Research Summaries #4

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It's been awhile since I have sent out a health tip and for many of you this is the first one you have received from me. I have several new ones in the works, such as the importance of omega -3 oils in your diet, why spinal discs degenerate, Blood Type diets, the value of diets low in carbohydrates, the vital importance of digestion and absorption, and more on the absolute importance of using food based supplements instead of synthetic fractionalized supplements. We are working very hard at upgrading my web site, which will soon include a special section on sports nutrition, thyroid and allergy tests that you can perform at home, and we will put up a symptom survey form which we use to determine areas of nutritional deficiency and organ dysfunction. I promise to get back on track in providing you with the cutting edge information that you need to keep or improve your health. I hope that you enjoy the latest research articles.

Towards excellent health,
Ron Saltman DC


Volume 2, Number 7

On-the-Job Back Pain Isn't Going Away

Lifting boxes, pushing brooms, reaching for files, carrying supplies -- is it any wonder that so many people suffer from job-related low back pain? No matter what your occupation, back pain can make your life miserable at any time. But how big is the problem?

To answer that question, researchers analyzed claim data from three major sources: the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries; the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and a national workers' compensation provider, over a period of 4-9 years. Results indicated that low-back pain claim rates decreased by 34% from 1987-1995, and claim payments declined by 58% over the same time period. But the problem isn't going away, either. Just look at these numbers:

  • $8.8 billion was spent on low-back pain workers' compensation claims in 1995.
  • Nearly two out of every 100 privately insured workers filed a low-back pain claim in 1995.
  • Payments for these claims accounted for almost a fourth (23%) of the total workers' compensation payments in 1995.

So if you think you can avoid low back pain at the workplace, just look at these numbers, and think again. Better yet, help continue the decline in low back pain cases by getting regular adjustments from your doctor of chiropractic.

Murphy P, Volinn E. Is occupational low back pain on the rise?

Spine, April 1, 1999: Vol. 24, No. 7, pp691-697

A Chiropractic Approach to Shoulder Tendinitis

Ultrasound Instead of Drugs

If the tendon connecting the shoulder muscles to the bone becomes inflamed or irritated, you're probably suffering from tendinitis. Calcium deposited into the tendon may increase the pain and restrict shoulder movement and flexibility.

The potential side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are well-documented, making this study on a nondrug alternative -- ultrasound -- that much more interesting. Fifty-four patients (61 total shoulders) received either ultrasound therapy or a "sham" treatment (in which the ultrasound machine was not turned on) for six weeks.

After the treatment period, calcium deposits had disappeared in six shoulders and decreased by at least 50% in nine shoulders. The sham group showed no resolution of calcium deposits, and 50% improvement in only three shoulders. These differences were even greater at a follow-up visit nine months later.

If you're experiencing shoulder pain or tenderness, schedule a consultation and a thorough examination with your chiropractor. If tendinitis is the culprit, ultrasound might be the solution.

Ebenbichler G, Erdogmus CB, Resch KL, et al. Ultrasound therapy for calcific tendinitis of the shoulder.

The New England Journal of Medicine, May 20, 1999: Vol. 340, No. 20, pp1533-1538

Alcohol, Breast Cancer and Folate

Approximately 180,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. One out of every eight women in the U.S. is at risk for developing breast cancer, and women who drink alcohol regularly only increase their risk.

But the news isn't all bad. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that high folic acid intake was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer among women who consumed more than 15 grams a day of alcohol (approximately 1 beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 shot of liquor).

Green-leaf vegetables, fruits, brown rice, chicken, barley, dates, and certain seafood (salmon and tuna) are all good sources of folic acid, and many multivitamins provide the recommended daily requirement. Ask your chiropractor to help outline a nutritional program specific to your needs.

Zhang S, Hunter D, Hankinson S, et al. A prospective study of folate intake and the risk of breast cancer.

Journal of the American Medical Association, May 5, 1999: Vol. 281, No. 17, pp.1632-1641

Add Walnuts to List of Foods that Fight Cholesterol

Unsaturated fatty acids, especially those found in many oils and nuts, are regarded as keys to preventing cardiovascular disease and promoting healthy cholesterol levels. Walnuts are of special interest because they are primarily polyunsaturated (72%) and monounsaturated (18%) fatty acids.

A recent study of 793 inhabitants of a French farming community examined the potential effect of walnut consumption on blood cholesterol levels. Results showed that people who ate walnuts more than twice a week and used walnut oil every day (at least six months out of the year) had higher levels of the "good" cholesterol than nonconsumers. People who consumed at least some walnuts/walnut oil also showed increased levels of the "good" cholesterol compared with nonconsumers.

So what is "good" cholesterol? Technically, it's known as HDL (high©density lipoprotein) cholesterol -- but don't let the fancy name confuse you. Research shows that it really is just plain "good" because it actually carries cholesterol out of the bloodstream (As opposed to LDL -- low-density lipoprotein -- cholesterol, which is considered the "bad" cholesterol).

So add walnuts to your list of foods that help keep your "good" cholesterol levels high. And ask your doctor for more information on cholesterol and the many food sources high in unsaturated fatty acids.

Lavedrine F, Zmirou D, Ravel A, et al. Blood cholesterol and walnut consumption: a cross-sectional survey in France.

Preventive Medicine, 1999: Vol. 28, pp333-339

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

As we get older, we become more susceptible to health problems that can dramatically affect our lifestyle and enjoyment of daily activities. When these conditions lead to disability or limitations in function, our ability to work may also suffer.

In 1992 and again in 1994, more than 8,000 people (aged 51-61) were interviewed as part of the Health and Retirement Survey. The results of the survey were used to provide estimates of the impact of musculoskeletal conditions in the United States (estimated percentage of people aged 51©61 reporting at least one musculoskeletal condition):

  • 1992: 62.4%
  • 1994: 70.5%

In addition to this startling data, the researchers also estimated that almost 90% of people aged 51-61 (and 40% of the general population) experience disability related to these conditions.

The moral to this very real story? Stop the problems before they start. And what's the best way to prevent musculoskeletal disorders? Regular adjustments from your doctor of chiropractic.

Yelin E, Trupin L, Sebesta D. Transitions in employment, morbidity, and disability among persons ages 51-61 with musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal conditions in the U.S., 1992-1994.

Arthritis & Rheumatism, 1999: Vol. 42, No. 4, pp769-779