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Oakland Spine News

Weekly Health Update: Chiropractic is Very Popular!

Chiropractic: Very Popular!
Patient surveys show that chiropractors are used more often than any other alternative provider group, and patient satisfaction with chiropractic care is very high. According to a 1997 survey, the number of Americans utilizing chiropractic care tripled from 1980-1997.
Annals of Internal Medicine, 2002

Mental Attitude: Music and Pain.
A research trial involving 42 children (ages 3-11) found that those who listened to music during unpleasant procedures (such as administering an IV) experienced lower perceived pain levels and less discomfort.
JAMA Pediatrics, July 2013

Health Alert: Brain’s Motivation Blunted!
Long-term cannabis users tend to produce less dopamine, a chemical in the brain linked to motivation. Dopamine levels in a part of the brain called the striatum were lower in people who regularly smoke cannabis, especially those who began taking the drug at a younger age. This explains why some cannabis users appear to lack motivation to work or pursue their normal interests. The lowest dopamine levels were seen in users who met diagnostic criteria for cannabis abuse or dependence, raising the possibility that this measure could provide a marker of addiction severity.
Biological Psychiatry, July 2013

Diet: The Gut and Autism?
Autism rates have risen over recent years. Heightened awareness and more diligent efforts at diagnosis account for some of the increase, yet researchers believe an epidemic is occurring. One possible factor is the overuse of antibiotics at an early age. This lowers the diversity of the gut microflora and lower diversity of gut microbes is positively correlated with the presence of autistic symptoms. Bacterial richness and diversity are essential for maintaining a robust and adaptable bacterial community capable of fighting off environmental challenges.
PLOS ONE, July 2013

Exercise: Forced Stress Relief.
It’s known that physical exercise reduces a participant’s stress and anxiety levels. Interestingly, in a study setting, people who exercised even when they didn’t want to received the same anxiety and stress reducing benefits as those who actively chose to exercise.
Journal of Neuroscience, May 2013

Wellness/Prevention: Turmeric.
Turmeric, an ingredient found in most yellow mustards, has long been known to have medicinal values. New research has found that curcumin, a substance in turmeric, provides lasting protection against potentially deadly lung damage (bronchopulmonary dysplasia) in premature infants.
American Journal of Physiology, July 2013

Weekly Health Update: Drop That Blood Pressure

Chiropractic: Drop That Blood Pressure.
Patients who had upper thoracic chiropractic adjustments showed statistically significant decreases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Placebo and control groups demonstrated no such changes.
Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics, 1988

Mental Attitude: A Happy Marriage.
People in happy marriages live less “in sickness” and enjoy more of life “in health.” Couples in positive marital relationships sustain health over the long run. Those with higher marital conflict are more likely to report poor health. The implication is that marital conflict is a risk factor for poor health. Couples who fight or frequently argue should seek professional help to reduce their conflict because it is affecting their health. Happily married spouses encourage one another to stay current on doctor’s appointments, sleep better, drink less alcohol, and participate more in healthy activities. In a happy marriage, when spouses have a bad day, they’re more likely to support each other and empathize with each other. This support reduces stress and helps buffer against a decline in health.
Journal of Marriage and Family, June 2013

Health Alert: Tobacco Control!
Tobacco control measures put in place in 41 countries between 2007 and 2010 will prevent some 7.4 million premature deaths by 2050. These policies can lead to other benefits such as fewer adverse birth outcomes related to maternal smoking (including low birth weight), reduced healthcare costs, and increased productivity due to less smoking-related disease.
World Health Organization, July 2013

Diet: Fish Oil DHA.
Chronic inflammation is a major factor in a wide range of health issues from arthritis to cardiovascular disease, and DHA (found in fish oil) is known to temper this problem. Researchers found that macrophages (a type of white blood cell) use DHA to produce “maresins,” which serve as the “switch” that turns inflammation off.
The FASEB Journal, July 2013

Exercise: Good Reasons.
Exercise improves your mood and helps to increase your overall health awareness.
Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, 1996

Wellness/Prevention: Tea Tree Oil.
Treating fungal infections of the nails (onychomycosis) with a cream containing 2% butenafine and 5% tea tree oil cured 80% of patients. Topical application of tea tree oil cream for athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) reduces the symptoms of tinea pedis as effectively as tolnaftate, an over the counter antifungal medication.
Australasian Journal of Dermatology, July 2013

Weekly Health Update: Cost Effective Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic: Cost Effectiveness.
According to a study that analyzed data from 85,000 Blue Cross / Blue Shield beneficiaries over a 2-year span, low back pain treatment initiated with a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) saved 40% on health care costs when compared with care initiated through a Medical Doctor (MD). The 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. Researchers estimated that allowing DC-initiated episodes of care would have led to an annual cost savings of $2.3 million.
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, December 2010

Mental Attitude: The Future You and Smoking.
Smokers in their early twenties who viewed a simulation of what they would look like after 20 years of smoking were more likely to have negative views of smoking and were more willing to try to quit.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, June 2013

Health Alert: Painkillers and Heart Attack!
High doses of some of the most common painkillers, including ibuprofen and diclofenac, can increase the risk of heart problems by 30%. Of all the NSAIDs analyzed, “Naproxen” didn’t appear to increase major vascular events or vascular deaths.
The Lancet, June 2013

Diet: Artificial Sweeteners?
The artificial sweetener sucralose can change the body’s insulin response. When study participants drank sucralose, their blood sugar peaked at a higher level than when they drank only water before consuming glucose. Insulin levels also rose 20% higher. This could be detrimental because when people constantly secrete high levels of insulin, it can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes Care, June 2013

Exercise: Active Commuting?
Active commuting (physical exercise, such as bicycling or walking, as a way to travel to and from work) is one way to help adults integrate activity into their daily routine. People who walk or bike to work are likely to influence their co-workers and partners to do the same. 80% of American adults do not meet government guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week.
American Journal of Health Behavior, June 2013

Wellness/Prevention: Sunscreen Use.
Daily sunscreen use slows skin aging. After a 4 year study, the daily sunscreen group showed 24% less skin aging. The skin-saving effect of sunscreen was observed in all daily-use participants, regardless of age.
Annals Of Internal Medicine, June 2013

Oakland Spine Offers Treatment Options for Spinal Stenosis

Most of us remember last summer’s scare when 14 people died after contracting spinal meningitis after infected epidural steroid injections. For weeks these stories were in the news, and as a result, medical laboratories across the country were closed down due to contaminated steroid injections sickening hundreds of people. But the question seldom asked is why did these individuals get these injections in the first place? Why are ESIs – or Epidural Spine Injections – so common, even if the risk of infection or other complications can be so high?

ESIs are commonplace procedures for people with persistent back pain, such as lumbar spinal stenosis. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 14,000 people might have received spinal injections that were potentially infected. Even prior to the 2012 outbreak, this type of surgical procedure was deemed risky.

What can be done to treat spinal stenosis without the use of drugs and surgery? According to Dr. Brad Butler of Oakland Spine and Physical Therapy in Oakland, NJ, there are effective treatments for spinal stenosis that are non-invasive. “Using laser therapy and other treatment protocols, we’re able to significantly reduce the amount of pain and discomfort patients suffer from with lumbar and cervical spine stenosis,” said Dr. Butler. “Laser therapy is drug and pain free. It helps by stimulating tissue healing, circulation and fights inflammation of the spine. We have had amazing success with our program and, in some cases, completely resolved back pain issues with our patients.”

What causes spinal stenosis? Stenosis is, by definition, an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal that can occur in any region of the spine. The most frequent types of stenosis are lumbar and cervical stenosis. Lumbar stenosis is a narrowing and compression of the spine at the lumbar vertebra, causing lower back pain and, in its severity, causing leg pain and problems walking. Cervical stenosis causes the same issues in the neck area, which can affect the neck, shoulders, arms and, for some, debilitating headaches. Why does narrowing of the spinal canal occur? As the body ages, many changes take place that can affect the spine. “The spinal cord is a collection of nerves leading from the brain to the lower back,” explains Dr. Butler. “When the spinal cord compresses, a squeezing of the nerves and cord in the spine changes how the spinal cord functions and causes stiffness, pain, and numbness.”

Dr. Butler’s therapy approach centers around combining traditional therapies, like physical therapy and chiropractic manipulation, with state of art technology, like spinal decompression and the LCT 1000 Deep Tissue (Class IV) laser therapy, the most targeted, powerful and therapeutic laser system available in medicine today. “The wavelengths, power density and optics of the LCT 1000 Deep Tissue (Class IV) laser system allow us to precisely target and deliver a therapeutic dose of laser that immediately stimulates tissue growth,” says Butler. “This type of therapy is critical for helping stenosis patients repair and regrow lost tissue. The energy used in laser therapy is actually helping the entire body by promoting better circulation. We have patients who immediately feel the relief of their pain.” Dr. Butler’s program also incorporates alternative therapies such as acupuncture and therapeutic massage.

What about painkillers? Do they work? For many years, patients were prescribed multiple varieties of pain medication to help alleviate pain and told to ‘rest.’ Dr. Butler explains that this outdated mode of thinking doesn’t really get to the root of the problem. “What we now know, through years of research and practice, is that pain medications only mask the problem. They’re simply not a cure,” he says. “While you may feel relief from pain, pressure and soreness, as soon as you stop taking these oral medications, the pain very commonly comes back. The only way to see long-term relief is through treating the cause of the problem. Our goal is to help patients heal and live healthier, more active lives. We don’t just treat patients in crisis mode; we aim to see our patients feeling their best and maximizing their care to help them stay active, healthy and happy.”

To learn more about Dr. Butler and make an appointment for a free evaluation, call (201) 465-4731 or visit their website at

Weekly Health Update: Chiropractic Success!

Chiropractic: Success!
A study compared the effectiveness of manual therapy (performed by a Chiropractor), physical therapy (performed by a Physical Therapist), and medical care (delivered by a Medical Physician) for patients with neck pain. The success rate at 7 weeks was twice as high for the manual therapy group (68.3%) compared to the medical care group. Patients receiving manual therapy had fewer absences from work than patients receiving physical therapy or medical care for their neck pain. Manual therapy and physical therapy also resulted in statistically significant less analgesic (pain relief medication) use.
Annals of Internal Medicine, 2002

Mental Attitude: Obsessed With Forbidden Pleasures.
When individuals are forbidden from everyday objects, their minds and brains pay more attention to them. Obsession is not as strong if others are also denied. When an object is forbidden to a group, the allure of the object drops dramatically. This helps to explain why group diet programs can be more successful than dieting alone.
Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, June 2013

Health Alert: Kids Poisoned.
Every 10 minutes a child in the United States is taken to the Emergency Room because of poisoning from swallowing a prescription or over-the-counter medicine. The most common drugs associated with children’s poisoning include those used to treat diabetes, high cholesterol (statins), pain (opioids), and cardiovascular diseases (beta blockers).
Pediatrics, June 2013

Diet: Soda, Illegal Drugs, and Teeth.
Drinking large quantities of soda can be as damaging to your teeth (tooth erosion) as methamphetamine and crack cocaine use. Tooth erosion occurs when acid wears away tooth enamel. Without enamel, teeth are more susceptible to developing cavities, as well as becoming sensitive, cracked, and discolored. The citric acid present in both regular and diet soda is known to have a high potential for causing tooth erosion. The ingredients used in preparing methamphetamine can include extremely corrosive materials such as battery acid, lantern fuel, and drain cleaner. Crack cocaine is also highly acidic in nature.
General Dentistry, June 2013

Exercise: Quantity Over Frequency?
A study of over 2,300 Canadian adults found that those who exercised 150 minutes over just a few days of the week received the same health benefits as those who spread out 150 minutes of exercise over the entire week.
Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, June 2013

Wellness/Prevention: Prevent Stress.
Among women who reported stress, 40% had psychosomatic symptoms in the form of aches and pain in their muscles and joints, 28% suffered from headaches or migraines, and 28% reported gastrointestinal complaints.
University of Gothenburg, June 2013

Weekly Health Update: Neck Pain Relief

Chiropractic: Neck Pain Relief.
Three groups received either spinal manipulative therapy from a chiropractor, pain medication (over-the-counter pain relievers, narcotics and muscle relaxants), or exercise recommendations. After 12 weeks, 57% of those who met with a chiropractor and 48% who exercised reported at least a 75% reduction in pain, compared to 33% of the people in the medication group.
Annals of Internal Medicine, January 2012

Mental Attitude: Brain Health.
A recent study recommends that doctors treating patients for type 2 diabetes also take cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors into consideration. The combination of type 2 diabetes and CVD can put patients at a higher risk for long-term cognitive dysfunction, even with CVD at subclinical levels.
Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications, June 2013

Health Alert: Summer Heat!
Extreme heat causes 658 deaths a year in the United States. That’s more than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and lightning combined. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges Americans to take measures to stay cool, remain hydrated, and to keep informed. When the weather gets extremely hot, body temperatures can rise, causing brain damage, organ damage, and even death. When the human body cannot compensate and cool itself properly, it is more susceptible to heat-related illness. 69% of deaths from heat exposure occur at home, and in 91% of these homes there is no air-conditioning. Most of the victims live alone or are unmarried and 72% of them are male.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 2013

Diet: Cholesterol-Lowering Diet.
People who ate a Nordic diet had lower levels of harmful LDL cholesterol, higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, fewer fat particles in the blood, and therefore, had a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. The healthy ‘Nordic diet’ contains berries, root vegetables, legumes, cabbage, nuts, game, poultry, fish, whole grains, rapeseed oil, and low-fat dairy products.
Lund University, June 2013

Exercise: 12 Minutes?
Only 20% of American adults get enough exercise. Just 12 minutes of exercise each week is enough to stay fit! Four minute bursts of vigorous physical activity three times each week can elevate oxygen intake levels, lower blood pressure, and decrease glucose levels.
PLOS One, June 2013

Wellness/Prevention: Lifestyle Changes.
The four lifestyle factors that lead to a healthy heart are regular exercise, eating a Mediterranean-style diet, maintaining a normal weight, and not smoking. Adopting these four lifestyle behaviors protected against coronary heart disease as well as the early buildup of calcium deposits in heart arteries, and reduced the chance of death from all causes by 80 percent over an eight-year period.
American Journal of Epidemiology, June 2013

Weekly Health Update: No Headaches!

Chiropractic: No Headaches!
Cervical spine manipulation was associated with significant improvement in reducing headache symptoms involving patients with neck pain and/or neck dysfunction and headache.
Duke Evidence Report, 2001

Mental Attitude: The First Three Years and Aggression.
Children who witnessed domestic violence before age three were more likely to show aggression when they reached grade school, even if they were removed from their home and witnessed no domestic violence in the interim. According to Dr. Megan Holmes, the study’s lead author, “[This] gives social workers a window of opportunity between ages 3 and 5 to help the children socialize and learn what is appropriate behavior.”
Psychology and Psychiatry, March 2013

Health Alert: Alarming Cancer Rates!
By 2020, nearly 47% of people will get cancer in their lifetime, but almost 38% will survive the disease. One reason more people are getting cancer is because we are living longer and the incident rate of cancer increases with an aging population. The reduction in the number of people dying of cancer is because more cases are diagnosed earlier and treatments and care are improving.
Macmillan Cancer Support, June 2013

Diet: TV Exposure?
More time in front of the TV set and higher exposure to TV ads leads to increased consumption of sweetened beverages among children. Each additional hour in front of the TV increased the likelihood of regular sweetened beverage consumption by 50%. Only one parent in seven indicated that they tried to reduce their children’s exposure to TV ads. The same parents stated that their children were less prone to drink soft drinks and other sweetened beverages. Children of parents who were less strict about TV ads were twice as likely to consume sweetened beverages every week.
University of Gothenburg, Sweden, June 2013

Exercise: Soccer and Diabetes.
After three months of soccer training, the hearts of diabetic men appeared to be 10 years “younger”. On average, soccer training reduced the systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 8 mmHg. Maximal oxygen uptake was increased by 12% and that their intermittent exercise capacity was elevated by 42%.
University of Copenhagen, June 2013

Wellness/Prevention: Not So Smart.
Smartphones and tablets can disturb sleep. The cause is due to the bright light-emitting diodes that can interfere with melatonin, a hormone that controls the natural sleep-wake cycle. Dimming the smartphone or tablet brightness settings and holding the device at least 14 inches (~.36m) from your face while using it will reduce these negative effects.
Mayo Clinic, June 2013

Weekly Health Update: Patient Satisfaction

Chiropractic: Patient Satisfaction.
Patients were more satisfied after four weeks of chiropractic care than patients receiving standard medical care. Chiropractic patients were more satisfied after six weeks of care than physical therapy patients.
American Journal of Public Health, 2002

Mental Attitude: Ease Anxiety.
Volunteers with normal levels of anxiety and no previous meditation experience or anxiety disorders participated in four 20-minute classes to learn “mindfulness” meditation. In this form of meditation, people were taught to focus on breath and body sensations and to non-judgmentally evaluate distracting thoughts and emotions. Anxiety ratings fell as much as 39%.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, June 2013

Health Alert: Dementia Rates Double In China!
In 1990, 3.68 million people in China had dementia. By 2010, that number rose to 9.2 million. Dementia patient health care costs will soon be higher than heart disease and cancer combined. Experts believe the increase can be explained by a combination of factors in China such as increased life expectancy and massive demographic, social, economic and lifestyle transitions that have taken place over the previous two decades.
The Lancet, June 2013

Diet: Benefit From Probiotics.
Patients who are on antibiotics showed a decrease in antibiotic associated symptoms after taking probiotics. This study looked at the effectiveness of probiotics (live bacteria that can take up residence in digestive tracts) in treating common side effects of antibiotics such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea and life-threatening side effects such as Clostridium difficile infection. These two conditions are associated with high morbidity, mortality, and health care costs. Antibiotics are non-specific in how they target both our good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria can be killed off that protect us from pathogens like Clostridium difficile, a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the body.
St. Michael’s Hospital, June 2013

Exercise: Pedometer Program.
Using a pedometer to monitor how much people move during the day was effective at increasing activity and decreasing sitting time. In a 12-week program where participants wore a pedometer daily and received emails twice a week offering nutritional and exercise tips, the average weight loss was 2.5 pounds (~ 1.1kg).
American College of Sports Medicine, June 2013

Wellness/Prevention: Check Your Stove!
There is a strong correlation between air pollution from unsafe household stoves and infections, cardiovascular disease, maternal, neonatal health, child health, respiratory disease, burns, and ocular disorders.
PLOS Medicine, June 2013