Author Archive


Marijuana and Alzheimers

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Relief for the millions of seniors who suffer from Azheimer’s Disease may come in form of a joint.

A new study finds marijuana is effective in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

The research, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, says the “THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana, could be a potential therapeutic treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease through multiple functions and pathways.”

More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s. One in 3 seniors will die from the disease or some other dementia.

Marijuana is poured from a jar at at medical marijuana dispensary. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Chuanhai Cao and other researchers at the University of Southern Florida and Thomas Jefferson University set out to investigate the therapeutic qualities of THC as an effective drug to slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s. According to the study, the results were positive. THC lowers certain markers of the disease in research cells, and “enhances” the function of the cell’s energy factories.

“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function,” stated study lead author Cao.

“The dose and target population are critically important for any drug, so careful monitoring and control of drug levels in the blood and system are very important for therapeutic use, especially for a compound such as THC,” Dr. Cao said.

Other research in the same journal indicates THC boosts the body’s ability to fight the disease. Some neuroscientists even believe that smoking marijuana in early adulthood may prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s later in life.

Since Salifornia’s passage Proposition 215, it is “legal for patients and their designated primary caregivers to possess and cultivate marijuana for their personal medical use given the recommendation or approval of a California-licensed physician. Patients can get information about California’s Medical Marijuana Program on the Department of Public Health’s website.

Still considering a flu shot? Read this……..

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Here in California, the Centers for Disease Control has is reporting only sporadic cases of influenza.
Despite CDC recommendations for everyone to get a flu shot, health officials say this year’s vaccine may not be very effective this winter. That could lead to more serious illnesses and deaths.
In other parts of the country, flu season has begun to ramp up, and officials say the vaccine does not protect well against the dominant strain seen most commonly so far this year. That strain tends to cause more deaths and hospitalizations, especially in the elderly.
“Though we cannot predict what will happen the rest of this flu season, it’s possible we may have a season that’s more severe than most,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at a news conference Thursday.
CDC officials think the vaccine should provide some protection and still are urging people to get vaccinated. But it probably won’t be as good as if the vaccine strain was a match.
Flu vaccine effectiveness tends to vary from year to year. Last winter, flu vaccine was 50 to 55 percent effective overall, which experts consider relatively good.
The CDC issued an advisory to doctors about the situation Wednesday evening.
CDC officials said doctors should be on the look-out for patients who may be at higher risk for flu complications, including children younger than 2, adults 65 and older, and people with asthma, heart disease, weakened immune systems or certain other chronic conditions.
Such patients should be seen promptly, and perhaps treated immediately with antiviral medications, the CDC advised. If a patient is very sick or at high risk, a doctor shouldn’t wait for a positive flu test result to prescribe the drugs — especially this year, CDC officials said.
The medicines are most effective if taken within two days of the inset of symptoms. They won’t immediately cure the illness, but can lessen its severity and shorten suffering by about a day, Frieden said.
Among infectious diseases, flu is considered one of the nation’s leading killers. On average, about 24,000 Americans die each flu season, according to the CDC.
Nearly 150 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed for this winter’s flu season.
Current flu vaccines are built to protect against three or four different kinds of flu virus, depending on the product. The ingredients are selected very early in the year, based on predictions of what strains will circulate the following winter.
One of the vaccine components chosen last February was a certain strain of the H3N2 virus. About a month later — after vaccine production was underway — health officials noted the appearance new and different strain of H3N2. “This is not something that’s been around before,” Frieden said.
Health officials said they weren’t sure if the new strain would become a significant problem in the United States this winter until recently. Lab specimens from patients have shown that the most commonly seen flu bug so far is the new strain of H3N2. Specifically, about 48 percent of the H3N2 samples seen so far were well matched to what’s in the vaccine, but 52 percent were not, the CDC said.
This news follows another problem recently identified by CDC officials, involving the nasal spray version of flu vaccine.
At a scientific meeting at the CDC in October, vaccine experts were told of preliminary results from three studies that found AstraZeneca’s FluMist nasal spray had little or no effect in children against the swine flu strain that was the most common bug making people sick last winter.
Because this year’s version of FluMist is the same formulation, experts said it’s possible the spray vaccine won’t work for swine flu this season, either.
However, CDC officials believe H3N2 will be the most common flu bug this winter.
For more information, go to the CDC flu Web page: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm

Marijuana and Alzheimers

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Relief for the millions of seniors who suffer from Azheimer’s Disease may come in form of a joint.
A new study finds marijuana is effective in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia.
The research, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, says the “THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana, could be a potential therapeutic treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease through multiple functions and pathways.”
More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s. One in 3 seniors will die from the disease or some other dementia.
Chuanhai Cao and other researchers at the University of Southern Florida and Thomas Jefferson University set out to investigate the therapeutic qualities of THC as an effective drug to slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s. According to the study, the results were positive. THC lowers certain markers of the disease in research cells, and “enhances” the function of the cell’s energy factories.
“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function,” stated study lead author Cao.
“The dose and target population are critically important for any drug, so careful monitoring and control of drug levels in the blood and system are very important for therapeutic use, especially for a compound such as THC,” Dr. Cao said.
Other research in the same journal indicates THC boosts the body’s ability to fight the disease. Some neuroscientists even believe that smoking marijuana in early adulthood may prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s later in life.
Since Salifornia’s passage Proposition 215, it is “legal for patients and their designated primary caregivers to possess and cultivate marijuana for their personal medical use given the recommendation or approval of a California-licensed physician. Patients can get information about California’s Medical Marijuana Program on the Department of Public Health’s website.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, What is it?, What to do about it.

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition characterized by numbness, tingling, and/or pain located on the palm side of the wrist, hand and into the index, third, and half of the ring finger. It’s caused by pressure exerted on the median nerve as it passes through the “tunnel” located in the wrist. The “floor” of the tunnel is a ligament while the “walls” are made up of eight small carpal bones that lock together in the shape of a tunnel. There are nine tendons (tendons attach muscles to bones allowing us to move our fingers), sheaths covering the tendons, blood vessels, and the median nerve that ALL travel through the tunnel, so it’s packed pretty tight. ANYTHING that increases the size of any of these structures or anything “extra” that shouldn’t be there can increase the pressure inside the tunnel, pinch the median nerve, and result in the classic numb/tingling symptoms that wake people up at night, or interfere with work or driving.
In the Unites States (US), about 1 out of 20 people will suffer from CTS. Caucasians have the highest incidence rate and women are affected more than men by a 3:1 ratio between ages of 45-60 years old. Only 10% of the reported cases of CTS are under 30 years old. Occupational CTS (as of 2010) affects 8% of US workers with 24% attributed to manufacturing industry jobs. This equates to approximately 3.1 million cases of work-related CTS in 2010. The risk of developing CTS increases with age, diabetes, hypothyroid, pregnancy, taking birth control pills, having an inflammatory arthritis, being obese, pinched nerves in the neck, thoracic outlet, elbow, and others. Therefore, managing CTS requires a thorough evaluation in order to assure accuracy in the diagnosis. With this background information, let’s look at the question, WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP CTS? One answer is, don’t age – good luck with that! In addition to keeping your weight under control, exercise can be VERY effective and YOU can be in charge of that process, but we have to teach you the exercises.
1) The Carpal Stretch (“nerve gliding”): Place your palm on the wall near shoulder height with the fingers pointing down at the floor and press the palm of the hand flat on the wall. Lastly, reach across with the opposite hand and pull your thumb back off of the wall and hold for 5-15 seconds.
2) The Wrist Extensor Stretch: Do the same as #1 but place the back of the hand on the wall in front of you, again fingers pointing downward. Here, there is no need to stretch the thumb.
3) The “Bear Claw”: Make a fist and then open up the hand. Keep the small finger joints flexed while extending the knuckles at the base of each finger straight (not bent). Repeat 5-10x.
4) Putty Squeeze: Simply squeeze putty in your hand for two to five minutes until fatigued.
5) Yoga has been shown to reduce pain and improve grip strength in CTS patients!
Now the question, “…can these exercises prevent surgery?” The answer is “maybe.” They certainly help in some cases, but a multi-dimensional treatment plan is theBEST approach. This includes: 1) Chiropractic manipulation of the hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, and neck; 2) Soft tissue “release” techniques of the muscles in the forearm, upper arm, shoulder, and neck; 3) Cock-up wrist splint to be used at night, and in some cases, at times during the day; 4) Ergonomic managementof your work station or situation (to minimize repetitive insult to the area); 5) Nutritional support that may include an anti-inflammatory diet and nutrients (vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc.), and 6) Managing any contributing conditionslike diabetes, hypothyroid, and/or the others. Here’s the GOOD NEWS: CHIROPRACTIC can manage these six steps, though some cases will require co-management with primary care and/or specialist.
I would be happy to fully explain and demonstrate this work to you. You only need to schedule an appointment and you can do that right from this website. Just click on the “online appointments now!” above on the menu bar and pick your appointment time.

Whiplash Injuries

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Whiplash injuries are a significant public health problem. Not only do they cause significant pain and time off from work and leisure activities, there is also a general effect on quality of life. A study in the European Spine Journal compared female patients with whiplash of the neck to patients with low back pain and another group with rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers looked at pain levels (how high or low) and how quality of life was affected. In the whiplash group, the pain levels were the highest. Overall health status was also more affected in the whiplash group, with changes mostly in social issues, vitality, emotional, and mental wellbeing.

A study in the journal Spine looked at how medical and chiropractic doctors differed in their approach to patients with whiplash. Medical doctors were more likely to have negative feelings about treating patients who have whiplash. They were also more likely to believe that there was nothing physically wrong with many patients with chronic whiplash. In terms of treatment, most medical doctors believed that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and muscle relaxants were effective in acute whiplash. This is despite the significant scientific evidence of problems of safety with long -term consumption of NSAIDs (e.g. stomach bleeding). In addition to questions of safety, there is virtually no evidence that these types of medications actually improve patients’ pain or overall quality of life.

The chiropractic approach to whiplash is much different from that of medical doctors. First, there is a general acceptance that the injuries are real and are not made-up by the patient. Biomechanical study of auto accidents confirms the injuries are real and mostly consist of sprain and subluxation of the joints of the neck. The spinal ligaments, muscles and disks are all affected in whiplash injury. When trauma to these tissues occurs, the sensitive nerves that go between these structures are also irritated, resulting in pain and changes in balance (e.g. dizziness, and position sense). Over time, the patient may have significant effects on their quality of life.

One study of chiropractic care in the journal Injury looked at the results in patients with chronic (i.e., long-term) whiplash injuries-which occurs in about 43% of cases. Twenty-eight patients were studied and of these 93% (n=26) had improved following chiropractic treatment.

There are important differences in your treatment when you compare the chiropractic to the medical approach to whiplash.

Pregnancy and the Flu Vaccine

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Originally published on Thinking Mom’s Revolution

As a conventionally trained, dyed-in-the-wool psychiatrist, I learned that mental illness is a manifestation of an imbalance of brain chemicals that can be largely reduced to too little serotonin and/or norepinephrine, too little dopamine, or messed up excitatory signals at the membrane level. These deficits required pharmaceutical intervention for repair, just as one of my attendings once patronizingly said to an inpatient post-suicide attempt: if you had poor vision, you would need glasses. There would just be no way for you to navigate the world without those glasses no matter how much you wanted to.
I don’t believe this anymore. I’ve left the church and I’ve run into the woods where I’m listening to the sermons delivered by the natives there…those who believe in a natural order, in the body’s capacity to heal, in the sanctity of a clean environment, and in the interconnectedness of spirit, nourishment, and movement. But this was a journey for me. I started to open my eyes during my first pregnancy, when I began my fellowship in treating pregnant and postpartum women. I learned how to consent them, and what informed consent really looked like, around treatment with psychotropics in pregnancy and lactation. Many of these women had been on medication for the better part of their adult lives and either found themselves pregnant, were planning to become, or developed symptoms despite treatment. I poured over the literature for hundreds of hours, memorizing authors and statistics, distilling complex analytic concepts, and building a rational path, with some forks in the road, for these women to travel. I helped them to understand the known risks, the unknown risks, the alternatives, and allowed them to assess the perceived benefits. This process would often culminate in a 90-120 minute session involving all and any interested family members and extensive communication with other providers – general psychiatrists, obstetricians, therapists, so that everyone was on the same page.
You can imagine that it began to rub me the wrong way when these very same patients would come in and casually mention that they had gotten a “flu shot”, often without a single medical provider involved (at CVS!), no consent, no discussion. I didn’t know much about the flu vaccine other than that when I entered medical school, pregnant women and babies were in the “contraindicated” demographic. I also knew that doctors, residents and med students almost never got the flu shot voluntarily.
I began to look into the literature through my lens of best quality pregnancy data: a prospective cohort study, well-controlled, looking at outcomes during pregnancy, at birth, and up to 5-7 years of childhood age or longer. I investigated the ingredients (egg proteins and associated unidentified viral DNA from this animal tissue, the allergen gelatin, polysorbate 80 which crosses the blood brain barrier, the carcinogen formaldehyde, the detergent triton x100, sucrose, resin, the antibiotic gentamycin, and thimerosol/mercury) and found that no study has looked at the effect of injecting any one of the ingredients, let alone the combination. I was hoping to find large studies done annually for each preparation assuming that if there were 25,000 cases in the literature of SSRI exposure, there must be at least that for something formally recommended to pregnant women. Herein lies the important philosophical leap: women are educated to avoid elective exposures to medication in pregnancy. When there is an indicated intervention, medical, pharmaceutical, surgical, the personal risks and benefits are weighed of treatment vs no treatment vs alternatives. But, here we have a one-size-fits-all recommendation with no risk-stratification according to immune status, personal medical history, genetic risk factors, or comorbidities. A formal recommendation of a category C intervention whose package insert states:
“Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with influenza virus vaccine. It is also not known whether influenza virus vaccine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Although animal reproductive studies have not been conducted, the prescribing health care provider should be aware of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The ACIP states that if used during pregnancy, administration of influenza virus vaccine after 14 weeks of gestation may be preferable to avoid coincidental association of the vaccine with early pregnancy loss.”
Who is blowing air into this trumpet? I think we know.
To this day, I remain appalled at the double-speak on the part of the CDC around this intervention that has been conclusively found to be ineffective and dangerous in the general population and is grossly understudied in the pregnant population. Here are some tidbits about vaccinating for influenza:
• As Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, an enlightened pediatrician, discusses in his writings and patient education, we are awash in viruses and bacteria. Exposure does not equal infection. Presumption that 4 strains (the three chosen for the vaccine and the H1N1) are worthy of specific action is not based in evidence, nor common sense.
• Incidence of flu at the population level is grossly inflated as a fear-mongering tactic. When patients present with flu-like symptoms, they are rarely diagnostically confirmed as being Influenza type A or type B, and the vast majority of the time, may be neither. A brilliant 7 year old assessment by Ayoub and Yazbak states:
“In general, most symptoms of the “flu” are not caused by influenza virus but by a variety of noninfluenza viruses, bacteria, other infectious organisms, or even noninfectious conditions. According to the CDC, only about 20% of the cases of ILI are actually caused by the influenza virus. If this is true, then theoretically only 20% of all cases of ILI are preventable by influenza vaccination, and only when there is a perfect antigenic match between the vaccine strain and the circulating virus. Furthermore, even a perfect antigenic match does not guarantee an adequate antibody titer, nor does measurable antibody assure protection.”
• A Cochrane analysis of 50 studies (15 of which were industry funded) demonstrated that in the likely event that the included strains did not match circulating virus, there was a 2% incidence in the unvaccinated vs a 1% incidence in the vaccinated population of presumed influenza. There was no effect of vaccination on hospitalizations of complications. This review also discusses concerning signal for incidence of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (autoimmune paralysis).

• Pregnant patients are not at higher risk, do not die more frequently or suffer more complications from influenza. Ayoub and Yazbak dispute the two non-rigorous studies that are the basis for the claim that pregnant women suffer impaired immunity. Additionally, based on this study of 250,000 pregnant women in Australia and New Zealand, only 0.03% were admitted to the ICU for H1N1 complications and there is suspicion that obesity was the underlying driver of these complications.
• Analysis of CDC statistics reveals that there is 0-1 death per year of identified influenza in reproductive age women from 1997-2002. By comparison, vaccine-induced Guillain-Barre incidence is estimated at 20-40 annually.

• Documented risks of vaccination as sanctioned by a neat little government table include vasculitis, seizure, encephalomyelitis, facial palsy, facial paresis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, hypoesthesia, myelitis, neuritis, neuropathy, paresthesia.

• Common side effects include symptoms like fatigue, fever, body and headaches (aka…the flu!) In the pregnant population, the largest conducted assessment of 49, 585 pregnant women in the Kaiser Permanente Healthcare System over 5 flu seasons demonstrated that no deaths occurred from influenza in the vaccinated or unvaccinated population, and that even in an “at risk” asthma subpopulation, vaccination did nothing to minimize hospitalizations, as the only admissions (0.018%) were for pneumonia.
Two wonderful posts on this subject explore the applicability of this study to decision-making for the pregnant woman – Aviva Romm MD, holistic women’s health practitioner and Jennifer Margulis PhD, investigative journalist and women’s health advocate.
So, if we do not know true incidence because we are lumping pneumonia with presumed influenza and typically confirming neither by standardized diagnosis, we have evidence of inefficacy through Cochrane, through Kaiser, and even here at the Lancet where they admit that efficacy was “moderate”, “variable”, “reduced”, or “absent” depending on the season, then at what cost are we administering this intervention? Well, I’m just going to go ahead and assume that if there were even a one in a billion chance of life long paralysis or death, most people would take their chances with a week of the flu instead. And these are obvious adverse events.
Perhaps the most concerning study I came across implicated the influenza vaccination in a strong inflammatory response in the pregnant woman. Here, the investigators identified significantly elevated CRP two days after vaccination and a similar (but non-significant) pattern for TNF-alpha. They address the notion of vulnerable subgroups as being more important than generalizable findings. For example, the most depressed women at the time of vaccination exhibited an increased inflammatory response to vaccination – suggestive of inflammatory priming by the depressed state or an impairment of the inflammatory attenuation that is typical of a pregnant state. I study and lecture nationally about the inflammatory underpinnings of antepartum and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. Inflammation in pregnancy is something I am not interested in actively promoting. If a woman’s real risk of developing severe flu is vanishingly remote, comparing that to active exposure to a CRP and IL6 elevating injection approximates malpractice.

This immune activation has been implicated, not only in development of postpartum depression, but in abnormal child behavioral development including autism and schizophrenia. IL6, the very cytokine that was specifically raised by the flu vaccine, is the one that has been implicated in rodents in abnormal behavior in offspring. In this study, the H1N1 vaccine (a popular version since 2009) was found to induce oxidative stress (the driving force behind every chronic disease we now struggle with as a population). In a study by Munoz et al intended to affirm the safety record of influenza vaccines in the pregnant population, careful review of the results indicates that infants who died after birth were not included in the statistical analysis that determined there was no risk to offspring, and vaccinated women suffered higher rates of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and hypertension (all inflammatory in nature).
Maternal infections may promote a similar (or worse depending on biochemical individuality) inflammatory response and have been associated with the development of schizophrenia and cerebral palsy in children exposed in utero, but if the vaccine is not only ineffective at preventing infection, but promotes its own inflammatory response, and potentially other acute and long-term adverse effects, what are we doing here?

As Ayoub and Yazbak conclude: “Because the benefits of influenza vaccination during pregnancy appear lacking, a safety-benefit analysis should not tolerate any risk to vaccine recipients or their offspring, even at a theoretical level.”
I couldn’t agree more.
A red flag was also raised for me, this past flu season when I received a Department of Health advisory in my inbox that stated that pregnant woman may be given thimerosol containing immunizations in the setting of a thimerosol-free vaccine shortage. Tough to make sense of the prohibition of tuna, but the injection of 25 mcg of ethylmercury (the EPA’s allowable limit is 0.1ug/kg/day which is far exceeded by this amount in an average weight female) into the tissue of a woman growing a fetus. Especially when the only primate study that has ever been done on vaccines demonstrates that injection of neonates with thimerosol resulted in definitive abnormal neurodevelopment in these animals.
Mercury has been dubbed the most toxic element on the face of the earth. Any agency that sanctions its active delivery to the most vulnerable in our race is not one I plan to follow blindly. I encourage my patients to do their own homework on all of the exposures that their bodies encounter. My homework on this one left me thrilled that I know of other ways to promote immunity and resilience, and have never had the flu in my life despite more than 13 years of hospital exposure and 4 years of parenting. Sleep, stress-management, whole, colorful, and fermented foods, garlic, ginger, vitamin C, sunshine (or NYer’s sunshine – vitamin D3), a high quality multivitamin/mineral to compensate for any nutrients lost in transit and used up in managing toxic exposures. There’s a better way.

This better way embraces periodic sickness as part of comprehensive wellness. The only way to truly protect ourselves and our infants is through natural immunity bolstered by wild-type exposure in the community. Once you have a particular flu strain, when it comes around again, you will be uniquely protected, and you will pass on this protection to your newborn. There is no replacement for this. We cannot outsource our health to pharmaceutical companies. They just don’t know what health is.
~Kelly Brogan, MD

Dr. Brogan is allopathically and holistically trained in the care of women at all stages of the reproductive cycle experiencing mood and anxiety symptoms, including premenstrual dysphoria (PMDD), pregnancy and postpartum symptomatology, as well as menopause-related illness.
You can learn more about Dr. Brogan at www.kellybroganmd.com, and connect with her on Facebook,
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – What Makes My Hands Numb?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) sufferers frequently report a cluster of symptoms, but almost all have one symptom in common – numbness, usually in digits 2-4 on palm-side of the hand. CTS is usually attributed to an over-use type of injury such as repetitive work including (but not limited to): typing, assembly work, packaging jobs, machine operators, and many more. Last month, we discussed CTS “Facts” and learned many important points about CTS. This month’s focus centers around the common question, “….where is this numbness coming from?”

To answer this, let’s review the anatomy: The carpal tunnel is made up of 8 small “carpal bones” that form an arch or tunnel, and the base of the tunnel is formed from the transverse carpal ligament. There are nine tendons that attach muscles in the forearm to each finger and work when we grip or form a fist with our hand. Wiggle your fingers and look at your wrist and forearm – do you see all the activity or movement going on?

The tendons travel through sheaths which help lubricate the sliding tendons. When we move our fingers fast (such as typing, playing piano, performing assembly work, etc.), friction and heat builds up, resulting in swelling. If adequate rest does not occur, the increased pressure from the swollen tendons end up squeezing all the contents within the tunnel, which includes the median nerve. It’s the median nerve pinch that results in the numbness, tingling, and/or pain into the index, third and forth fingers.

There are other conditions that can either complicate or cause CTS. These include: hypothyroid disease (due to myxedema), diabetes (due to neuropathy), inflammatory arthritis (of which there are several kinds – rheumatoid is the most common), and pinching of the nerve either in the neck, shoulder, elbow or forearm (called double or multiple crush syndrome).

The reason chiropractic helps so much is that we can alleviate the pressure on the nerve from the neck down to the wrist and restore nerve function. This alleviates the multiple sleep interruptions, weakness in the grip that is so common, as well as helping to restore the nerve’s function. Many studies support the success of chiropractic and CTS – try it first as surgery should be the last resort.

We realize you have a choice in who you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend or family member require care for CTS, we would be honored to render our services.

Does Neck Surgery Improve Long-Term Outcomes?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

How many times have you heard, “I have a pinched nerve in my neck and have to have surgery.” Though there certainly are cases where surgical intervention is required, surgery should ONLY be considered after ALL non-surgical treatment approaches have been tried first (and failed). It is alarming how many cases of cervical radiculopathy (i.e., “pinched nerve”) end up being surgically treated with NO trial of non-surgical care. Hence, the focus of this month’s article will look at research (“MEDICAL EVIDENCE”) that clearly states neck surgery DOES NOT improve the long term outcomes of patients with chronic neck pain.

Chronic neck pain (CNP) is, by definition, neck pain that has been present for a minimum of three months. This category of neck pain is very well represented, as many neck pain sufferers have had neck pain, “…for years” or, at least longer than three months. Depending on the intensity of pain and it’s effect on daily function, many patients with CNP often ask their primary care provider, “…is there anything surgically that can be done?” The desire for a “quick fix” is often the focus of those suffering with neck pain. Unfortunately, according to recent studies, there may not be a “quick fix” or, at least surgery is NOT the answer. The December 2012 issue of The European Spine Journal reports that spine surgery did NOT improve outcomes for patients with CNP. Moreover, they pointed to other studies that showed some VERY STRONG REASONS NOT to have spine surgery unless everything else has failed. One of the reasons was a higher hospital readmission rate after spine surgery. Another reported that most studies on surgical vs. conservative [non-surgical] care showed a high risk of bias, suggesting the research on surgical intervention was biased in the research approach used. They further reported, “The benefit of surgery over conservative care is not clearly demonstrated.” It is important to point out that the research analyzed studies that included patients with and without radiculopathy (radiating arm pain from a pinched nerve), and myelopathy (those with pinching of the spinal cord creating pain, numbness, weakness in the legs, and/or bowel / bladder dysfunction).

In February of 2008, the Neck Pain Task Force published overwhelming evidence that research supports the use of cervical spinal manipulation in the treatment of both acute and chronic neck pain with or without radiculopathy. Bronfort published similar findings in 2010 in a large UK based study that looked at the published evidence supporting different types of treatment for various conditions. They found cervical spine manipulation was effective for neck pain of ANY duration (acute or chronic). Chiropractic utilizes manipulation, manual traction, mobilization, muscle release techniques, home cervical traction, exercise, as well as a multitude of physiotherapy modalities when managing patients with CNP. Given the overwhelming research evidence that surgical intervention for CNP is NOT any better than non-surgical care, the greater amount of negative side-effects, and the obviously long recovery time post-surgically, chiropractic treatment of anyone suffering from CNP should be tried FIRST.

We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for neck pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Low Back Pain and Travel Tips

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Low back pain (LBP) is a common complaint when it comes to traveling, whether it’s in a car, bus, train or airplane. Traveling is hard on our joints, muscles and nerves for many reasons. Traveling requires us to do something our bodies are not used to, such as prolonged sitting in a cramped area. Remember the last time you had the middle seat on a plane? Also, unless you have a very unique exercise routine, injuries commonly occur from hoisting carry-ons into overhead bins or yanking them off the baggage claim belt. This month’s article will offer tips about traveling and things you can do to minimize risk of irritating or creating LBP. Bon voyage!

If no one comes to help, and you end up having to complete this often unpleasant task yourself, think before you lift. Break the lift into small movements or actions. For example, when placing your carry-on into an overhead bin, keep the luggage close to your body since the farther away from your body you hold the bag, the heavier it becomes to your lower back (up to 10x the load!). Try this method: 1st lift the bag to the arm of the seat that lies below the overhead bin; next lift it to the top of the seat back top; and then (the hard part), squat down, arch your low back, grip the bag, and in a smooth continuous movement, raise the bag up and onto the edge of the overhead bin. At that point, wiggle it in the rest of the way. Another important point about lifting is to try to avoid twisting, ESPECIALLY if combined with bending. A bend / twist combination is often the cause of a low back injury. Try to pivot your feet to move your body to avoid your back from twisting.
There are MANY other traveling tips that we have not yet discussed. Look forward to next month’s Health Update for LBP for more!

We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Muscle Spasms

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

A muscle spasm occurs when involuntary movement of a muscle leads to that muscle tightening and shortening. This action creates discomfort for the individual that often subsides after a heightened period of intense pain during the duration of the spasm.

Causes of Muscle Spasms

Muscle spasms, frequent or infrequent, can be caused by many factors. Some causes include the following: muscle injuries, strokes, neurological issues, nervous system problems and other muscle disorders.

Also contributing to the occurrence and frequency of muscle spasms, may be an electrolyte imbalance such as low salt and potassium levels in the body. Several factors contribute to this including dehydration or maintaining a diet that fails to provide the needed electrolytes.

How Muscle Spasms Cause Back Pain

Back pain may be directly connected to muscle spasms because of a spinal condition caused by one of the above factors. An individual with a spinal condition frequently experiences discomfort and pain in other parts of the body.

Chiropractic Care May Cure Muscle Spasms

A chiropractor identifies spinal conditions that contribute to nerve and muscle problems interfering with optimal functioning of the muscles of the skeleton. Once identified, a chiropractor performs a spinal adjustment to relieve stress from the following areas of the body which may be contributing to muscle spasms:

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Muscles

Tendons

Ligaments

Other soft tissue

Bones

Joints

After a spinal adjustment, individuals experience the benefits through the following:

Improved posture

Better balance

Less stress on the joints of the body

Easier movements and improved range of motion

Elimination of muscle discomfort

Improved nervous system functioning

Improved circulation

Decrease in frequency and intensity of muscle spasms

Chiropractic Care Prevents Future Back Pain

With a spinal adjustment, not only are the above benefits immediately felt, an individual can also expect an improvement in his or her overall feelings of wellness. Ongoing visits with a chiropractor will ensure that proper spine alignment is maintained and that the body is free of the stress-related factors impacting the spine that cause muscle discomfort and other body pains.

Maintain Proper Spine Alignment and Good Health

Visit the chiropractic office of Dr. David Lewis in San Mateo to treat muscle spasms associated with spinal conditions. The benefits of proper treatment extend far beyond physical comfort; individuals experience an increased sense of wellbeing and overall, good health.