Top Health Concerns Facing Men

On 6/07/2017 | By Chiro One Wellness Centers

Around the world, men face a plethora of health issues—many of which are preventable. Here in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put out a list of the leading causes of death in men in 2011.

While this isn’t the most uplifting topic, it’s critical we’re aware of what is affecting half the population, and as your wellness provider, we’re here to provide you some recommendations on preventing these issues. Keep an eye out for men’s health information all month long!

10 Leading Health Concerns for Men

Most years, the CDC puts out a list of the top causes of death for sections of the population. The most up-to-date information available regarding men is from 2011, and is listed as:

1.Heart disease24.5%
3.Unintentional injuries6.4%
4.Chronic lower respiratory diseases5.2%
8.Alzheimer’s disease2.1%
9.Influenza and pneumonia2.0%
10.Chronic liver disease1.9%

Looking at this list, it’s obvious that heart disease and cancer are the overwhelming leading causes of death. If you take a look at this list broken down by age group, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for age groups from 1 to 44. From age 45 to 85+, it’s predominately heart disease, as well as cancer. So what does that mean? You need to take preventative measures to protect your most valuable asset: your health.

How can I create a life of health and well-being?

Well, if you’re reading this from one of our offices, you’re already making excellent choices. In the United States, the healthcare focus is set squarely on reactive treatment—meaning you go to the doctor when you get sick, instead of seeing a doctor to learn how to stay well. This is how we, as chiropractors, are different. One of our focuses is educating our patients on ways to maintain excellent health through diet, exercise, healthy choices and chiropractic adjustments.

How does chiropractic promote health and well-being?

Chiropractic care focuses on the overall health and well-being of the nervous system, the system that controls and regulates all body functions. Through chiropractic adjustments, chiropractors help your body function optimally by removing interferences (known as subluxations) to your nervous system. Subluxations, caused by physical, chemical and mental stressors, occur when one or more spinal vertebrae move out of position and create stress or irritation on nearby nerves. A gentle, non-invasive adjustment removes the subluxation, and you reap the benefits of your body functioning at its optimal level.

If you haven’t tried chiropractic, and you’re ready to lead a life of extraordinary wellness, schedule an appointment with us.  We can help!

Studies Suggests Chiropractic Care Reduces Need for Opioid Prescriptions

By Circle of Docs

If you want to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions and pills being used, and potentially misused, you need alternative pain management. And chiropractors say that’s what they’ve been providing for decades.

“It gives people options, and that’s probably the most important thing right now is to give people options for treatment,” Dr. Mark Stagnone, president of the New Hampshire Chiropractic Association said.

At its annual meeting, the association is pointing to a trio of recent studies showing that chiropractic care cuts down on the use of opiate pain medicines.

In one of the studies, a former Dartmouth doctor analyzed 33,000 cases of lower back pain in a New Hampshire database.

“His preliminary research is indicating that there’s about a 56-57 percent reduction in opioid use when chiropractic care has been utilized in a patients treatment,” Stagnone said.

James Vara, the governor’s adviser on addiction and behavorial health, said the state needs more alternative pain management.

“It becomes a question of what insurance covers it and how long they cover it for, and that’s certainly something I’ve looked at and will continue to,” said Vara.

Chiropractors said the current insurance model puts patients on a path to prescription drugs.

“The problem that it produces is that the average individual who’s trying to treat a condition is faced with paying a high co-pay to visit a chiropractor or paying a considerably lower one to see a primary care physician,” Stagnone said.

Changing that dynamic will require legislation that has failed in the past. But chiropractors said in this ongoing addiction crisis, it’s time for adjustment.

Chiropractic care is covered under the New Hampshire Health Protection program, or expanded Medicaid. And if the program lapses, so does that coverage.

NSIADS – Good or Bad?

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – also known as NSAIDs – are medications that relieve or reduce pain. The best-known examples of this group of drugs are aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve).  They are classified as painkillers because of their nonsteroidal effect against inflammation. They reduce high temperature, fever, inflammation, and pain by hindering the formation of compounds known as prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are enzymes that produce chemical signals that call up the immune system’s inflammatory responses. They also act as protectors of the stomach lining by helping the stomach walls produce mucous that defends them from stomach acid.

NSAIDs block a prostaglandin called cyclooxygenase, also known as COX. By blocking the COX enzyme, inflammation in the body is reduced. Blocking COX also inhibits the function of platelets, so they help prevent bleeding. This is why low dose aspirin is given to help prevent heart attacks or strokes.

Most people who take ibuprofen or naproxen daily for low back pain, knee pain, or joint pain take it in higher doses then people who take a daily low dose aspirin. However, they may not know that taking NSAIDs at high doses can have side effects, including an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as developing peptic ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding.

Since 2001, several studies – including one from 2011 in BMJ and a 2013 review in The Lancet – have linked long-term, high-dose NSAID use to a greater risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure and death from cardiovascular disease.

Long term use of NSAIDs can also lead to ulcers developing in the gut. These ulcers, known as peptic ulcers, form because the action of NSAIDs blocking the COX decreases the mucous produced in the stomachenzyme has an undesirable effect in addition to the main beneficial one.  Long-term NSAID use can leave the stomach vulnerable to damage caused by digestive acid.

To help ease muscle or joint pain, consider trying other therapies — such as hot or cold packs, Chiropractic, or massage therapy. Give us a call and schedule your free consultation with Dr. Gibson!

Healthcare Moves Toward Conservative Care Methods, Like Chiropractic Care

On 2/20/2017 | By Chiro One Wellness Centers

We’re in the middle of one of the biggest drug crises in history—the opioid epidemic. Pain meds are being prescribed at an alarming rate for patients suffering from acute and chronic pain, which has opened up the gates for overuse and abuse. In 1991, the number of opioid prescriptions was 76 million, but in 2011, that number quadrupled to 219 million. There were 17,000 deaths in 2011 because of opioid prescriptions alone—this number also increased four-fold over the past two decades.

Why is this happening? As human beings, we’re geared to root out immediate solutions to what we feel are immediate problems, but those fixes don’t usually fix anything. Medication is often no more than a Band-Aid—a quick fix. You feel better—often for a short-lived amount of time—and that’s great, but pain happens for a reason: to alert you to a problem. When you mute it, you essentially quiet the messenger trying to tell you about the real trouble, and that trouble remains unaddressed.

We certainly agree that medication can be a necessary treatment, but, by and large, prescription and over-the-counter medication not only mask the real problem, they can also introduce a whole new litany of new ones like side effects and dependency. Plus, the more a drug is used, the more resistant the body becomes, making the medication less effective and putting a prescribed patient at risk of misuse.

In response to this prescription opioid crisis, the American College of Physicians (ACP) has released new guidelines for the treatment of low back pain—a condition that affects up to 80 percent of Americans during at least one point in their lives. As per this guideline, doctors are directed to use noninvasive, nonpharmacological treatments first. Prescription opioids should be a last resort.

A more conservative, natural approach to lower back pain is the bedrock of the chiropractic profession. Chiropractic care is a hands-on, drug-free approach to healthcare, and spinal adjustments have been shown to effectively and safely reduce back pain. A trial conducted by the ACP concluded that spinal manipulation showed better long-term pain relief results than other options like exercise, yoga, acupuncture and massage. All of these can be great for relief, however, chiropractic is the way to go for actively combating the root of the problem. By correcting subluxations, the body is able to do what it naturally wants to—heal.

As an organization, we commend the American College of Physicians for updating their clinical guidelines to reflect a more conservative, solution-orientated approach to low back pain. These new guidelines by the ACP mark another important moment in chiropractic history, because chiropractic care is getting more recognition as a valuable and effective approach to treating pain and focusing on overall wellness. As mainstream treatment moves in a more conservative direction, more and more patients will be able to get the hands-on, drug-free care that will really change their lives for the better.

We are pleased to continue to support our patients and communities as they experience the benefits of chiropractic care.

Body Mass Index: A 2-Minute Primer

What is your Body Mass Index how is it used?

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is one of several ways to measure the amount of excess fat (adipose tissue) in the body. Healthcare providers use BMI to determine your overall fitness and your risk of developing chronic diseases. You can also monitor your own BMI to track the results of your own diet and exercise plan if you’re trying to manage your weight.

BMI has its critics, and it’s true that there are other techniques, including hydrodensitometry (underwater weighing), skinfold measurements (using calipers) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that can provide more accurate determinations of body fat. However, BMI can be still be quite useful in most cases since it allows an effective comparison across large populations and is statistically well-correlated to adiposity. Plus, it’s easier for most people to monitor on an ongoing basis.

How do you calculate your BMI?

Your BMI is essentially the ratio of your weight to your height squared. More specifically, BMI is calculated using the following formula:

BMI = weight / (height)2

Note that the formula above uses the metric system, with weight in kilograms and height in meters. To calculate your BMI based on height in inches and weight in pounds, just multiply the result by 703.

BMI = weight (lbs.) / (height [in.])2 x 703.

What does your BMI mean?

Here are the standard weight categories associated with BMI ranges for adults who are 20 years of age and older:

BMI  Below 18.5         Underweight

BMI 18.5 to 24.9         Normal or Healthy Weight

BMI 25.0 to 29.9         Overweight

BMI 30.0 and Above   Obese

Does having a high BMI always mean carrying extra fat, and vice-versa?

No, it doesn’t. As we mentioned earlier, BMI is generally a useful way to measure body fat. However, there are a few scenarios in which BMI doesn’t accurately capture the true situation. For examples:

  • Athletes and others with a high lean body mass (muscle and bone) may fall into the overweight category despite having very little body fat.
  • Elderly people and those who have lost muscle mass may fall into the underweight category despite having excess body fat.
  • At the same BMI, women tend to have more body fat than men do.
  • At the same BMI, Whites tend to have less body fat than Asians but more than African-Americans.

Experts believe that body composition and weight distribution can also affect your health. However, BMI doesn’t provide any information about these factors. The fact that BMI isn’t perfect is a good reason to look at other measures as well—such as your waist circumference—to get a clearer picture. It’s also a good reason to have your overall health evaluated by a trained healthcare provider who can interpret your BMI and other measurements correctly and put them in proper context.

Health Risks Associated with High BMI

High BMI is associated with a variety of other risk factors related to chronic health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease and some types of cancer. These other risk factors include:

  • High LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol)
  • Low HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol)
  • High blood sugar
  • High triglycerides
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking

How much BMI do I need to loss to see improvements?

It may seem like you need to increase exercise and/or cut calories a LOT to lose a meaningful amount of weight. However, even a 5% or 10% reduction in body weight can help lower the risk of obesity-related diseases. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning a new weight management program. This is especially important if you have a known medical condition or if you haven’t been physically active for a while.

If you or someone you care about is interested in weight loss or weight management as a way to improve overall health and wellness, we can help! Just call or visit our office today!

Four Things You May Not Know About Chiropractic Care in the 21st Century

Even as adults, a surprising number of our beliefs are shaped by “casual” or “informal” sources of information, including watercooler conversations with colleagues at work, social media exchanges with friends and family and pop-culture references on TV. Most of the time, we’re not aware of the cumulative effect that this sort of information has on our view of the world—or how much of worldview is really second- or third-hand. Not surprisingly, this is even true when it comes to heath and healthcare.

According to the Pew Research Center, people look to a variety of sources for health-related background, advice and support. For example:

  • 13% Consult online reviews of drugs
  • 21% Get information, care or support from others with the same condition
  • 28% Go online for a diagnosis
  • 33% Have participated in an online social activity related to health in the last year
  • 50% Gather health information online
  • 54% Get information, care or support from friends and family

While access to high-quality health information is undeniably a good thing for the public at large, it can be difficult for most people to judge the accuracy and appropriateness of what they read or hear. This is particularly true on the Internet, where the flow of new misinformation is often accelerated and amplified and where old ideas and misconceptions can be easily repeated and sustained.

In light of new media trends, we thought it might be a good idea to share three facts about chiropractic care in the 21st century—facts that sometimes get lost in all the “noise” about healthcare.

Chiropractic care is NOT on the “fringes” of modern healthcare.  And it hasn’t been for years.

According to the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, chiropractic is the third largest primary healthcare profession in the U.S. (surpassed only by medical doctors and dentists), with over 70,000 active licenses.  In addition, the National Center for Health Statistics has reported that 8.5% of the American adult population used chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation in 2012—and that this percentage was significantly higher in many regions of the country.

Chiropractic care has a proven track record in treating a variety of musculoskeletal conditions—particularly back and neck problems—without the use of drugs or surgery.

Over the years, teams from leading academic institutions have published study findings that document the effectiveness chiropractic care in a variety of well-respected, peer-reviewed journals. Public health and consumer research organizations have also regularly reported on the high level of patient satisfaction achieved by chiropractic physicians.

Back in 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services delivered to Congress a report that detailed its findings from a “demonstration project” designed to assess the effects of expanding Medicare coverage for chiropractic services. As part of this work, researchers conducted a satisfaction survey of chiropractic patients. Here’s an excerpt of what they found:

“Sixty percent of respondents indicated that they received ‘complete’ or ‘a lot’ of relief of symptoms from their chiropractic treatments. Satisfaction with care was high, with 87 percent reporting levels of 8 or higher on a 10-point scale and 56 percent indicating a perfect score of 10.”

Interestingly, the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center came to a very similar conclusion based on its own survey data. The Center reported that a larger percentage of patients (59%) were highly satisfied with the back pain treatment and advice they received from chiropractors than were satisfied with the care provided by any other type of healthcare professional. By way of comparison, 44% of patients were highly satisfied with care provided by a specialist physician and only 34% were highly satisfied with care provided by a primary care physician.

Chiropractic care is increasingly provided as part of an integrated, cross-disciplinary approach to the treatment of musculoskeletal problems at leading medical centers and local clinics.

Here’s just one example: At the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, “Chiropractic physicians are established members of the mainstream medical team. They treat problems involving the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, cartilage and nervous system.”

There is no doubt that patients (and their families and friends) can benefit from reading and hearing the personal anecdotes and stories of others. At the same time, it is important to be aware of the larger patterns and trends as you consider your own healthcare options. Remember—facts are your friends! As chiropractic physicians, we’re experts in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems, and our goal is to help you recover as quickly and completely as possible!

Insect Repellent 101

With warm summer weather in the forecast, many people take the opportunity to spend more time in the great outdoors. Camping, hiking and boating are all on the agenda! But beware—being outside means sharing the wilderness with all of the creatures that live there. This includes the insects!

A weekend getaway out in the woods by the lake can become a lot less relaxing if you’re spending your time constantly swatting at mosquitoes and other flying bugs. And it’s not just your weekend that’s at stake. Your health is at risk too! Many insects still spread diseases that can cause a great deal of harm. For example, mosquitoes can be carriers of encephalitis and West Nile virus and ticks can spread Lyme disease.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (or even more) when it comes to insects. Common sense and a little advance planning can go a long way in protecting you from their bites and the serious health problems they can cause. If you’re hiking and the weather permits, consider wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts to keep the bugs off of your exposed skin. And wear a hat to keep them out of your hair. If you’re hiking through areas with tall grass, remember to tuck your pants into your socks to keep ticks from being able to leap onto your legs. Wearing light-colored clothing can help as well, since you’ll be able to see any tagalong insects more easily and remove them when you return home or to your campsite. Some specialty outdoor clothing has been treated with permethrin, which is an insecticide that has been rated safe for humans. If possible, always take a shower after your hike and check carefully for ticks. You should also avoid hiking or being outdoors near sunset, when many types of insects (especially mosquitoes) tend to swarm the most.

When it comes to insect repellents themselves, the clear winners in terms of effectiveness are commercial preparations that contain DEET (diethyltoluamide). Although it is chemical-based, it has been in use since 1957 and studies show that in concentrations ranging from 5% to 30% it can effectively keep insects away for up to five or six hours. Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control rate it as safe for adults and for children over the age of two months. However, it is worth mentioning that some health-conscious consumers have worries about its long-term effects since it does come in contact with the skin and may enter the bloodstream.

A more “natural” alternative to DEET that has appeared in recent years is picaridin, which is sold in strengths ranging from 7% to 20%. Some fans believe it even has a few advantages over DEET, including the fact that it doesn’t adversely affect clothing made from plastics (DEET does). Some also think that it smells better.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus is another more “natural” insect repellent that may be safer than DEET and compares favorably in head-to-head tests. It has also received very favorable consumer reviews for its effectiveness. One commercial formula called Repel Lemon Eucalyptus was recently tested by Consumer Reports and found to be effective, but its manufacturer advises against its use on children under the age of three years.

Some “completely natural” outdoorsmen even make their own insect repellents out of lavender and vodka. Seriously. However, many popular products that contain plant oils like citronella, lemongrass and rosemary don’t seem to work.

Whichever insect repellent you choose, be sure to apply it to all areas of exposed skin before you go outdoors, including your wrists and ankles if you’re wearing long pants and shirts. When using spray repellents, it’s important to avoid getting any into your eyes, nose and mouth. The best way to do this is to spray a little into your palm and use your hands to rub the repellent onto exposed areas of your face.

Remember—a bit of common sense and a little planning are all it takes to make sure your weekend in the woods is relatively insect free! Get out there and enjoy!

What is “Long-Term Health Care”?

Long-term health care, most commonly referred to as long-term care (LTC) is comprised of both medical and non-medical services provided to those who are unable to take care of themselves. Although LTC is most commonly used by the elderly, long term care may also be necessary for people of any age who are either chronically ill or disabled. Many have trouble dressing and bathing themselves, need assistance to use the bathroom or require help preparing regular meals. And with an aging population, LTC is becoming an increasingly important issue.

In 2006, the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated that 6 million Americans needed the assistance of LTC services. This number is expected to increase to 12 million by 2020. According to a study performed by the US Department of Health and Human Services, 40 percent of the population who reach 65 years of age will enter a nursing home at some point in their lives.

There is a wide range of both in-home and out-of-home care services, depending on your particular needs and your budget. They include the following:

  • Day programs – These offer meals, social interaction and activities outside the home for people who do not need 24-hour care. Some provide round-trip transportation to the care center in addition to minor medical services, such as checking blood pressure or helping with administering medications.
  • Senior housing – Rental apartments for seniors who do not need much medical care. These facilities may include meals, housekeeping, transportation and activities.
  • Home care – For help with personal needs at home such as bathing and dressing. Meal preparation, housekeeping and shopping are also sometimes done. Basic medical care can be provided by home health nurses.
  • Assisted living – Housing facilities for those with disabilities who are not able to live independently, but who do not require 24-hour care. They receive assistance with daily living activities, and some facilities have additional amenities such as on-site beauty shops.
  • Continuing-care retirement community – Features several care levels in one setting, allowing residents to move from one level to another as their needs change. This includes senior housing for the relatively healthy, assisted living for those who have difficulty with daily activities, and 24-hour nursing care for those who cannot be independent.
  • Nursing homes – Round-the-clock nursing care for those unable to care for themselves and end-of-life care. Residents receive help eating, dressing, bathing and going to the toilet, as well as basic medical care and physical rehabilitation.

The cost of LTC is not insignificant, and many people are under the mistaken impression that Medicare will pay their LTC costs. In fact, Medicare only pays for short-term skilled services or rehabilitative care that is medically necessary. It does not pay for care in the long-term or for help with activities of daily living, which is what the majority of people actually need. To pay for this, you will likely need a private payment plan such as a reverse mortgage or special long-term care insurance. However, this is not something that can be arranged for at the last minute, so the ability to pay for LTC does require advance planning.