Are you risking heart problems by taking ibuprofen?

Taking drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin could increase your risk of a heart condition  known as atrial fibrillation, according to recent research. Atrial fibrillation or flutter is a condition in which the heart beats irregularly or quickly. People with atrial fibrillation have an increased risk of stroke, heart failure, and mortality. Many patients with chronic pain use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. But previous research suggests that several of these drugs may pose cardiovascular and renal risks. To evaluate the safety of several drugs, researchers surveyed 32,602 patients with atrial fibrillation or flutter and 325,918 healthy patients. Participants who regularly took NSAIDs had an increased risk of atrial fibrillation. New users of the drug were 40-70% more likely to have atrial fibrillation than non-users. (Percentages varied based on the drug).  Patients with chronic kidney disease or rheumatoid arthritis had elevated risk levels but older patients had the highest risk of all.The researchers wrote that older patients "are of special concern because the prevalence of use of NSAIDs and the incidence of atrial fibrillation increase with age." With millions of chronic-pain patients regularly taking NSAIDs, this research could have "major clinical and public health implications." Patients with chronic pain may benefit from employing a safe, non-drug method of managing pain. Treatments like chiropractic reduce pain naturally by addressing the root of chronic pain rather than just alleviating the symptoms. ReferenceSchmidt M, Christiansen C, Mehnert F, Rothman K, and Sørensen HT. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and risk of atrial fibrillation or flutter: population based case-control study. BMJ 2011; 343: doi: 10.1136/bmj.d3450.



Pain Relief through Strength Training

Does computer time take its toll on your neck and shoulders? A new study shows that office workers can find relief from chronic pain through strength training. The study included 42 women who had been diagnosed with trapezius myalgia, or chronic pain in the trapezius. This muscle forms a triangle between the neck, shoulders, and upper back, and is a common source of neck and shoulder pain in office workers. Each of the women in the study did physically repetitive work in an office setting. The women were randomly assigned to one of three groups: "    The first group performed strength training exercises for 20 minutes, three times a week. Each session included three out of five high-intensity exercises designed specifically for the neck and shoulder muscles."    The second group did leg bicycling for 20 minutes, three times a week. They used stationary bicycles, and allowed their arms to hang relaxed at their sides."    The third group were given counseling on "workplace ergonomics, diet, health, relaxation, and stress management for a total of (one hour) per week but were not offered any physical training." Researchers took detailed measurements of the women's muscle strength at the beginning and end of the study, and recorded their levels of neck pain on a weekly basis. Though all of the women continued their office work throughout the trial period, the women who performed strength exercises reported a 79% reduction in the intensity of their pain. The women in the second and third groups reported no significant pain relief. This study offers strength training as another non-invasive tool for chiropractors, and provides hope for patients who find computer work an inescapable part of daily life. ReferenceAndersen LL, Andersen JL, Suetta C, Kjaer M, Søgaard K, Sjøgaard G. Effect of contrasting physical exercise interventions on rapid force capacity of chronically painful muscles.J Appl Physiol. 2009 Nov;107(5):1413-9. Epub 2009 Sep 17. 



Chiropractic BoostsImmunity

We've known for decades that chiropractic is a great way to treat musculoskeletal pain. Now researchers are starting to investigate the other ways that chiropractic can improve general health. A recent study found that chiropractic can boost the function of the immune system, even in patients without pain.Researchers from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College investigated the effect of chiropractic on interleukin-2, a protein that controls immune responses. They examined 74 test subjects with no current pain symptoms. The subjects were randomly assigned to three treatment groups to receive either a control treatment or two types of chiropractic adjustments. All treatments were administered on a single day, and blood samples were collected before each treatment, 20 minutes and two hours after treatment.The blood samples were compared to see if there was any increase in the levels of certain antibodies: induced immunoglobin G (IgG) and immunoglobin M (IgM). These two antibodies generally appear in the blood in response to an infection, and they are powerful parts of the immune system.The researchers found that subjects treated with chiropractic had significantly increased levels of IgG and IgM within 20 minutes after the session. After two hours, these patients had significantly elevated IgM levels compared to baseline and the control group. These findings suggest that chiropractic can have what they call a "priming" effect on the body's immune response, possibly resulting in faster response to new infections. This research provides compelling evidence that chiropractic may affect the functioning of the body's immune system and assist in improving overall health. ReferenceTeodorczyk-Injeyan JA, McGregor M, Ruegg R, Injeyan HS. Interleukin 2-regulated in vitro antibody production following a single spinal manipulative treatment in normal subjects. Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2010, 18:26



Is Seeing a Chiropractor During Pregnancy Safe?

Low back pain can be a serious problem during pregnancy: studies show that over half of women report back pain at some point during pregnancy. Furthermore, as a new study explains, many women experience their first episode of back pain during pregnancy: "The incidence of low back pain with an onset during pregnancy has been reported to be 61%. It has been shown that among women with low back pain of pregnancy, 75% reported no low back pain before pregnancy. In a study of women with chronic low back pain, up to 28% stated that their first episode of back pain occurred during a pregnancy." In this report, the authors studied 17 women with low back pain lasting an average of 21.7 days. The intensity of the back pain was 5.9 on a 1-10 scale, and the onset of pain occurred at 20.6 weeks into the pregnancy. Each study participant was treated according to the particular symptoms that the patient was experiencing. The authors reported the following: "    About half of the women were self-referred, and the other half were referred by their obstetrician."    The average time to reach clinically significant pain relief was 4.5 days, while the range was from 0 to 13 days after the initial treatment."    The average number of treatments necessary to reach clinically relevant pain relief was 1.8."    The pain levels decreased from the 5.9 at the beginning of the study to 1.5 at the end."    The patients received between 3 to 15 treatments, with the average being 5.6."    One patient did not experience clinically significant pain reduction."    There were no adverse reactions reported by any of the patients. Low back pain during pregnancy may not seem like a serious problem, but it can have adverse affects on the woman's health, as the authors explain: "In most instances, the average pain level is moderate, but severe pain has been reported in 15% of cases. Pain intensity often increases with duration and can result in significant disability. Sleep disturbances have been reported by 49% to 58% of women and impaired daily living by 57% in women with low back pain of pregnancy. "Despite the apparent impact it has on women, many cases of low back pain of pregnancy go unreported to prenatal providers and/or untreated.  (One study) found that just 32% of women reported their low back pain of pregnancy to their prenatal providers, and just 25% of these providers recommended a treatment.  (A separate study) found that among women with low back pain of pregnancy, 80% thought that their providers had not offered treatment for their back pain." This study shows that chiropractic effectively reduced pain from low back pain during pregnancy, without any adverse effects.



Easy Way toEase Stress

It's well-known that chiropractic is effective for a variety of pain conditions, but over the last few years, more and more studies have found that chiropractic can also help us improve our overall health. Some of these recent studies have shown that chiropractic can boost our immune system, affect heart rate, and even reduce blood pressure. In a 2011 study from Japan, researchers discovered that chiropractic directly affects the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is the part of your central nervous system that automatically controls functions like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and immunity. In this study, the researchers performed a PET scan on 12 men with neck pain before and after a chiropractic adjustment. PET scans allow scientists to track brain activity. Using the PET scans, researchers detected altered brain activity in the parts of the brain responsible for pain processing and stress reactions. The researchers also measured salivary cortisole, a hormone that indicates stress levels. After the adjustments, the patients had significantly lower levels of this stress hormone. This study demonstrates that chiropractic adjustments positively influence the central nervous system, causing a reduction in pain and muscle tone. Even more importantly, this study shows that chiropractic can also enhance your body's response to stress, helping to improve your overall health and boosting your immunity. As we learn more about the human body and the role of the nervous system, it's clear that chiropractic can play a powerful role in promoting true wellness, rather than just symptom relief.



Chiropractic Helps Woman With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

In today's tech-heavy world, there are a number of activities putting significant stress on our wrists and arms. Texting, typing, and surfing the web have taken a toll on our bodies as an increasing number of people suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.  Fortunately, new research confirms the efficacy of chiropractic treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. In a published case study, a 47 year-old woman worked at a computer all day entering data. When she noticed significant weakness, pain, and disability in her wrists, she visited her doctor. She had developed carpal tunnel syndrome and cysts in her wrists. For two years, she tried numerous treatment methods, including wearing a splint and surgery, but nothing seemed to work. The authors of the study created a new treatment plan that included chiropractic adjustments, soft-tissue therapies, and exercises. After three months, the patient's pain had dropped significantly, and the tingling and numbness had disappeared completely. She also had major improvements in wrist strength and range of motion. Although the woman was permanently impaired, multifaceted, chiropractic treatment alleviated many of her symptoms. This lead researchers to conclude that her treatment was successful. Chiropractic adjustments can help carpal tunnel syndrome by relieving the compression of nerves in the neck and arm that can cause pain. Your chiropractor can also work to relax muscles and reduce inflammation, and can prescribe exercises and stretches that can strengthen the muscles, decrease disability, and promote healing. Don't let carpal tunnel syndrome interfere with your life. Contact a chiropractic office to see if they can help.