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It is estimated that of the 238 million adults in the US, 116 million suffer from chronic pain. Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are the most common allopathic approach to the management of these chronic pain patients. However, there are more complaints filed to regulatory agencies worldwide against NSAIDs than any other classification of drugs.
Due to pro-inflammatory lifestyles (diet and physical, chemical and emotional stressors), pain and other subsequent signs or symptoms of internal disfunction runs rampant. This leads to the perceived need for routine NSAID use (tylenol, aspirin, advil, ibuprofen, etc.) to get through the busy day. While the underlying cause of the inflammation should always be addressed, what we are talking about here is a short term, safer alternative to the NSAID.
The reason a smarter option should be exercised is due to the fact that like all drugs, over the counter or prescribed, these magic pills are not sans side effects. NSAID use and overuse is responsible for an alarming number of hospitalizations and even deaths each year. Common side effects include internal hemorrhaging, liver and kidney damage, digestive dysfunction including degradation of the stomach and intestinal wall (ulcers), and stroke; with the likelihood of occurrence increasing with usage.
So when you see these commercials with the delivery man or mother of three relying on her her alieve or advil to get through the day, best believe reliance on an even longer list of meds will follow to address the aforementioned issues.
To understand viable options, we need to understand the physiologic mechanism of action behind the NSAID. These drugs work by inhibiting a part of the inflammatory pathway that leads to the formation of something called a prostaglandin (PGE2) that would normally lead to stimulation of pain fibers. They do this by inhibiting an enzyme in the pathway called COX-2, and are thus noted as COX-2 inhibitors.
What most people don’t know is that there are actually other ways to block the formation of PGE2, and thus the pain. In addition to a laundry list of other systemic benefits, Omega3 (Fish Oil) supplementation also serves as a COX-2 inhibitor, and thus a potentially powerful, natural anti-inflammatory. (Provided this is a high quality Omega 3 supplement and at a therapeutic dose.)
Another fascinating option that works in a similar COX-2 inhibitory
manner is the application Low Laser Therapy or LLT. These are often classified as cold lasers (due to the lack of heat) and work by utilizing a specific wavelength and frequency of light to achieve a desired therapeutic purpose within the tissues. One of the effects of Low Level Laser Therapy is that it too blocks the COX-2 enzyme, and thus the formation of PGE2 and the sensation of pain, but without the side effects.
As previously stated, the long term objective should always be to identify and eliminate the cause of the problematic inflammation so the use of natural or chemical anti-inflammatories is minimized. However, due to the well documented hazards associated with these seemingly harmless and casually over consumed drugs, wiser options, that work in the exact same manner, should be exercised.
As with any adjustment to your healthcare regimen, always consult with you knowledgable and trusted healthcare coach before making any changes. Whether it’s the all natural temporary relief of pain, or a combination of short term relief to get you through while we work on a long term solution, we are here to collaborate with and coach you to a better quantity and quality of life.
We’re ready when you are.
Are you one of the millions of Americans who are feeling negatively affected by the ever evolving heathcare reform? Elevated premiums, ridiculous deductibles, limited network provider selection has patients and providers sick to their stomachs (pun intended).
As promised, change did indeed come, and was definitely needed. And while an abrupt upheaval and reconfigurment of an intact system can be quite unsettling on numerous fronts, only time will tell how the future chapters of this book will be ascribed; for better or for worse.
The question we are left with is: now what? How is one to advantageously navigate this new system in order to reap optimal available benefits, while mitigating the economic blow as much as possible?
Like it or not, it is what it is for the time being. And alas, we are left choices. There is always the option to whine, complain, bitch, moan; even get angry and stressed, which will make healthcare all the more necessary for you.
Unless you plan on getting involved in politics and joining the ranks of policy proposers and lewd lobbyists, then the aforementioned option doesn’t do anyone any good.
Let’s talk about an intelligent strategy here to hopefully save some dollars, sanity and ultimately, your health.
First off you will either need to continue to carry a now inflated health insurance or pay a fine for rolling the dice without. This is still an option and the appropriate alternative varies dependent upon your specific situation. This part appears to be an unavoidable reality at the moment so unless you plan on joining the circus in D.C., you may as well come to terms with your decision and move on.
Let’s now talk about how you can really take control of the situation. Are you infuriated by your seemingly unattainable deductible? Are you disgruntled because you feel you have been forced to change physicians or pay them thousands to join their preferred, VIP patient club?
Well, a simple solution exists to eliminating both of these issues. Stop sitting back complaining while you consume the same diet that perpetuates the need for frequent doctor visits in the first place. Stop sitting altogether. Stop talking about exercise or becoming more active, and get up and do it.
The information, research and evidence implicating lifestyle (diet, exercise, stress, sleep, toxins, etc.) as the main driver of genetic expression (epigenetics) and thus chronic disease (diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, auto-immunity, Alzheimer’s, cancer, etc.) now exists, and is thankfully becoming more mainstream. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. The information, and thus the knowledge and power exists to play a more active role in your health, well being and life than ever once imagined.
You see if you don’t like the current sickcare, excuse me, healthcare system, then take a stand on a personal level and remove yourself from it as much as possible. Stop playing the loud, opinionated, helpless victim who does nothing to help themselves.
No matter where you sit on the spectrum of health, there are basic foundational changes that can be implemented and built upon from there. The stronger that intelligently constructed foundation, the less of a need for all those prescriptions and visits to the specialist.
Thus you have improved two aspects of your relationship with healthcare in that you can now pick a plan that makes emergencies more economical, rather than routine visits to attenuate this new symptom and modify dosage of that med. You have also now enabled yourself to take some space from the this new provider who you didn’t much care for to begin with.
Now I realize everyone’s situation is different, especially when it comes to health. Some people may need plans for frequent specialist visits and access to medications, and that’s all good. That’s what they’re there for.
However, the majority of the population can do themselves a service and make the effort to take the proactive step towards optimal health, and thus more independence from the system they declaratively loathe.
The seemingly healthy individual can arm themselves with knowledge and begin to cultivate a lifestyle relatively free of issues down the line; true responsible, wellness care. The boomers and elder set can break some of the lifelong habits and be sure to attentuate the inevitable degeneration as much as possible, leading to a higher quality of life in those golden years. Even the individual with seemingly hopeless, devestating disease diagnosis can explore all options, and do all they can to stack the remainig deck in their favor.
With the abundance of information out there, getting started can be a daunting, seemingly insurmountable task, but it doesn’t have to be. There exists forward thinking healthcare providers like myself, who are passionate about collaborating with individuals in order to unlock the potential to thrive.
Find one you can develop a relationship with, along with some level of trust. Find one who will take the time to not only listen, but explain the anatomy, physiology, and logic and reason behind each aspect of a plan; ultimately creating a more knowledgable, independent advocate of their own health.
This is what we pride ourselves in doing professionally and personally, and are here to guide all those looking to take their lives into their own hands.
To a clinician, there are a variety of reasons that the public comes knocking. As a chiropractic physician, the overwhelming reason for that initial visit boils down to the presence of pain. Pain is the problem and people come to us looking for a solution. Sure, chiropractors are in the healthcare field and many have opened their own practices but the bottom line is that we are in the solutions business and to be successful you must give the people what they want.
Now, treating pain naturally is a chiropractor’s specialty. The use of various soft tissue techniques, cold laser or e-stem, and of course the adjustment all can work wonders in alleviating pain. However, many times the pain returns after the initial relief from treatment. The reason for this is that the underlying cause of pain was never addressed. This is where the profession and healthcare as a whole falls short.
When someone presents with a symptom such as pain, the goal of both the practitioner and patient is to get out of that pain. However, pain alleviation should be just phase one of the treatment progression. Throwing a treatment at pain, whether it be an adjustment or drug, is nothing more than symptom care at its best. Granted, the all-natural former comes with virtually no negative side effects but the application of both by their lonesome remains the same. This is “sick” or “symptom care” that usually leaves the pour soul dependent on treatments due to ignorance, greed, laziness or a combination of all three by the practitioner.
This is one of the main reasons that chiropractors are looked at in a negative light, as the constant need for treatment has many proclaiming, “that once you go to a chiropractor you need to go forever.” On the same level, it is the reason people pop NSAIDs or prescription pain killers like daily vitamins (yet it seems there is less discontent in resigning to the latter).
It must be pointed out here that it truly does take two to tango in these situations. The reason NSAID sales, prescription drugs and non-stop palliative chiropractic treatments even exist is because there is a market for it. It is not just the practitioner who is lazy or ignorant. Breaking the pain-treatment cycle takes more time and effort and thus many on both sides of the equation do not want to be put out.
The proper way to approach any health issue, whether it be pain or any other symptom, is to take it a step further and find the break down in function. Symptoms such as pain are helpful signs from our body letting us know that something is wrong. Somewhere along the line a breakdown in optimal function has occurred and because of that, symptoms of that breakdown are now outwardly manifesting themselves to the point that we have the pleasure of meeting and working together.
For the sake of this discussion, we will stay focused on pain and take it one step further to the chiropractor’s traditional forte: back pain. Back pain continues to be one of the most debilitating conditions in this country and if the current trends continue, the majority of us will unfortunately fall victim to chronic back pain at some time or another.
Well, this is your wake up call. You don’t need to be another statistic. Just because something is deemed “the norm” due to the majority of the population succumbing to it, doesn’t make it right. You can free yourself from the back pain sentence if you work with a well-trained healthcare professional to identify its cause and do what you can to properly heal and prevent it in the future.
As we stated, pain is a symptom that manifests due to an underlying breakdown in function. Outside of trauma, back pain in this country is largely a result of our culture of desk jobs, prolonged sitting and poor posture. What happens is our anterior muscles become tightened and shortened due to us always leaning forward. This leaves our posterior muscles (think glutes, hamstrings, spinal muscles, etc.) lengthened and weakened. The problem here is that it is these muscles of the posterior chain that are designed to move us efficiently through the world.
Somewhere along the way in our world of laptops and long hours seated we have picked up a new hunched forward posture and thus a new movement pattern. Just like with anything else, we eventually adapt to this new mode of operation even though it is not the most efficient for our bodies. The result is an eventual structural breakdown in the form of disc herniations, osteoarthritis, muscle strains and inflammation.
So how do we tie this all together? Well, obviously the pain needs to be addressed. It is the reason treatment was sought in the first place. Once the pain is alleviated, it needs to be understood that this pain was not just a random, inevitable occurrence. It occurred for a reason and many times it was due to these faulty movement patterns and a breakdown in proper function as we described.
At this point, it takes extra effort and commitment by both patient and practitioner in order to identify the exact breakdown in function and work together diligently to reset and reprogram the body’s movement pattern. This is done through repetition and a controlled, intelligent progression through exercises and treatments in order to rebuild the foundation and retrain the body to move correctly. Only then can we see long lasting relief and prevention of pain.
If any of this resonates with you as it has with me and you would like to work together to not only get out of pain but prevent it in the future, please give me a call (321-848-0987) and let’s get to work on a pain free, smooth moving life.
We’ll take it easy on you with this week’s post as we head into another weekend. Sometimes I have to repeatedly re-read some of the facts and figures during my constant investigation of the ever growing and changing research. These are a few of those “double take” paragraphs that I have compiled and felt compelled to share. Take it in, embrace the empowerment and make the necessary changes.
DEPRESSION – INFLAMMATORY DIET LINK
For 12 years, researchers tracked the diet habits and health outcomes of more than 43,000 women — none of whom had depression at the start of the study period. Here’s what they found: Women who sipped soft drinks, ate fatty red meat, or consumed refined grains (like pasta, white bread, crackers, or chips) daily were 29 to 41% more likely to be diagnosed or treated for depression than those who stuck to a healthier diet. Blood tests revealed that women who ate the above foods also tested significantly higher for three biomarkers of inflammation.
GOT PAIN? PATIENT BEWARE
Back pain accounts for more than $100 billion in annual U.S. healthcare costs and is the second leading cause of physician visits and hospitalizations.
What Happens When Physicians Don’t Know How to Treat Pain?
They resort to the only treatment they know: prescription drugs to treat inflammation, arthritis, back pain, stress, and autoimmunity. And now we’re facing another epidemic on top of chronic pain: prescription drug abuse.
The latter has been called the fastest-growing drug problem in the US by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as the number of deaths from opioid painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone rose nearly four-fold between 1999 and 2009. Pain medications were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008.
The overdoses now kill more people than cocaine and heroin combined. As USA Today recently reported, more US states are now taking action to try and stop this growing problem.
STROKE: MORE EVIDENCE TO GET UP, MOVE AND NOT BE A STATISTIC
The American Heart Association reports 800,000 Americans suffer from stroke each year. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the US and the fourth leading cause of death. Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable, because for the most part, strokes are the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Recent research published in the journal Stroke found that, if you’re inactive, you have a 20 percent higher risk for having a stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack) than people who exercise enough to break a sweat at least four times a week.
The study involved more than 27,000 Americans for an average of 5.7 years, male and female, Caucasian and African-American. It included a larger proportion of people from the “Stroke Belt” states, where stroke rates are higher (Virginia, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, and Alabama).
Get out there and move! Have a great weekend.
The healthcare system has been receiving top billing these days and for good reason. The big business that is “sick-care” has spun out of control and left many in a daze. (Or maybe it’s all the prescriptions.)
Our society has become one in which capitalism has trumped ethics, morals and humanity, and the conventional application of sick-care is a prime example. The following facts and figures back up the proceeding statement and are intended to provoke amazement, disbelief and even disgust. Most of all though, it’s meant to open your eyes to what’s going on around us and urge you to be informed and aware when dealing with your own life.
17% of this country’s GDP is spent on healthcare, making America’s healthcare business alone, one of the largest economies (#6 to be exact) on the entire planet.
This is fueled by being a country that only makes up 5% of the world’s population, yet consumes over 50% of the world’s pharmaceutical drugs and at higher prices than other nations.
This is also fueled by hospitals typically charging anywhere up to 10 times more for inexpensive tests and procedures when on average they end collecting roughly 35% of what they originally charged. This creates a large profit for the hospital and leaves the hoodwinked consumer with a false sense of relief for not having to pay “full price.”
Over a decade ago, Professor Bruce Pomerance of the University of Toronto concluded that properly prescribed and correctly taken pharmaceutical drugs were the fourth leading cause of death in the US.
In 2000, the Institutes of Medicine reported that medical errors were the eighth leading cause of death in the US, killing between 44,000 and 98,000 people each year.
In the 2003 article “Death by Medicine”, Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, described how the modern conventional American medical system has become the leading cause of death and injury in the United States, claiming the lives of nearly 784,000 people annually.
These iatrogenic deaths (meaning deaths resulting from the activity of physicians) include everything from adverse drug reactions to medical errors, to hospital-acquired infections and surgeries gone bad—including 37,000 deaths from unnecessary medical procedures.
Out of 62 million death certificates dated between 1976-2006, almost a quarter-million deaths were coded as having occurred in a hospital setting due to medication errors.
An estimated 450,000 preventable medication-related adverse events occur in the US every year.
The costs of adverse drug reactions to society are more than $136 billion annually. This is greater than the total cost of cardiovascular or diabetic care.
THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS?
A civil lawsuit filed in 2004 charged GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) with fraud, claiming the drug manufacturer hid results from studies on Paxil showing the drug did not work in adolescents and in some cases led to suicidal ideation. Rather than warning doctors of such potential side effects, GSK actually encouraged them to prescribe the drug to teens and children.
According to DrugWatch.com, GSK has agreed to pay out more than $1 billion to settle more than 800 different lawsuits related to Paxil, on top of the $3 billion it agreed to pay to settle the Department of Justice’s investigation into illegal marketing of Paxil and other drugs.
To us these fines seem astronomical and financially crippling. However, they pale in comparison to the profits earned by Big Pharma’s heavy hitters. (For instance, Pfizer took in over $245 billion from 2004-2008.) Unfortunately, situations like this are not isolated incidents as companies frequently settle up on fines that are a mere fraction of the profits yielded. (Between 2004-2010 major drug companies have paid out over $7 billion in fines, penalties and lawsuits.)
Merck’s highly publicized Vioxx has now been the focus over 60,000 lawsuits and cost the company close to $6 billion in fines. This was a drug pushed to relieve pain, mainly from arthritis, but has lead to a slough of side effects, including heart attack and death. It would behoove all who currently take prescriptions to do some research into the side effects and litigation pending.
In closing I’d like to add that this is not meant to be an anti-medicine, anti-surgery piece. When properly applied, each of these disciplines can intervene during emergencies and save lives.
This article is meant to direct attention to the broken, backwards system. Keep your eyes open. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. From pharmaceuticals to GMOs, the information and more importantly the choice, exists.
As long as it’s not an emergency, utilize the practices of traditional medicine only after making real lifestyle changes and seeking non-invasive conservative care first. Be aware that some where along the chain, the profit has taken priority over consumer safety and other than the responsible parties being fined for the careless administration, the other major cost is your health; and in some cases your life.
Choose wisely. We are talking about your one and only life here.