Posts for: April, 2015
A Poor Choice for Relieving Your Low Back Pain
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
But for the sake of discussion, let's ignore the safety issues for a moment. Is acetaminophen an effective pain reliever in the first place? Not for low back pain and pain attributable to knee / hip osteoarthritis, conclude the authors of a recent meta-analysis. The just-published review of 13 randomized trials has yielded "high-quality evidence" that paracetamol (acetaminophen) does not reduce pain intensity or disability, and does not improve quality of life, in the short term for people experiencing LBP; and provides only "minimal, short-term benefit" for people suffering from hip or knee pain caused by OA, stating that "the small effects ... are not likely to be meaningful for clinicians or patients."
Back to the safety issues surrounding acetaminophen, which the meta-analysis did little to dilute. According to the review researchers, "high-quality" evidence suggests paracetamol use results in a fourfold risk of an abnormal liver function test. Not surprising, since acetaminophen misuse (overdose) is now the most common cause of acute liver failure (exceeding all other medications combined) and the second most common cause of liver failure requiring transplantation.
In fact, the FDA has mandated that all acetaminophen-containing prescription products feature a "black box" warning (the administration's strongest safety statement) noting an overdose can cause liver failure and even death; and have been urged to place similar language on OTC acetaminophen products.
How often do you use acetaminophen-containing over-the-counter and/or prescription medications for you LBP and OA pain, even as you pursue relief through chiropractic care? How often do you take these drugs for your spinal / OA pain insteadof visiting a chiropractor? As this meta-analysis suggests, acetaminophen is ineffective for these types of pain. So give chiropractic a try – a provennatural pain reliever.
- Machado GC, et al. Efficacy and safety of paracetamol for spinal pain and osteoarthritis: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised, placebo-controlled trials. Brit Med J, 2015;350. Full text available online.
- Dal Pan GJ. "Acetaminophen: Background and Overview." FDA Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, June 29, 2009.
- Greenlaw E. "Your Guide to Over-the Counter Pain Relief. OTC Pain Relief: Understanding Acetaminophen." WebMD.com.
- Healy M. "Acetaminophen in Rx Drugs: For Liver's Sake, Lower the Dose." Los Angeles Times, April 28, 2014.
- Gerth J, Miller TC. "Use Only as Directed." ProPublica, Sept. 20, 2013.
It's all parents can do these days to keep their overstimulated, technology-crazed children from spending all day on their smartphones, laptops, tablets and video game consoles.
Case in point: A recent study of teens (12-16 years old) found that "compared with those using the computer less than 3.6 hours / week, computer use of ≥ 14 hours / week was associated with moderate/severe increase in computer-associated musculoskeletal pain at all anatomic sites, and moderate / severe inconvenience to everyday life due to low back and head pain."
You might think that 14 hours a week or more of computer use is a little extreme, but not if you consider that's only two hours a day. Teens in particular likely spend that much, if not much more, on a computer every day, whether doing homework or browsing the Internet.
Solving the problem involves several strategies:
- Limit screen time whenever possible, or at least limit the amount of time your teen spends on the computer at any given stretch.
- Speaking of stretching, teach them to take breaks every 1/2 hour or so to stretch and ensure they haven't been sitting in one position for too long.
- Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about the best ways to minimize injury risk. Your chiropractor can give you and your teen advice on proper posture and other tips for avoiding pain in the Age of Technology.
Massage therapy appointments are available today! First massage at our office is only $50. Call 466-9945 ASAP to schedule.
Have you missed work due to back pain? You're not alone, according to the American Chiropractic Association; back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed days of work. However, several studies suggest vitamin D can help combat the pain.
One such study, published in the journal Pain Treatment Topics, found people with chronic musculoskeletal back pain had insufficient levels of vitamin D. However, when patients increased their intake of vitamin D, their pain decreased, and in some cases disappeared.
Experts involved in this study say vitamin D may be beneficial for pain because of its role in calcium absorption. Insufficient vitamin D / calcium absorption may cause bones to soften, leading to a condition known as ostomalacia (not to be confused with osteoporosis). As the Mayo Clinic explains, "Osteomalacia results from a defect in the bone-building process, while osteoporosis develops due to a weakening of previously constructed bone." However, it's important to note that insufficiencies in vitamin D / calcium can contribute to both conditions.
Talk with your doctor for a recommendation on how much vitamin D you need to sustain healthy levels. Here are some suggestions on ways to increase vitamin D – supplements, healthy sun exposure (always wear sunblock) and vitamin D-rich foods. WebMD suggests these foods can help provide vitamin D:
Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
- Foods fortified with vitamin D, such as some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
For more information about the benefits of vitamin D, click here.
Are You Suffering From the #1 Cause of Worldwide Disability?
Are you suffering from back or neck pain? You're definitely not alone, and we mean on a global scale. A series of studies emerging from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Project, a massive collaboration between the World Health Organization, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the University of Queensland School of Population Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the University of Tokyo, Imperial College London, clarifies the worldwide health burden of musculoskeletal conditions, particularly back and neck pain, in crystal-clear fashion, with low back pain identified as the number-one cause of disability worldwide andneck pain the number-four cause. Overall, musculoskeletal conditions represent the second leading cause of global disability
Findings emphasize the shift in global health that has resulted from disability making an increasingly larger footprint on the burden of disease compared to a mere 20-30 years ago. In addition, while more people are living longer, the flip side is that they do so with an increasing risk of living with the burden of pain, disability and disease compared to generations past.
Dr. Scott Haldeman, a neurologist and doctor of chiropractic, provides a summary of the project's findings that should make it abundantly clear that conditions many people may consider relatively harmless actually have tremendous potential for long-term health consequences:
- Musculoskeletal conditions such as low back pain, neck pain and arthritis affect more than 1.7 billion people worldwide and have a greater impact on the health of the world population (death and disability) than HIV/AIDS, tropical diseases including malaria, the forces of war and nature, and all neurological conditions combined.
- When considering death and disability in the health equation, musculoskeletal disorders cause 21.3 percent of all years lived with disability (YLDs), second only to mental and behavioral disorders, which account for 22.7 percent of YLDs.
- Musculoskeletal conditions represent the sixth leading cause of death and disability, with only cardiovascular and circulatory diseases, neonatal diseases, neoplasms, and mental and behavorial disorders accounting for more death and disability worldwide.
- Low back pain is the most dominant musculoskeletal condition, accounting for nearly one-half of all musculoskeletal YLDs. Neck pain accounts for one-fifth of musculoskeletal YLDs.
- Low back pain is the sixth most important contributor to the global disease burden (death and disability), and has a greater impact on global health than malaria, preterm birth complications, COPD, tuberculosis, diabetes or lung cancer.
- When combined with neck pain (21st most important contributor to the global disease burden – death and disability), painful spinal disorders are second only to ischemic heart disease in terms of their impact on the global burden of disease. Spinal disorders have a greater impact than HIV/AIDS, malaria, lower respiratory infections, stroke, breast and lung cancer combined, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, depression or traffic injuries.
- Current estimates suggest that 632.045 million people worldwide suffer from low back pain and 332.049 million people worldwide suffer from neck pain.
"The Global Burden of Disease Study provides indisputable evidence that musculoskeletal conditions are an enormous and emerging problem in all parts of the world and need to be given the same priority for policy and resources as other major conditions like cancer, mental health and cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Haldeman.
The seven studies from Global Burden of Disease 2010, as well as accompanying commentaries, appear in The Lancet. To review the studies and all relevant material, click here. And by the way, when it comes to preventing and treating musculoskeletal issues, particularly back and neck pain,chiropractic care has been shown in numerous research studies to be an effective conservative option.