What Makes Dr. Gibson and Chiropractic Unique from Other Health Care Providers?

* Chiropractors do not use drugs or surgery. Instead, they focus on restoring function of the body and enhancing the overall health and well being of their patients.

* A doctor of chiropractic treats patients by identifying, through examination and
x-rays, problem areas known as subluxations. Chiropractors then manipulate or adjust the spine to correct the subluxation, alleviate the pain and encourage the body’s natural healing process.

* Chiropractic treats the patient, not just the symptoms. By using a holistic approach and examining the lifestyle of the patient, the doctor of chiropractic not only addresses the problem, but the cause as well.

* Chiropractors are experts in the spinal column, which affects the functions of your entire body. They have extensive education in basic sciences such as anatomy and physiology. They complete a minimum of six years of college level study. And they must pass rigorous exams to become state licensed.

* In my practice,  I use a wide variety of therapies,  including acupuncture, trigger point therapy, Neurological Stress Reduction Technique via the BAX-3000, infrared sauna therapy, massage therapy, and colon hydrotherapy to complement chiropractic care. I also advise my patients on nutrition to speed up the healing process.

If you would like to experience natural health care please call Gibson Chiropractic at (479) 587-0227. Gibson Chiropractic has been voted favorite chiropractor in Northwest Arkansas for 9 years in a row in the Readers’ Choice Awards.

Medicated Nation: The Rising Risk of Drug Interactions

Medications—prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), and herbal/nutritional­—are used every day by millions of Americans to treat illnesses and to help them stay healthy.  Just accounting for prescription medications, the statistics are remarkable.  According to 2009-2012 data from the National Center for Health Statistics, on average, 48.7% of Americans had used at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days, 21.8% had used at least three, and 10.7% had used five or more.

There is no question that very many of these medications have improved our lives.  Just try to imagine a world without antibiotics or without the tens of thousands of other medications that we rely on to save lives and prevent serious diseases.  However, our growing use of pharmaceuticals also has its problems.  Because Americans take so many medications—often simultaneously—a growing health risk has emerged in the form of drug interactions.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in a compilation of reports from 1998 to 2005, found that dangerous side effects and deaths from prescription and OTC medications almost tripled to nearly 90,000 incidents.

Drug interactions are the negative side effects that can occur when we combine medications with other medications or with certain types of food or drinks that we also consume.  For example, you have probably received a prescription at some point and been told by your doctor or pharmacist not to drink alcohol while taking it, because that could cause negative drug interactions.  But did you know that a simple thing like grapefruit juice could also cause negative interactions?  In a review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers identified 85 different medications that interact negatively with grapefruit or grapefruit juice.  Of these medications, 43 pose a risk of serious side effects, including severe symptoms like respiratory failure, kidney failure, intestinal bleeding, and even sudden death.

The growing possibility of serious—and even deadly—drug interactions places an increasing burden on physicians, pharmacists, and the public to become more aware of this problem and to take steps to prevent it.  The risks of negative drug-to-drug and drug-to-food reactions are numerous and can be affected by factors such as the age and gender of the patient as well as his or her medical history, general health, body composition, and the number of medications used.

It is virtually impossible for a layman to be aware of all of the possible negative drug-to-drug and drug-to-food interactions, so the most important piece of advice to take to heart is to never leave your doctor’s office after having been prescribed a drug without asking when to take it, how much of it to take, and whether there is anything it should not be taken with.

This should be considered a basic health safety procedure, and you should practice it with scrupulousness.  For example, if you are meeting with your doctor and are about to be prescribed medication, be sure to tell him or her if you are using any other medications, nutritional supplements or herbal products.  Your doctor needs this information to safely prescribe the medications you need.  Even “small” things that you think may not matter might actually matter a great deal! Remember our grapefruit example?  If you normally eat a lot of grapefruit or drink a lot of grapefruit juice, you should mention this.  Why?  Because one of the chemical compounds found in grapefruit increases the absorption of many drugs. This can enhance their effects and make them more powerful, sometimes dangerously so.

This does not mean, of course, that you need to provide every detail of your diet and lifestyle to your doctor—focus on the aspects that you think may be relevant.  You can learn a lot about possible negative drug interactions by reading publications such as this document on common drug interactions, “Drug Interactions: What You Should Know,” available from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Also, if you want to be proactive, you can consult the online Interactive Drug Checker at WebMD, which allows you to enter the name of a prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal medication and then enter additional medications and find possible negative interactions between them.

Another critical piece of advice is to always read the label that comes with the medication or supplement. It will contain information about the medication as well as other drugs, supplements, and foods that should not be taken at the same time.

Finally, it’s important that you learn about all of your healthcare options before settling on a prescription or OTC medication, particularly if it will need to be taken for a prolonged period of time.  In some cases, drugs may represent the best alternative, but this is not always true.  Lifestyle changes—especially changes in diet and exercise—can often have a significant effect on some chronic conditions.  Remember to talk candidly with your doctor and be comfortable asking for other opinions.  While all of us rely on healthcare professionals to give us the best advice they have to offer, it’s ultimately up to us to be active in our own health and healthcare choices.

If you or someone you care about has health questions of concerns, please call or visit our office today!  We’re here to help!

Why Age and Aging Are NOT the Same Thing

Almost every human society has a way to mark the passage of time.  Similarly, nearly every human society also celebrates the development of its people in one way or another.  For some, it’s simply about remembering a specific day on the calendar as a family or community—a birthday.  For others, it’s about recognizing special rights of passage that coincide with particular ages.  Some do both.  However, it is also true to say that we have mixed feelings about getting older.  There’s a good reason for this.

Over the years, we gain valuable experiences that build knowledge, wisdom and (if we’re lucky) close personal and professional relationships.  But the vast majority of us also lose something in the process—our physical—and sometime mental—health and well-being.  Even if we don’t encounter much in the way of illness or injury, most of us simply won’t have the strength, endurance, flexibility, balance and coordination on our 50th birthday that we did on our 25th, at the peak of young adulthood.  For many people, there is also an eventual cognitive decline—we can’t remember things the way we could when we were younger, it takes us longer to process information and learning new things can seem more difficult.  But here’s the good news: your biological age is NOT necessarily the same as your chronological age, and there are specific things you can do to maintain your body’s youthfulness.

Age and aging AREN’T necessarily as closely related as many people believe.  Interestingly, a growing body of evidence suggests that everybody grows older at a different pace.  Researchers who study biological aging have noticed that some people age much faster than normal while others age much more slowly.  According to a recent Wall Street Journal article describing one biological aging study: “Most of the study participants aged one biological year for each chronological year.  Some, however, put on as much as three biological years for every one year, while others didn’t increase in biological age at all during the 12-year span the study surveyed.  Using a subset of the biomarkers, the researchers calculated that at 38 years old, the participants’ biological ages ranged from 28 to 61.”  This is an ENORMOUS difference!  What could possible account for it?

While much of the aging process remains a mystery, we are learning more about it all the time.  Aging is influenced by our genes, environment, and lifestyle.  By the time we reach middle and old age, these factors have had time to make a significant impact on our health.  Some of these influences may be positive and others negative.

Genetics

Let’s start with heredity.  Genes are powerful predictors of longevity—but there is more to the story than that.  Family history definitely influences your health and how long you will likely live, but your day-to-day behaviors can make a difference in the power of genetic predisposition.  In other words, you can affect your own longevity and quality of life positively or negatively to some degree based on your own choices about things like diet, exercise, sleep and stress management as well as preventive healthcare.  New genetic tests make it possible to know if you are predisposed to some types of diseases so that you can make better decisions earlier in your life.

Environment

The environment can clearly affect our health, particularly the places where we spend the most time living, working and playing.  Our exposure to the sun, infectious diseases and toxic chemicals are some obvious physical environmental factors.  But there are some less obvious social and psychological ones to consider as well.  These include factors like the amount of stress we’re under at work and at home, and the quality of our relationships.  As with genetics, environment alone doesn’t guarantee any particular outcomes with respect to our longevity or quality of life.  How we interact with our environment and respond to its opportunities and challenges is a very important variable.

Lifestyle Choices

Lifestyle choices such as the food we eat, the drinks and drugs we consume, how much we exercise and how much we sleep can all play a very significant role in our own rate of aging.  What researchers and clinicians cannot tell us yet is which of these factors will make the greatest difference in the life of any one individual.  That said, we can say a few things with a very high degree of confidence based on our own training and experience.

Nutrition and exercise matter—a lot.  And—according to the most up-to-date research—it’s never too late to benefit from eating better and exercising more.  Even elderly people can see a meaningful improvement in their health and well-being and a reduction in the incidence of some diseases by starting a healthy diet and exercise program suitable for their age and health status.  No matter how old you are, maintaining a healthy weight and a moderate level of fitness will give you a far better chance of enjoying a longer, happier life than someone who leads a sedentary lifestyle.

Some behaviors just aren’t good for you.  Smoking, excessive drinking and drug use are all significant predictors of disease and death.  If you do any of these things, stopping can have an immediate impact on your likely health and longevity.  If you don’t do any of these things, don’t start.

Strong support systems help reinforce healthy habits.  It’s true that we all “get along with a little help from our friends.”  Surrounding yourself with other people who also lead a healthy lifestyle makes it more likely that you’ll continue on the right path.  Family, friends and colleagues who value nutrition, exercise, quality sleep and work-life balance can make a big difference!

Proactive, preventive healthcare is key.  While we all do our best at home and at work to avoid illness and injury, it’s also important to work with your doctors to monitor your health and to address any current or potential problems as early as possible.

As you can see, there is no single “magic bullet” to delay or reverse the aging process.  However, by being aware of your own family health history, environment and lifestyle options, you can make more thoughtful choices that can add year to your life and life to your years.  If you or someone you care about has questions or concerns related to health and wellness, please call or visit our office.  We’re here to help!

The ABCs of Chiropractic Specialties

When it comes to deciphering the letters following a doctor’s name, it can feel as though you’re trying to read a bowl of alphabet soup. At the same time, though, those abbreviations can tell you a lot about the doctor’s education and experience. While every Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) is trained to perform a range of standard manipulation and mobilization techniques, many have also chosen to become experts in treating particular types of conditions, working with specific patient populations or practicing in certain kinds of settings. Like medical doctors, DCs increasingly choose to specialize in order to provide a higher standard of care to their patients.

According to Robert E. Dubro, DC, DACBOH, DABCO, president of the American Board of Chiropractic Specialties, “After graduating from chiropractic college, you have the basic skill set to treat patients presenting with average, everyday complaints and injuries. In general, you do not yet have the expertise to treat highly chronic illnesses and injuries or specific, complex occupational, sports or traumatic injuries. Specialty training is an important path to that kind of expertise.”

Below, we’ve provided a short explanation of the American Chiropractic Association-accredited professional specializations you’re likely to encounter as you learn more about chiropractic care and investigate which options may be best for you and your family.

  • Chiropractic Diagnostic Imaging (DACBR) Specialist – Has additional training in interpreting diagnostic imaging results, such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds.
  • Chiropractic Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation (DACRB) Specialist – Has extensive postgraduate training in physiologic therapeutics and rehabilitation to better treat injuries that may have resulted from an accident or a sports injury.
  • Chiropractic Acupuncture (DABCA) Specialist – Treats a wide variety of health conditions that include all body systems and tissues and focuses special attention on the relationship between the spine, nervous system, and the meridian system.
  • Chiropractic Nutrition (DACBN/CBCN) Specialist – Is specially trained to use advanced nutritional strategies to prevent and treat disease and to educate patients.
  • Chiropractic Diagnosis and Management of Internal Disorders (DABCI) Specialist – Is trained as a holistic primary care physician specializing in modern medical diagnosis, functional medicine, and natural therapeutics.
  • Chiropractic Orthopedist (DACO/DABCO) Specialist – Has special knowledge of both the normal function and diseases of the bones, joints, capsules, discs, muscles, ligaments, tendons, their complete neurological components, referred organ systems and contiguous tissues, and is able to diagnose and treat the conditions related to them.
  • Chiropractic Clinical Neurologist (DACAN/DACNB) Specialist – Is specially trained in the clinical evaluation and treatment of conditions involving the central and peripheral nervous systems.
  • Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP/DACBSP) Specialist – Is trained in chiropractic sports medicine and exercise science in order to treat sports injuries, enhance athletic performance and promote physical fitness.
  • Chiropractic Pediatrician (DICCP) Specialist – Has received special training in pediatrics to meet the chiropractic healthcare needs of children.
  • Chiropractic Occupational Health (DACBOH) Specialist – A DC trained in health care diagnosis and treatment choices for workplace neuromusculoskeletal injuries who is able to provide a broad range of work-related injury and illness prevention services for employee populations.

In addition to these professional specializations, chiropractic physicians may also receive other types of certifications related to their use of certain techniques or technologies in the care of their patients.

If you’re wondering what type of chiropractic care might be right for you, we encourage you to call or visit our office today. We’re always happy to answer any questions and to explain our approach!  We’re here to help!

What is “Evidence-Based Medicine”?

When patients go to a doctor, they want the best possible diagnosis and treatment. But how does that doctor know exactly what to do in any particular circumstance?

Medical school (of course) is the first part of the answer to this question. Clinical experience is the second part. This combination of formal training and day-to-day practice is what helps a physician to build the expertise and judgment they need to be good at their work.

However, even the very best education and most extensive professional experience cannot prepare a doctor perfectly for any situation. The simple truth is that the human body is so complex that no one physician can possibly know everything about it or about every health condition or potential treatment option. This is one reason that today’s doctors often choose to specialize, consult with each other and pursue continuing education. It’s also one reason why the healthcare community is working to pool its knowledge and develop treatment protocols based on its collective experience about what has worked best for patients in the past. This systematic approach is called “Evidence-Based Medicine”.

Evidence-based medicine has been described as “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.” Such evidence is based on randomized controlled trials to ensure an unbiased and entirely objective analysis of each study. The aim of evidence-based medicine (EBM) is to provide both quantitative and qualitative assistance in the clinician’s decision making process.

Proponents of the EBM approach realize that no system is perfect for all cases. They know that patient preferences and values can play an important part. They know, too, that not every patient is going to fit into the definitions described by a randomized controlled trial. Individual pathology and physiology may differ and not every patient will respond to the same treatment.

Trisha Greenhalgh and epidemiologist Anna Donald extended and clarified the EBM definition. They wrote that evidence-based medicine is, “the use of mathematical estimates of the risk of benefit and harm, derived from high-quality research on population samples, to inform clinical decision-making in the diagnosis, investigation or management of individual patients.”

One of the key objectives of EBM is to help make medical decision-making more objective in order to achieve better results for each individual patient.

The concept of evidence-based medicine has gained wide acceptance in most parts of the healthcare community. However, it does also have its practical limitations.

  • The results upon which EBM is based may not prove relevant in all situations. This is because much of the quantitative research produced by EBM depends on randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
  • Not every medical problem has been thoroughly investigated, making the body of evidence incomplete.
  • Certain groups remain under-researched, and thus generalizing from RCT findings becomes imperfect at best.
  • Research topics are strongly controlled by the sponsor’s interests. After all, RCTs are expensive and are rarely, if ever, conducted on methodologies that possess little or no profit incentive. In other words, traditional, alternative and holistic approaches remain largely under-represented.
  • There is always a delay—sometimes substantial—between the time an RCT is conducted and the actual publication of its findings.
  • There is also a delay between the publication of RCT results and the proper application of those results.
  • Some corporations have stifled the publication of RCT findings when the results proved detrimental to the public view of one or more of their products. This becomes particularly problematic when a former employee of the corporation in question becomes an editor at the peer-reviewed journal which would carry those research findings. Such corporate intervention jeopardizes not only the integrity of the body of scientific evidence, but also jeopardizes the health of the patients which EBM is supposed to benefit.

While evidence-based medicine certainly presents its share of challenges, it’s the best hope we have today for applying our growing body of healthcare experience to individual cases. As researchers and clinicians continue to collect data and make it more widely available and easier to access, EBM will offer more opportunities for physicians to treat their patients based on the best, most up-to-date information.