more in depth back in Episode #19 as well which posted back in April of this year. I think in light of a brand new paper that just came out, it’s worth covering this one again if you do not mind. It’s all about chiropractic maintenance and chiropractic preventative treatment.

It’s called “Does maintained spinal manipulation therapy for chronic nonspecific low back pain result in better long-term outcome?” and was published in the prestigious Spine journal[1]. 

For the purpose of this study, keep in mind that SMT stands for spinal manipulation therapy. Also of special note is that chiropractors perform over 90% of SMTs in America so I commonly interchange SMT or spinal manipulation therapy with the term “Chiropractic Adjustment.”

Why They Did It

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

How They Did It

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

What They Found

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

Wrap It Up

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

Dr. Hergert, what do you have to say on this one? I’m not sure what there is to say except, “Told you so!”

What do you typically recommend to your patients as far as chiropractic maintenance and chiropractic preventative treatment care goes?

Paper #2:

Actually, this one is a webpage linked in the show notes for you at ChiropracticForward.com in episode #42. 

http://www.chiro.org/research/ABSTRACTS/Documentation_Supporting_Maintenance_Care.shtml

This article was compiled by Dr. Anthony Rosner, Ph.D and called Documentation Supporting Maintenance Care[2]. 

The article starts by saying that the RAND Corporation studied a subpopulation of patients who were under chiropractic care compared to those who were NOT and found that the individuals under continuing chiropractic care were:

  • Less likely to be in a nursing home
  • Were less likely to have been in the hospital the previous 23 years
  • They were more likely to report better health status
  • Most were more likely to exercise vigorously

Although it is impossible to clearly establish causality, it is clear that continuing chiropractic care is among the attributes of the cohort of patients experiencing substantially fewer costly healthcare interventions[3]. 

The next paper on chiropractic maintenance and chiropractic preventative treatment is by Dr. Rosner and talks about was a review of a larger cohort of elderly patients under chiropractic care and those not under chiropractic care. Basically, comparing monies spent on hospitals, doctor visits, and nursing homes[4] They found the following: Those under chiropractic care saved almost three times the money those NOT under chiropractic care spent for healthcare. 

  • $3,105 vs. $10,041

How’s it looking so far, Tyce?

Tyce, you’re going to like this one. Chances are, you’re probably going to want to tell people all about this one. 

Let’s get to the newer paper I mentioned before. It’s called The Nordic Maintenance Career program: Effectiveness of chiropractic maintenance care versus symptom-guided treatment for recurrent and persistent low back pain – pragmatic randomized controlled trial and it was compiled by Andreas Eklund, et. al[5]. 

Why They Did It

The authors wanted to explore chiropractic maintenance and chiropractic preventative treatment in the chiropractic profession. What is the effectiveness for prevention of pain in patients with recurrent or persistent non-specific low back pain?

How They Did It

  • 328 patients
  • Pragmatic, investigator-blinded. Pragmatic. What does that mean exactly? According to Califf and Sugarman 2015, It means it is “Designed for the primary purpose of informing decision-makers regarding the comparative balance of benefits, burdens and risks of a biomedical or behavioral health intervention at the individual or population level” Meaning they are attempting to run a trial to inform decision-makers of responsible guidelines going forward. That’s it for the dummies like me in the room. 
  • Two arm randomized controlled trial
  • Included patients 18-65 w/ non-specific low back pain
  • The patients all experienced an early favorable result with chiropractic care. 
  • After an initial course of treatment ended, the patients were randomized into either a maintenance care group or a control group. 
  • The control group still received chiropractic care but on a symptom-related basis. 
  • The main outcome measured was the number of days with bothersome low back pain during a 1 year period. 
  • The info was collected weekly through text messaging. 

What They Found

  • Maintenance care showed a reduction in the number of days per week having low back pain
  • During the year-long study, the chiropractic maintenance and chiropractic preventative treatment group showed 12.8 fewer days. 
  • The chiropractic maintenance and chiropractic preventative treatment received 1.7 more treatments than the symptom-related group. 

Wrap It Up

The authors wrap it up by saying, “Maintenance care was more effective than symptom-guided treatment in reducing the total number of days over 52 weeks with bothersome non-specific LBP but it resulted in a higher number of treatments. For selected patients with recurrent or persistent non-specific LBP who respond well to an initial course of chiropractic care, MC should be considered an option for tertiary prevention.”

Basically, both groups still underwent chiropractic maintenance and chiropractic preventative treatment. It’s like we tell people, stay on a schedule and you’ll do well. Wait until you hurt and the chances are good that you’ll spend the same amount getting over that complaint anyway. 

This study showed that exactly except, over the course of just one year, the maintenance chiropractic care (preventative chiropractic care) people had 1.7 more visits but suffered pain almost 13 days less. 

Bring it home

Are two appointments extra worth almost 2 weeks less of having pain in a year’s time? I say hell yes. 

Dr. Hergert…what say you?

Lay some sage-like wisdom on us here and bring it all home for us won’t you please?

This week, I want you to go forward with the knowledge that, when you write “patient recommended preventative chiropractic care schedule going forward” you can do so confidently knowing your are right and there is research showing it. 

You don’t have to recommend chiropractic maintenance and chiropractic preventative treatment simply because you heard to do that at school or because your old boss always did it. 

You can make those recommendations because it’s best for your patients. 

Dr. Hergert, do you have anything to add, this is probably your last time on the podcast after all. 

Thank you so much for hanging out with us today, I was kidding of course. We will make time and do it again down the road. 

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

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

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

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

Website

http://www.chiropracticforward.com

Social Media Links

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

iTunes

Player FM Link

Stitcher:

TuneIn

About the author:

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

 

Bibliography

1. Senna MK, Does maintained spinal manipulation therapy for chronic nonspecific low back pain result in better long-term outcome? Spine (Phila Pa 1976), 2011. Aug 15; 36(18): p. 1427-37.

2. Rosner A. Documentation Supporting Maintenance Care. Chiro.org 2016; Available from: http://www.chiro.org/research/ABSTRACTS/Documentation_Supporting_Maintenance_Care.shtml.

3. Coulter ID, Chiropractic Patients in a Comprehensive Home-Based Geriatric Assessment, Follow-up and Health Promotion Program. Topic in Clinical Chiropractic, 1996. 3(2): p. 46-55.

4. Rupert R, Maintenance Care: Health Promotion Services Administered to US Chiropractic Patients Aged 65 and Older, Part II. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 2000. 23(1): p. 10-19.

5. Eklund A, The Nordic Maintenance Care program: Effectiveness of chiropractic maintenance care versus symptom-guided treatment for recurrent and persistent low back pain—A pragmatic randomized controlled trial. PLoS One, 2018. 13(9).

CF 040: w/ Dr. Brandon Steele: Chiropractic Standardization & The Future of Chiropractic

 

CF 038: w/ Dr. Jerry Kennedy – Chiropractic Marketing Done Right

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

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

 

CF 028: Will Chiropractic First Finally Take Its Place?

 Will Chiropractic First Finally Take Its Place?

Chiropractic First is on the table today.

As they say in Texas, Howdy y’all. You could also say, Hola Amigo in Texas as well, and as I learned last week, it’s How you doin? in New York. Today we’re going to be talking about whether or not Chiropractic should or could be poised to step up and take it rightful spot in healthcare globally. Buckle up, bucko.

But first, here’s that bumper music

OK, we are back. Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast and today it’s about chiropractic first.  So, glad you’re here with me. In case you are a youngster, the term “bucko” came from a young tike himself named Ritchie Cunningham on Happy Days played by Ron Howard. Yep, that Ron Howard, the famous director and was once a tiny tot named Opie on the Andy Griffith show. No, I’m not THAT old but….I know a little TV trivia here and there. And now it appears that you do too. 

Ritchie, every now and then, would get all worked up into a fuss and call Fonzie or Potsy or whoever a “bucko.” Man…..you wanna talk about fighting words. Fonzie about ended him a time or two but, in the end, Fonzie was way too cool to beat up on Ritchie. OK, enough of that…

I want to ask you to go to http://www.chiropracticforward.com and sign up for our newsletter. We won’t be filling up your inbox and it’s easy to fill you in on all the new stuff. And, in the end, it’s nice of you and it will help keep the wrord circulating if you would like to help us. Likes, shares, and retweets also keep the world turning around and around and that’s really important stuff…..Keeping the world spinning and all….. if we can talk you into it. 

Have you noticed we aren’t selling you anything? That doesn’t mean that we won’t if the right opportunity arises down the road but, I want you to know that I’m doing this podcast for the right reasons. I make furniture, I am a musician, I am a sculptor…..and, Just like anything else I do, I make the things that interest me and that come from my heart. If someone ends up buying what I’ve made down the road, then heck yeah!! Good for me. But, in the meantime, I do what I do because I love it and I guess I have enough ego that I think others may love it as well. I hope you guys and gals love it and find the value like I find in it. 

As with every episode, we are honored to have you with us. We truly are. Now, here we go with some vital information that we think can build confidence and improve your practice which we think will improve your life overall. That’s a tall order but everyone needs goals.

You have Firecircled your way into Episode #28 ala Dr. Strange. My family is full of action movie junkies so just deal with the reference. 

I think a great place to start is by saying that I stumbled upon a heck of a deal this last weekend when I attended the Texas Chiropractic Association’s ChiroTexpo down in Dallas at the Hyatt Regency. I realize the Hyatt Regency holds no meaning to those outside of Dallas but, it’s the hotel with the really cool lit up ball in downtown Dallas. Ah….yes, if you’ve seen the amazing Dallas Cowboys perform inside your TV box, you’ve probably seen the down town rotating restaurant ball on your screen. 

Part of the program had to do with the Lumbar Management portion of the Diplomate of American Chiropractic Orthopedists program. I’m still getting the nuts and bolts of this dude figured out but, basically, it consists of five 10-hour live face-face seminars, 50 hours in total there. Then, 250 of online courses through the University of Bridgeport. After that, you sit for the DACO exam and, assuming you pass it, you now have the honor of being called a DACO and you have the knowledge to back it up. This class was one of the 10-hour sessions.

Now, I have to say, I literally thought I would sit in the class for a couple of hours, my eyes would glaze over, and my butt would start to hurt, and I’d get up and wonder around asking where the nearest trouble could be had because I’m onery on the weekends. I mean really, who the heck wants to sit in a classroom from 1-7pm on a Saturday night and 8-1 on a Sunday morning? Not this guy. Not all in one stretch like that.  

But I did. I sat through all 10 of them. Yep, even surprised myself. Dr. Tim Bertlesman from Illinois was the instructor of the class and he kept it moving, he kept it extremely relevant, and he even kept it pretty funny. Basically, he kept my interest and you know what? I may…..just may…..do the whole program. 

It’s evidence-based for sure and about Chiropractic First

It’s patient-centered without a doubt. And it’s current with the research. If you’ve been paying attention, that’s right in my wheelhouse. If you’d like more information on this program, send me an email at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com and we’ll connect. As I learn more and more about it all, I’ll be glad to share if you think you’d be interested as well. 

He started off the class with some slides referencing a few studies that I haven’t seen just yet and I a lot of what he was saying is what I’ve been telling all of you for 28 episodes now. All of them. Every single episode. 

The overwhelming sentiment here is that the door is open thanks to opioids. The door to chiropractic first, that is. The chance we have waited for is here. Right now. We may not get it again. People are hungry for what we do and we now have all of the research we need to back ourselves and our profession up, to show complete validation, and thrust us into the mainstream of healthcare for non-complicated musculoskeletal issues. That’s here. 

Let’s look at a little bit of it and see if you agree. 

This is from April 2016 and was published in JAMA. It was authored by Dr. Deborah Dowell, MD, et. al. and was called “CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain – United States, 2016(Dowell D 2016).”

Why They Did It

Realizing that opioids are a problem, that there are a limited number of long-term opioid research papers, and that primary care physicians need better, safer ways of managing chronic pain, the authors hoped to make recommendations for when to prescribe opioids outside of cancer treatment, etc….and when to not prescribe them. 

How They Did It

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) protocol in order to assess the evidence type and make recommendations from there. 
  • Evidence was made up of observational studies or randomized clinical trials with notable limitations. 
  • No study evaluated long-term (over 1 year) benefit for opioids in chronic pain. 

What They Found

  • There are 12 recommendations
  • Of the most importance was the recommendation that non-opioids is preferred for treatment of chronic pain. That’s where WE fit in folks.
  • Opioids should only be used when benefits for pain and function outweigh risks but risks are use disorder, overdose, and death so….. Pretty much never.
  • Before starting any opioid therapy, practitioners need to set goals and settle on how they will be discontinued if benefits do not outweigh risks.
  • Blah….blah blah….a bunch of other language that does not pertain to us chiropractors. 

Wrap Up

Non-pharmacologic therapy and non-opioid pharmacologic therapy are preferred. Chiropractic first

I think that, before the American College of Physicians finally came right out and said to go see someone that performs spinal manipulation to treat acute and chronic low back pain, this was JAMA’s way of saying, “Hey guys and gals, ummm….we’ve created a bit of a mess and we had better start cleaning it up (cough chiropractic cough) and maybe we should look outside of usual medical care like pills (cough chiropractic cough) and drugs that people get hooked and drugs that kill people (cough Chiropractic).

JAMA has come along slowly but they’ve made great progress. Even since this paper originally came out. 

For the next article, let’s look at this one called “Attorney General Janet Mills Joins 37 States, Territories in Fight Against Opioid Incentives,” released by the Office of the Attorney General on September 18, 2017(Roth-Wells A 2017). 

The Attorney General in Maine, Janet Mills, joined 37 other states in the fight against opioids according to this article. The AG was quoted in the article as saying, “Last year Maine enacted a law limiting opioid prescriptions and that law is beginning to have a positive impact. Now health insurers need to reduce any financial incentives to prescribing these addicting narcotics and offer greater coverage for alternative therapies. As the chief legal officers of our States, we are committed to using all tools at our disposal to combat this epidemic and to protect patients suffering from chronic pain or addiction.”

The attorneys general contend that incentives that promote use of non-opioid therapies will encourage medical providers to consider physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care, and non-opioid medications, instead of narcotic drugs.

The article went on to list all 37 states that were signed on to this initiative but, sadly, my state of Texas was not on the list. That pesky Texas Medical Association really tends to get in the way. I see the other biggest states on the list in regards to the number of chiropractors practicing. Those states are California, New York, and Florida but, no, not Texas.

The next article is called “FDA Education Bluepring for Health Care Providers Involved in the Management or Support of Patients with Pain” and was published in May 2017(FDA 2017). 

On page three, section two, the paper dicusses nonpharmacologic therapies. It states, “A number of nonpharmacologic therapies are available that can play an important role in managing pain, particularly msculoskeletal pain and chronic pain.” 

It then goes on to mention categories. The categories they mention are Psychological approaches, and, while I think our patients look at us as chiropractors, financial advisors, psychologists, and a whole host of other professionals, this paper is speaking to cognitive behavioral therapy and, if I’m honest, I’m simply unfamiliar with that as a treatment regimen. I certainly have more to learn on that topic. They also mention physical therapy, of course. They mention surgical intervention and then they mention complementary therapy underwhich is mentioned acupuncture and chirlpracty. 

I’ve not ever in my life heard the term “chiropracty” but at least we’re in the game, I suppose. 

Then the paper closes the section by saying, “Health care providers should be knowledgeable about the range of available therapies, when they may be helpful, and when they should be used as part of a multidisciplinary approach to pain management.”

Isn’t that interesting? How many practitioners do you think came across this paper and this section of this paper? How many do you suppose have decided to take it upon themselves to get extra information and education in this particular topic? 

Maybe some but, mostly, I would say that it is up to us chiropractors to do our part to educate our medical communities on this sort of information. It’s the FDA for goodness sake. It’s on a government website. It cannot be hard to point them in the right direction and for the medical practitioners to be able to trust the information if it’s coming from this sort of a platform or footing. But, they have to be shown the way. Most of them aren’t simply going to stumble on to it and say, “Oh hey, looky here. Looks like I’ve been wrong my whole life about chiropractic.” 

They need some help and some guidance to find it and then hopefully to receive the information on their own. Regardless of where you start, using sources like the FDA, the Journal of American Medical Association, The Lancet, and the American College of Physicians is always a good idea. They are reputable and they are forms of information that the medical kingdom place a lot of stock and value in. It turns out that they’re on our side on this matter. 

Next, let’s talk about The Joint Commission. “What is The Joint Commission?” you may ask yourself. You may ask yourself that question because that’s the question I asked myself when I first saw the paper so I did some homework for you. 

A quick visit to their website tells us the following:

“An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.

 

Our Mission:  To continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value.

 

Vision Statement:  All people always experience the safest, highest quality, best-value health care across all settings.”

If you really read and understand what is said in that description, you’ll see the terms “improve health care for the public” and “providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value” and safest, highest quality, best-value health care across all setting.” The vast majority of paper we have covered in the previous 27 episodes argue that chiropractic fits the bill in a lot of different ways.

This article comes from The Joint Commission Online and was published on November 12, 2014 talking about revisions to pain management standards that were to be updated just a couple of months later, January 1, 2015(The Joint Commission Online 2014). I want to give this group credit. They seem to have started to catch on to the need for nonpharma protocols about a year to a year and a half prior to the rest of the medical profession. Kudos to them. 

In the blue box is the Standard PC.01.02.07 which is the code for assessing and managing patients’ pain. The revision states that both nonpharma and pharma play a part in pain management, the non-pharma strategies may include the following: acupuncture therapy, chiropractic therapy, osteopathic manipulative treatment, massage therapy, physical therapy, relaxation therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. 

That stuff sounds fairly familiar for the most part doesn’t it? We’ve been talking about it for months by now so it should indeed be familiar. Except for the cognitive behavioral therapy bit. I kid. Cognitive behavioral therapy is geared toward treating depression, anxiety disorders, phobias, and other forms of mental disorders. Certainly the disorders that may exacerbate chronic pain or, at minimum, prevent the patient from moving beyond the pain in any meaningful way.

Continuing on, here’s a paper from the prestigious Spine Journal by Jon Adams, PhD et. al. called, “The Prevalence, Patterns, and Predictors of Chiropractic Use Among US Adults(Adams J 2017).” 

Why They Did It

Just as the title of the paper indicates, the goal of the authors was to learn more about the prevalence, patterns, and use of chiropractic care in the US. 

How They Did It

  • They took a cross-sectional data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey. The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is the principal and reliable source of comprehensive health care information in the United States, utilizing a nationally rep- resentative sample of the civilian noninstitutionalized popu- lation of the United States
  • They used that information to analyze the lifetime and 12-month prevalence and utilization patterns of chiropractic use. 
  • They determined the profile of chiropractic users. 
  • They determined the predictors of chiropractic consultations.

What They Found

  • Lifetime prevalence of chiropractic use was 24%
  • 12-month prevalence of chiropractic use was 8.4%
  • The use of chiropractic care has grown from 2002 to when the data stopped in 2012
  • Back pain caused people to seek chiropractic care to the tune of 63%
  • Neck pain caused them to go about 30% of the time. 
  • The majority of chiropractic users reported that it helped a great deal with their health problem and improved overal health or well-being. 

Wrap It Up

The authors concluded by saying, “A substantial proportion of US adults utilized chiropractic services during the past 12 months and reported associated positive outcomes for overall well-being and/or specific health problems.”

When we dive a little further past the abstract and get down into this paper, it goes into the specific percentages for different questions:

Chiropractic led to:

  • Better Sleep 42%
  • Reduced Stress 40%
  • Felt better overall and improved health 39%
  • Was seen as very important to the user 48%
  • Helped for a specific health problem 65%
  • Didn’t help at all 4% 
  • 62% went to a chiropractor to treat the cause, not the symptom!

I want to finish up this week’s papers by citing one that came right out of the White House not long ago.

If you go to The President’s Commission On Combating Drug Addiction and The Opioid Crisis report and make your way down to page 57, you will see where the authors say the following, ““A key contributor to the opioid epidemic has been the excess prescribing of opioids for common pain complaints and for postsurgical pain. Although in some conditions, behavioral programs, acupuncture, chiropractic, surgery, as well as FDA-approved multimodal pain strategies have been proven to reduce the use of opioids, while providing effective pain management, current CMS reimbursement policies, as well as health insurance providers and other payers, create barriers to the adoption of these strategies.” That is from the White House. 

If you continue to the very bottom of the page, you’ll see this quote, ““The Commission recommends CMS review and modify rate-setting policies that discourage the use of non-opioid treatments for pain, such as certain bundled payments that make alternative treatment options cost prohibitive for hospitals and doctors, particularly those options for treating immediate post-surgical pain.”

In Episode #11, when I brought this up to my long-time buddy and past TCA President Dr. Tyce Hergert, he said, “You mean like a specialist copay for chiro care and a lower copay for primary care? Or covering surgery 100% and NOT covering non-surgical means.” I couldn’t have said it any better. 

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

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

Key Takeaways:

  1. The general population is starving for what we chiropractors do and for what we can offer them. 
  2. All of the important entities in the medical kingdom now recommend what we do but primary practitioners and specialists haven’t caught on just yet.
  3. There are barriers set up within Medicare and insurance in general keeping people from seeking the safest, most cost-effective, non-pharma means to treat themselves.
  4. It’s up to US and nobody else to get the word out in our medical communities. Nobody is going to do it for us and that’s a guarantee. 

I want you to go forward this week with confidence and validation but with the understanding that it is up to every single one of you to figure out how to educate your medical community in an evidence-based, patient-centered way an the first one that does it correctly and effectively may just win a pot of gold and become THE spinal authority in your community. 

I would say that you also need to do your friend Dr. Williams, and all other chiropractors in the world, a big favor. That favor would be to help us get the word out about this podcast. If you find value in it, don’t you think others would too? I’m not sponsored here. I’m doing it because I love it. I don’t have $10,000 to promote the podcast on Facebook or Twitter so I have to keep asking our listeners to please do us a favor and go like our page on Facebook, Like and Share our content EVERY WEEK, FOLLOW us on Twitter, and RETWEET our content on Twitter. 

These are incredibly easy things to do and I truly need your help with them if you would please be kind enough. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Social Media Links

iTunes

Bibliography

Adams J (2017). “The Prevalence, Patterns, and Predictors of Chiropractic Use Among US Adults.” Spine 42(23): 1810-1816.

Dowell D (2016). “CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain – United States.” MMWR Recomm Rep 65: 1-49.

FDA (2017). “FDA Education Blueprint for Health Care Providers Involved in the Management or Support of Patients with Pain.”

Roth-Wells A (2017). “Attorney General Janet Mills Joins 37 States, Territories in Fight against Opioid Incentives.” Office Of The Maine Attorney General.

The Joint Commission Online (2014). “Revisions to pain management standard effective January 1, 2015 BrightStar Care recognized as Enterprise Champion for Quality for second year New on the Web.” Joint Commission Online.

 

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

How Can Research Help You Talk To The Medical Profession?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why They Did It

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

How They Did It

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

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

What They Found

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

Wrap It Up

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

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

Again, pretty recent stuff. 

Why They Did It

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

How They Did It

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

What They Found

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

Wrap It Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Media Links

iTunes

REFERENCES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CF 022: Cold Laser Research You Should Know About

 

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

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

 

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

You have boogied right on into Episode #22

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

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

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

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

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

Now, what we are REALLY here for. 

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

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

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

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

 

Why They Did It

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

How They Did It

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

What They Found

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

Wrap It Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why They Did It

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

How They Did It

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

What They Found

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

Wrap It Up

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

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

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

Why They Did It

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

How They Did It

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

What They Found

  • 16 Randomized Controlled Trials were identified
  • 820 patients

Wrap It Up

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

Powerful in my opinion, folks.

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

Why They Did It

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

What They Found

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

Wrap It Up

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

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

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

Why They Did It

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

How They Did It

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

What They Found

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

Wrap It Up

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

Key Takeaways this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Media Links

iTunes

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

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

 

Bibliography

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

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

This week, we are going to start tackling the chiropractors cause strokes myth that has run rampant for years and I hope to once and for all dispel it. The information could not be clearer on the chiropractors cause strokes myth and we’re gonna to show it to you in a way that you can understand and in a way that allows you to show it to others. I’m done with this myth, folks!

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.

Unfortunately, you have often read, watched, or heard me complaining about how our profession has been historically attacked by those organizations in charge of the medical profession. I hope those paying attention understand it is not just sour grapes.

It is education.

I continually bring these facts up in my articles, videos, and podcast because many of the things we talk about have their roots in our history, in the attacks our profession has sustained, and in the attacks our profession is currently battling.

From the start, let me state that research simply does NOT support the chiropractors cause strokes myth.

If you have seen the TV series called “Mythbusters,” then you know the smart red-headed guy and the bald bespectacled serious guy both, along with their rascally cohorts, took a common myth and tested its validity.

Some of the myths were outrageous and some seemed like they may actually be plausible. The show, whenever I watched it was highly entertaining and extremely educational. The entertaining part always came toward the end of the show when they would blow something to smithereens. That’s the part where the inner child in me would leap with glee. Internally of course, not externally.

This mythbusting process has already been carried out for the chiropractors cause strokes myth. Several times, in fact. Without the show-ending explosion of course. Although, at the end of this Mythbusting series, I may walk away with a mic drop if you’re all OK with that.

I say mythbusting series because there is SO MUCH information here that I have to split it into 3 different episodes for the chiropractors cause strokes podcast series. I’m pumping my own tires and I am completely full of myself on what I’m about to say here and I’m well-aware of the fact but, from what I have seen out there on the interwebs, I feel like this is, or at least CAN be, the definitive article, the definitive podcast, the definitive gathering of the information for this topic. If that is indeed the lofty goal I’m aiming for, it has to be comprehensive and somewhat exhaustive and I don’t think I can maintain your focus and interest for the entire amount of the information to be compiled into one super long episode. Dispelling the chiropractors cause strokes myth is too important to lose your attention.

I have split it into three episodes that will break up like this

The first episode, the one you’re currently listening to will include 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.

In the second episode coming next Thursday 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.

In the third and final episode 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 on this chiropractors cause strokes myth.

Stick with us on this.

Now, let’s dive into this first episode of the chiropractors cause stroke series.

Through the RAND institute, it is estimated that a serious, adverse reaction (such as stroke as a result to a chiropractic adjustment alone) happens in approximately 1 out of every 1 million treatments?

Let’s put that finding into perspective by comparing it to some other odds.

  • The odds of being struck and killed by lightning is 1 in 174,426 according to the National Safety Council.
  • The odds of being told to “Come on down,” on The Price Is Right is 1 in 36!
  • The odds of being born with 11 fingers or toes is 1 in 500.
  • The odds of dying from a firearms assault is 1 in 113.
  • How about this one: the odds of winning an Oscars are 1 in 11,500.

I think it’s time to move to LA!

Consider that there are 70,000+ chiropractors in the United States of America. If Doctors of Chiropractic were out in the world causing strokes “all of the time,” it would be apparent, it would be obvious, and our malpractice insurance would reflect the fact that a visit to the chiropractor comes with a considerable amount of risk. To the contrary, we chiropractors have malpractice insurance that costs chiropractors approximately 1/10th of what it costs our medical counterparts. This fact alone should dispel the chiropractors cause strokes myth.

Before we start diving off into the research too deeply, I want to talk about a case that happened within the last couple of years (February 2016) that brought the “Chiropractors Cause Strokes” myth back to the forefront. It had to do with the “Queen of Snapchat” Katie May. Katie died of a stroke at the age of 34 and, by many, it was immediately assumed the stroke was caused by her two visits to a chiropractor to treat her recent onset of neck pain.

I actually wrote about this case shortly after it originally happened. Initial reports stated that she had a horrible fall while on the set of a photoshoot, which resulted in her neck pain. Then, for some reason, this fact seemed to disappear from further reports.

Also, initial reports stated that Katie visited either the ER or a medical professional prior to her visits with a chiropractor. The family later denies this so, admittedly, there is some confusion on the matter. With this information brought back into the reporting, let’s begin breaking it all down.

Katie posted this message to Twitter: “Pinched a nerve in my neck on a photoshoot and got adjusted this morning. It really hurts! Any home remedy suggestions loves? XOXO.”

Keep that in mind as we run through things that can cause a vertebral artery dissection such as Katie May suffered. They are as follows:

  • Physical Trauma (direct blow to the neck, traffic collision, etc.)
  • Strangulation
  • Spontaneous (from underlying connective tissue disorder)

According to one paper by Debette et. al., “Trauma has been reported to have occurred within a month of dissection in 40% with nearly 90% of this time the trauma being minor[1]. “

Vertebral artery dissection (VAD) can be particularly difficult to diagnose without the use of a CT Angiogram. For instance, some common symptoms of VAD are as follows:

  • Pain and/or numbness in the same side of the face.
  • Head pain/Headache that develops gradually and can be dull or throbbing
  • In less than 1/5th of the cases of VAD, people suffer difficulty speaking or swallowing.
  • Possible unsteadiness or lack of coordination
  • Visual abnormalities
  • Hiccups
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Hearing loss

When one reads this list, it is easy to diagnose a VAD, right?

It rarely presents with these classic signs.

Is a medical professional or chiropractor going to refer every single one of these patients for a CT Angiogram or an MRI? Not very likely. It is simply not economically feasible to do so and good luck getting insurance companies to cover the costs of the CT Angiograms!

If Katie did indeed visit a medical professional after her fall, they missed it. Unfortunately, it seems obvious that the chiropractor missed it as well. That does not, however, mean the two professionals are inept. As the website for emedicine.com states, “The focal signs may not appear until after a latent period lasting as long as three days, however, and delays of weeks and years also have been reported[2].”

With that being said, I don’t want to be completely biased here. If a healthy person shows up with a headache and neck pain BUT has a history of recent trauma, more exploration is advised, without question. Knowing this, I can relay countless stories of medical doctors having made bad decisions as well. I have heard countless stories throughout my twenty years of practice. Ultimately, we are all human which is why chiropractors and medical doctors both carry malpractice insurance. But, as I mentioned before, chiropractors’ malpractice is approximately 1/10th that of their medical counterparts because, basically, we do not typically cause any harms in our patients.

As we go through more and more papers, it should be clear that Katie likely suffered the VAD as a result of the fall during the photo shoot and the VAD was missed by the medical professionals (if she did indeed go) and then certainly missed by the chiropractor BUT, the chiropractor almost certainly did not CAUSE the VAD. There’s no we he helped it and could have even potentially exacerbated it, but it is highly doubtful and exceedingly rare that he could have been the CAUSE of it.

Some time later, the Los Angeles coroner reported that the chiropractor was responsible for Katie’s death. This finding really opened the door to all of the chiropractic haters to bash away at the profession.

The LA coroner’s office is an appointed position that, in some states, requires little training, to be quite honest. While I am unaware of this particular coroner’s level of training and expertise, this coroner has been under scrutiny for being understaffed and underfunded to mention just a couple of issues. In addition, I would argue that simply because a man or a woman is a county coroner, does not mean they are above being affected by bias or by their profession’s long-held beliefs and teachings. I would say they most certainly are not above influence and, in my opinion, are highly likely to be affected by them. When they are told by their schools, their national and state associations, and their mentors that chiropractors cause strokes, don’t you think they probably believe it?

I would also argue that the coroner likely has little to zero knowledge of the current body of research regarding cervical manipulation and the instance of stroke. How could an educated person aware of the body of literature on the matter decide otherwise?

For years, I have experienced nurses, physician assistants, medical doctors, and others in an online setting claiming that chiropractic adjustments are dangerous and ineffective. A common theme amongst them is, “It happens all of the time.” We see it “all of the time.” Research proves the notion is a lie.

I would like to be less dramatic or inflammatory in my wording but I do not know of another way to describe it.

Let’s assume that this myth has its base rooted in some sort of fact. Let us be clear. It does not. But, for argument sake, let us say that it does. At that point, we would need to assess the benefits of chiropractic treatment vs. the risks of chiropractic treatment.

In Southern terms, “Is the squeeze worth the push?”

Is there a return on the investment?

Again, this is purely for argument sake because the chiropractors cause strokes myth is not real to start with but playing the devil’s advocate can be of use and is almost always entertaining.

Before we step into deeper water with the research papers, let us discuss benefits & effectiveness vs. risk for some common treatments for spinal complaints in the medical world. If the discussion is focused on doing away with cervical adjustments, what then would be the alternatives and how effective are they? Basically, if the medical field is looking in OUR backyard, maybe we should take a peek into theirs as well.

Keep in mind that all of the research we discuss will be cited in the show notes so that those of you that wish can easily research these independently on your own.

  • The opioid crisis cost the US economy $504 billion dollars in 2015 and a total of $221 billion to $431 billion in lost economic output due to there being 33,000 opioid-related deaths in 2015[3].
  • There were 63,600 opioid-related deaths in 2016, which was an increase of 21% from the 2015.[4].
  • Chou R, et. al. – Although the steroid injections for radiculopathy showed some short-term relief in pain and short-term increase in function, the benefits seen in the patients were only small and short-term only. There was no effect long-term and no affect on whether or not the person had surgery eventually. The evidence in this paper suggested there was no effectiveness at all for the treatment of spinal stenosis[5].
  • Epstein N, et. al. – “Although not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), injections are being performed with an increased frequency (160%), are typically short-acting and ineffectiveover the longer-term, while exposing patients to major risks/complications[6].”
  • Peterson CK, et. al. – “Subacute/chronic patients treated with SMT (spinal manipulative therapy) were significantly more likely to report relevant “improvement” compared with CNRI (CERVICAL NERVE ROOT INJECTION) patients.There was no difference in outcomes when comparing acute patients only[7].”
  • Chou R, et. al. – “Epidural corticosteroid injections for radiculopathy were associated with immediate improvements in pain and might be associated with immediate improvements in function, but benefits were small and not sustained, and there was no effect on long-term risk of surgery. Evidence did not suggest that effectiveness varies based on injection technique, corticosteroid, dose, or comparator. Limited evidence suggested that epidural corticosteroid injections are not effective for spinal stenosis or nonradicular back pain and that facet joint corticosteroid injections are not effective for presumed facet joint pain[5].”
  • Chou R, et. al – “Surgery for radiculopathy with herniated lumbar disc and symptomatic spinal stenosis is associated with short-term benefits compared to nonsurgical therapy, though benefits diminish with long-term follow-up in some trials. For nonradicular back pain with common degenerative changes, fusion is no more effective than intensive rehabilitation, but associated with small to moderate benefits compared to standard nonsurgical therapy[8].”
  • Maghout J, et. al. – “Use of intervertebral fusion devices rose rapidly after their introduction in 1996. This increased use was associated with an increased complication risk without improving disability or reoperation rates[9].”

 

At this point, it is clear the medical field has its own issues to concentrate on and improve upon when it comes to spinal pain and the treatment of it. It is my opinion these facts are but only a few of the concerns in the medical field and, if taken individually, are much more concerning than any one single issue that can be found within the chiropractic profession.

This is where we are going to stop for this first episode of the Chiropractors cause strokes series. Remember, our” chiropractors cause strokes” series is a three part series.

Be sure to tune in next week for the second part of the three part series. Next week, we will be talking about the benefits, according to research, for neck pain as well as for headaches. And we’ll also talk a little about where this myth came from and why it perpetuates to this day.

You may also consider listening to a recent episode in which we covered some great new research on treating neck pain conservatively through chiropractic care. Check it out at https://www.chiropracticforward.com/2018/03/08/proven-means-to-treat-neck-pain/

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

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

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

 

References

  1. Debette S, “Pathophysiology and risk factors of cervical artery dissection: what have we learnt from large hospital-based cohorts?”. . Current Opinion in Neurology, 2014. 27(1): p. 20-8.
  2. Lang E. Vertebral Artery Dissection. Emergency Medicine 2017 January 18]; Available from: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/761451-overview.
  3. Mutikani L. Opioid crisis cost U.S. economy $504 billion in 2015: White House. 2017; Available from: https://www.reuters.com/article/legal-us-usa-opioids-cost/opioid-crisis-cost-u-s-economy-504-billion-in-2015-white-house-idUSKBN1DL2Q0.
  4. Glenza J. Life expectancy in US down for second year in a row as opioid crisis deepens. 2017 December 21; Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/21/us-life-expectancy-down-for-second-year-in-a-row-amid-opioid-crisis.
  5. Chou R, Epidural Corticosteroid Injections for Radiculopathy and Spinal Stenosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med, 2015. 163(5): p. 373-81.
  6. Epstein N, The risks of epidural and transforaminal steroid injections in the Spine: Commentary and a comprehensive review of the literature. Surg Neurol Int, 2013. 4(Suppl 2): p. S74-93.
  7. Peterson CK, Symptomatic, Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Confirmed Cervical Disk Herniation Patients: A Comparative-Effectiveness Prospective Observational Study of 2 Age- and Sex-Matched Cohorts Treated With Either Imaging-Guided Indirect Cervical Nerve Root Injections or Spinal Manipulative Therapy. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 2016. 39(3): p. 210-7.
  8. Chou R, Surgery for low back pain: a review of the evidence for an American Pain Society Clinical Practice Guideline. Spine, 2009. 34(10): p. 1094-109.
  9. Maghout J, e.e., Lumbar fusion outcomes in Washington State workers’ compensation. Spine (Phila Pa 1976), 2006. 31(23): p. 2715-23.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is what you’ think but there is new information from the White House that this simply is not the case despite the obvious ramifications. You can find the link in the show notes but on page 57 of The President’s Commission On Combating Drug Addiction and The Opioid Crisis report, the authors say, “A key contributor to the opioid epidemic has been the excess prescribing of opioids for common pain complaints and for postsurgical pain. Although in some conditions, behavioral programs, acupuncture, chiropractic, surgery, as well as FDA-approved multimodal pain strategies have been proven to reduce the use of opioids, while providing effective pain management, current CMS reimbursement policies, as well as health insurance providers and other payers, create barriers to the adoption of these strategies.” This is straight from the White House.

At the bottom of page 57, you will also see that it says, “The Commission recommends CMS review and modify rate-setting policies that discourage the use of non-opioid treatments for pain, such as certain bundled payments that make alternative treatment options cost prohibitive for hospitals and doctors, particularly those options for treating immediate post-surgical pain.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please feel free to send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think or what suggestions you may have for us for future episodes. If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. As this podcast builds, so will the website as we add more content, educational products, and a little further down the road, webinars, seminars, and speaking dates as they get added.

 

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

CF 012: Proven Means To Treat Neck Pain

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

CF 007: Awesome Alternatives To High Blood Pressure Treatment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why They Did It

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

How They Did It

  • The authors of the paper had two main objectives

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

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

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

What They Found

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

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

The following therapies showed significant reduction in blood pressure:

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

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

Wrap It Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What They Found

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

Wow!!!

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

Just another reason to call a chiropractor TODAY!

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

Please feel free to send us an email at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com and let us

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

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

and your family.

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

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

Research Citations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Source Material:

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

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

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

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