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Health-E-News. December 2010
empowering you to optimal health


Study Finds that Starting with Chiropractic Saves 40% on Low Back Pain Care

A new study finds that low back pain care initiated with a doctor of chiropractic (DC) saves 40 percent on health care costs when compared with care initiated through a medical doctor (MD), the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) announced today. The study, featuring data from 85,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield beneficiaries, concludes that insurance companies that restrict access to chiropractic care for low back pain treatment may inadvertently pay more for care than they would if they removed such restrictions.

Low back pain is a significant public health problem. Up to 85 percent of Americans have back pain at some point in their lives. In addition to its negative effects on employee productivity, back pain treatment accounts for about $50 billion annually in health care costs—making it one of the top 10 most costly conditions treated in the United States.

The study, “Cost of Care for Common Back Pain Conditions Initiated With Chiropractic Doctor vs. Medical Doctor/Doctor of Osteopathy as First Physician: Experience of One Tennessee-Based General Health Insurer,” which is available online and will also be published in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, looked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee’s intermediate and large group fully insured population over a two-year span. The insured study population had open access to MDs and DCs through self-referral, and there were no limits applied to the number of MD/DC visits allowed and no differences in co-pays.

Results show that paid costs for episodes of care initiated by a DC were almost 40 percent less than care initiated through an MD. After risk-adjusting each patient’s costs, researchers still found significant savings in the chiropractic group. They estimated that allowing DC-initiated episodes of care would have led to an annual cost savings of $2.3 million for BCBS of Tennessee.

“As doctors of chiropractic, we know firsthand that our care often helps patients avoid or reduce more costly interventions such as drugs and surgery. This study supports what we see in our practices every day,” said ACA President Rick McMichael, DC. “It also demonstrates the value of chiropractic care at a critical time, when our nation is attempting to reform its health care system and contain runaway costs.”

Source: American Chiropractic Association


Understanding Wellness

The term "improved function" has been used by Chiropractors for years to help patients understand the benefits of chiropractic care and the role it plays in true wellness. The body is made up of muscles, organs and glands that are controlled by the nervous system, and the nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord and nerves.

The brain sends signals down the spine and to the nerves, which tell the heart to beat, the lungs to breathe, the stomach to digest, the glands to produce necessary hormones, and so on. It's when the signals don't get from the spinal cord to the nerves and then from the nerves to the muscles, organs and glands that the body begins to lose proper function and symptoms begin to occur.

Mainstream medicine doesn't recognize these symptoms as simple alerts from the body that there's something amiss, but instead as something that must be eliminated through chemicals or pharmaceuticals. They don't seek wellness, but rather a lack of symptoms.

The biggest difference between mainstream medicine and wellness care is just that: medicine. Today's medical professionals treat symptoms instead of the cause of the problem. The bigger problem lies with the fact that the medicines usually begin to create their own list of symptoms that must be treated with more medicines. It's a domino effect leading not to health and wellness, but to illness and dependence.

True wellness is all about your body functioning at it's optimal level. When that happens your body needs no drugs or surgery. Along with Chiropractic adjustments, true wellness comes with good nutrition, and a positive attitude.

Now that you understand wellness, start doing something to ensure you can enjoy it.

Talk to us to learn more about true wellness care.


Travel the Road to Longevity

Harvard scientists have observed that the shortest-living Americans are Native American populations in South Dakota, living an average life span of 66.5 years, whereas the longest-living Americans are Asian-American women residing in Bergen County, N.J., who live to an average life span of 91.1 years. That's a nearly 25-year difference! Just think about what you could do with 25 "extra" years, particularly if you could enjoy them with sound body and mind. Here's what science says about the best ways to stay healthy, active and vital into your older years.

  1. Choose Wisely. A study that followed 20,000 men and women, ages 45 to 79, for 13 years found that poor lifestyle choices can shorten life span by as many as 14 years. The researchers found that study subjects with the lowest number of healthy behaviors were four-times more likely to die during the study period, most notably from cardiovascular disease. In fact, participants with the lowest healthy lifestyle scores had the same risk of dying as someone with the highest healthy lifestyle scores who was 14 years older.
  2. Why Risk It? Adding support to the above, a study of 23,153 German men and women, ages 35 to 65 years, found that four lifestyle factors slashed the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer by 80 percent: never smoking, body mass index of 30 or less, exercising 3.5 hours a week, and eating a healthy diet. The study authors concluded: "The message is clear. Adhering to 4 simple healthy lifestyle factors can have a strong impact on the prevention of chronic diseases."
  3. Don't Weight Around. A 12-year study involving more than 11,000 adult participants found that underweight people were 70 percent more likely to die during the study period compared to people of normal weight, and that the extremely obese had a 36 percent increased risk of death compared to their healthier counterparts. Interestingly, carrying a few extra pounds was found to be protective against early death; modestly overweight subjects were 17 percent less likely to die early, suggesting that when it comes to weight, eating habits, etc., moderation may be the key.

As you can see, staying as healthy as possible for as long as possible and enjoying your golden years, rather than being weighed down by illness and disease, is in large part up to you and the choices you make now, regardless of age. The practical choices we make on an everyday basis are what help us achieve living an extended healthy life span. Take a little time and evaluate your current health. Small, progressive changes can make a big difference in how long you live and the quality of life you enjoy.


Exposure To Dim Light At Night Linked With Depression

Here’s yet another reason not to fall asleep with the television on: New research shows that exposure to even dim light at night is enough to cause brain changes associated with depression. These findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego.

As part of the study female hamsters were exposed to dim light every night for eight weeks. After this period, the hamsters were tested for depressive-like behaviors, such as changes in appetite. These behaviors had increased significantly. The scientists also found significant changes the hippocampus, which are linked with depression.

“Even dim light at night is sufficient to provoke depressive-like behaviors in hamsters, which may be explained by the changes we saw in their brains after eight weeks of exposure,” says study co-author, Tracy Bedrosian.

“You would expect to see an impact if we were blasting these hamsters with bright lights, but this was a very low level, something that most people could easily encounter every night,” adds co-author Randy Nelson.

How is light at night causing the changes in the hippocampus? The researchers believe it is related to production of the hormone melatonin.

OhioStateUniversity – November 12, 2010.


Skipping Breakfast Over Long-Term Bad For The Heart

Skipping breakfast may be bad for your heart, finds a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

According to the study, “in 1985, a national sample of 9–15-y-old Australian children reported whether they usually ate breakfast before school. During follow-up in 2004–2006, 2184 participants (26–36 years of age) completed a meal-frequency chart for the previous day.”

Findings demonstrated that participants who skipped breakfast in both childhood and adulthood had a larger waist circumference, higher fasting insulin, higher total cholesterol and higher LDL cholesterol, compared with individuals who did not skip breakfast at both points in time.

Skipping breakfast over a long period may have detrimental effects on cardiometabolic health, conclude the study’s authors. “Promoting the benefits of eating breakfast could be a simple and important public health message.”

AJCN – December 2010;92:1316-25.


Chiropractic In The News - An Interview with Brigadier General Becky Halstead


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