Browsed by
Category: Addiction

Opiates Ineffective for Chronic Back or Hip Pain

Opiates Ineffective for Chronic Back or Hip Pain

A new study just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that opioids are not an effective solution for chronic pain.

In this article, researchers from the University of Minnesota studied 240 patients who had chronic back, hip, or knee arthritis pain. Half of the study subjects received opiates; the other half received non-opiate pain medications. Patient progress was evaluated at 3-months, 6-months, 9-months, and one year.

The study found:

  • There was no difference in pain-related function between the two groups.
  • At 12 months, the nonopioid patients had less pain than did those who received opiates.
  • “The opioid group had significantly more medication-related symptoms over 12 months than the nonopioid group”

The study authors write:

“Among patients with chronic back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis pain, treatment with opioids compared with nonopioid medications did not result in significantly better pain-related function over 12 months. Nonopioid treatment was associated with significantly better pain intensity, but the clinical importance of this finding is unclear.”

Previous research has found that about 20% of patients with musculoskeletal pain are prescribed narcotic pain medications for their symptoms, and another recent study found that 36% of people who overdosed from opiates had their first opioid prescription for back pain.

Another recent study found that chiropractic patients are less likely to use opiates for their pain than are medical patients.

From this research, it seems clear that it’s risky to prescribe opiates for musculoskeletal pain. Chiropractic care is a proven safe and effective approach for both chronic and acute back pain.

Krebs EE, Gravely A, Nugent S, Jensen AC, DeRonne B, Goldsmith ES, Kroenke K, Bair MJ, Noorbaloochi S. Effect of Opioid vs Nonopioid Medications on Pain-Related Function in Patients With Chronic Back Pain or Hip or Knee Osteoarthritis Pain: The SPACE Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2018 Mar 6;319(9):872-882. doi: 10.1001/jama.2018.0899.

Why Sugar is So Hard to Resist

Why Sugar is So Hard to Resist

Sugar is in almost everything we eat. In the typical western diet, enough sugar has been added to food products to bring our consumption of the sweet stuff up to 22.7 teaspoons per day. It is added to processed foods to extend shelf life and enhance flavor and texture. While we know that sugar contributes to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease, it’s still hard to resist. Why? Much of the answer to that question has to do with the way humans have evolved to survive in times of scarcity. 

Our ancestors who had developed a taste for sugar were able to add to their body fat, which helped to keep them alive during periods of famine. This in turn allowed them to pass their sweet-loving genes on to their progeny. A study conducted by researchers at Washington University found that we are programmed from birth to crave sweet things. Human breast milk is very sweet due to the concentration of the sugar lactose, so from day one we learn to develop a sweet tooth.  

One study showed how even the mere expectation of sugar can affect our cognitive ability. Scientists found that when study subjects swished sugar water around in their mouths and then spit it out, they performed better on cognitive tests than the subjects who had swished water that had been artificially sweetened. And there is a good reason why sugar is addictive. Eating sugar prompts the release of the hormone serotonin from the same area of the brain that responds to heroin and cocaine, inducing a feeling of happiness and euphoria.  

It’s not always obvious where sugar is hiding in the foods we eat. While our consumption of table sugar is down, the amount added to processed foods is increasing. Many people are surprised to find how much sugar is added to such things as bologna (1.18 tsp. per 4 slices), ketchup (1.77 tsp. per 3 tbsp.) and low-fat fruit yogurt (6.16 tsp.). A couple of spoons of barbecue sauce have about as much sugar as a glazed donut! Add in the sugars typically contained in soups, sauces and breads, and it’s easy to see why obesity is becoming such an epidemic. The more we get, the more we want. A sudden rush of sugar spurs the release of insulin, which causes the infamous “sugar crash” and makes us crave even more to combat it. 

However, it is possible to overcome an addiction to sugar, just as it’s possible to overcome an addiction to any other substance. Gradually use less where you can, such as in coffee or tea and in your breakfast cereal. You can also reduce or eliminate your consumption of soda (including artificially sweetened soda, which still makes you crave the sweet taste) and water down any fruit juices you may drink. After a while, your body does adjust to the taste. After a few months, if you suddenly are given coffee with sugar in it, you may find it tastes odd. Try to avoid buying store-bought desserts, and if you make your own, reduce the amount of sugar called for in the recipe. Many baked goods can use unsweetened applesauce as a substitute for 2/3 of the sugar required. 

Our society has made it difficult to resist sugar, but it’s not impossible, and the less sugar you eat, the better it will be for your overall health.  

At Oblander Chiropractic, we are working hard to help our patients live lives of health and wellness.  As a part of that effort, we are going to be sharing recipes that replace refined sugar with natural sugars. Be sure to watch our posts for those recipes!

 

What Parents Need to Know About E-Cigarettes

What Parents Need to Know About E-Cigarettes

blue-vapor
blue-vapor

With the possible exception of vaccinations, there are few more polarizing health issues confronting the general public right now than the use of electronic cigarettes.

At the heart of the public health issue are two very simple facts.  First, e-cigarettes are relatively new. And second, their use has grown far faster than our understanding of how they affect the health of “vapers” and those around them.

The resulting uncertainty means that reasonable people have very different opinions about the risks—and opportunities—electronic cigarettes might present for public health. For the sake of discussion, we’ll summarize the positions taken by three different groups based on their starting premise and priorities.

Group 1: “Nicotine addiction is bad, and e-cigarettes are just another way to deliver nicotine. So why encourage it?”

Group 2: “E-cigarettes are certainly safer than traditional cigarettes and may help smokers quit. So why not back an alternative to tobacco?”

Group 3: “We don’t know what the health effects of e-cigarettes actually are, but we’d rather be safe than sorry. So why not regulate them tightly until we know more?”

First, some facts about traditional cigarettes.

Just to remind parents of the danger that smoking tobacco cigarettes poses to health, here are some excerpts from a January, 2013 study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, based on a U.S. National Health survey of 202,248 Americans:

  • “For participants who were 25 to 79 years of age, the rate of death from any cause among current smokers was about three times that among those who had never smoked.”
  • “The probability of surviving from 25 to 79 years of age was about twice as great in those who had never smoked as in current smokers.”
  • “Life expectancy was shortened by more than 10 years among the current smokers, as compared with those who had never smoked.”
  • “Cessation before the age of 40 years reduces the risk of death associated with continued smoking by about 90%.”

These figures support previous research that indicates that few things in modern life are as harmful to health as smoking tobacco cigarettes.

Second, some facts about electronic cigarettes.

  • E-cigarettes are not tobacco products and don’t produce smoke. Instead, they heat liquids to produce a vapor. This is why smoking e-cigarettes is sometimes referred to as “vaping.”
  • E-cigarettes may or may not contain nicotine, though many or most do. Unlike traditional cigarettes, they come in a wide variety of flavors.
  • The liquids used in e-cigarettes can vary a great deal in terms of both ingredients and consistency. There have been concerns that some liquids may contain harmful chemicals, either as a result of the “recipe” used in manufacturing or because of problems in quality control.
  • Some tobacco smokers have reported that e-cigarettes have helped them quit.

So what about e-cigarettes and your teenager?

The use of e-cigarettes among middle and high school students exploded between 2013 and 2014.  In 2013, 4.5% of high school students reported vaping at least once in the prior 30 days.  In 2014, 13.4% did. Comparable statistics for middle school students were 1.1% in 2013 and 3.9% in 2014. According to the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey, e-cigarette use has now surpassed current use of every other tobacco product overall, including traditional cigarettes. This means that if you have a child who is between the ages of 13 and 18, it is very likely that they know someone who vapes.

Some of the worry among public health officials and regulators stems from the idea that e-cigarettes may act as a “gateway drug” to real cigarettes or to something worse. They are also worried that traditional cigarette companies could accelerate the current trend by directing their marketing expertise at young people. The overarching concern is that this segment is both particularly attractive and particularly vulnerable.

Over the past few years, researchers have gained a better understanding of how the adolescent brain develops and how it responds to certain substances. One of the things they’ve learned is that teens’ ability to weigh risks and longer-term consequences is still forming. They have also discovered that even casual drug use can cause structural changes in a teenager’s rapidly developing brain that reduce cognitive ability in measurable ways. Of course, this is a nightmare scenario for most parents, who would prefer that their children not abuse any substance with the potential to cause harm or dependency.

Other parents, however, see e-cigarettes as simply the lesser of two evils. If they start with the presumption that their son or daughter is going to try a cigarette anyway, they would rather it be an e-cig than traditional tobacco, with its 79 carcinogens and all the negative second- and third-hand health effects.

As healthcare professionals, we encourage parents to help their children build good lifestyle habits that will serve them well as adults. While we recognize that parents have less and less direct control over teens’ choices as they grow and become more independent, we believe that it is very important to point them in the right direction and set a good example. Given that we don’t know everything we need to know about the health risks of e-cigarettes, parents should be very cautious about letting teenagers pick up this type of habit.

 

 

Why Sugar is So Hard to Resist

Why Sugar is So Hard to Resist

Sucre en morceau
Sucre en morceau

Sugar is in almost everything we eat. In the typical western diet, enough sugar has been added to food products to bring our consumption of the sweet stuff up to 22.7 teaspoons per day. It is added to processed foods to extend shelf life and enhance flavor and texture. While we know that sugar contributes to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease, it’s still hard to resist. Why? Much of the answer to that question has to do with the way humans have evolved to survive in times of scarcity.

Our ancestors who had developed a taste for sugar were able to add to their body fat, which helped to keep them alive during periods of famine. This in turn allowed them to pass their sweet-loving genes on to their progeny. A study conducted by researchers at Washington University found that we are programmed from birth to crave sweet things. Human breast milk is very sweet due to the concentration of the sugar lactose, so from day one we learn to develop a sweet tooth.

One study showed how even the mere expectation of sugar can affect our cognitive ability. Scientists found that when study subjects swished sugar water around in their mouths and then spit it out, they performed better on cognitive tests than the subjects who had swished water that had been artificially sweetened. And there is a good reason why sugar is addictive. Eating sugar prompts the release of the hormone serotonin from the same area of the brain that responds to heroin and cocaine, inducing a feeling of happiness and euphoria.

It’s not always obvious where sugar is hiding in the foods we eat. While our consumption of table sugar is down, the amount added to processed foods is increasing. Many people are surprised to find how much sugar is added to such things as bologna (1.18 tsp. per 4 slices), ketchup (1.77 tsp. per 3 tbsp.) and low-fat fruit yogurt (6.16 tsp.). A couple of spoons of barbecue sauce have about as much sugar as a glazed donut! Add in the sugars typically contained in soups, sauces and breads, and it’s easy to see why obesity is becoming such an epidemic. The more we get, the more we want. A sudden rush of sugar spurs the release of insulin, which causes the infamous “sugar crash” and makes us crave even more to combat it.

However, it is possible to overcome an addiction to sugar, just as it’s possible to overcome an addiction to any other substance. Gradually use less where you can, such as in coffee or tea and in your breakfast cereal. You can also reduce or eliminate your consumption of soda (including artificially sweetened soda, which still makes you crave the sweet taste) and water down any fruit juices you may drink. After a while, your body does adjust to the taste. After a few months, if you suddenly are given coffee with sugar in it, you may find it tastes odd. Try to avoid buying store-bought desserts, and if you make your own, reduce the amount of sugar called for in the recipe. Many baked goods can use unsweetened applesauce as a substitute for 2/3 of the sugar required.

Our society has made it difficult to resist sugar, but it’s not impossible, and the less sugar you eat, the better it will be for your overall health.

 

Why Sugar is So Hard to Resist

Why Sugar is So Hard to Resist

????????????????Sugar is in almost everything we eat. In the typical western diet, enough sugar has been added to food products to bring our consumption of the sweet stuff up to 22.7 teaspoons per day. It is added to processed foods to extend shelf life and enhance flavor and texture. While we know that sugar contributes to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease, it’s still hard to resist. Why? Much of the answer to that question has to do with the way humans have evolved to survive in times of scarcity.

Our ancestors who had developed a taste for sugar were able to add to their body fat, which helped to keep them alive during periods of famine. This in turn allowed them to pass their sweet-loving genes on to their progeny. A study conducted by researchers at Washington University found that we are programmed from birth to crave sweet things. Human breast milk is very sweet due to the concentration of the sugar lactose, so from day one we learn to develop a sweet tooth.

One study showed how even the mere expectation of sugar can affect our cognitive ability. Scientists found that when study subjects swished sugar water around in their mouths and then spit it out, they performed better on cognitive tests than the subjects who had swished water that had been artificially sweetened. And there is a good reason why sugar is addictive. Eating sugar prompts the release of the hormone serotonin from the same area of the brain that responds to heroin and cocaine, inducing a feeling of happiness and euphoria.

It’s not always obvious where sugar is hiding in the foods we eat. While our consumption of table sugar is down, the amount added to processed foods is increasing. Many people are surprised to find how much sugar is added to such things as bologna (1.18 tsp. per 4 slices), ketchup (1.77 tsp. per 3 tbsp.) and low-fat fruit yogurt (6.16 tsp.). A couple of spoons of barbecue sauce have about as much sugar as a glazed donut! Add in the sugars typically contained in soups, sauces and breads, and it’s easy to see why obesity is becoming such an epidemic. The more we get, the more we want. A sudden rush of sugar spurs the release of insulin, which causes the infamous “sugar crash” and makes us crave even more to combat it.

However, it is possible to overcome an addiction to sugar, just as it’s possible to overcome an addiction to any other substance. Gradually use less where you can, such as in coffee or tea and in your breakfast cereal. You can also reduce or eliminate your consumption of soda (including artificially sweetened soda, which still makes you crave the sweet taste) and water down any fruit juices you may drink. After a while, your body does adjust to the taste. After a few months, if you suddenly are given coffee with sugar in it, you may find it tastes odd. Try to avoid buying store-bought desserts, and if you make your own, reduce the amount of sugar called for in the recipe. Many baked goods can use unsweetened applesauce as a substitute for 2/3 of the sugar required.

Our society has made it difficult to resist sugar, but it’s not impossible, and the less sugar you eat, the better it will be for your overall health.

 

Chiropractic and Addiction

Chiropractic and Addiction

addiction-200-300It is ironic that chiropractic-a health care methodology that is committed to being drug-free-is being utilized more and more as an effective treatment for the ravages of addiction. Addiction is a major public health problem these days, with the National Institutes for Health (NIH) estimating that 15% of Americans can be classified as “problem drinkers” or alcoholics, and that 1 in 10 Americans are either addicted to or in recovery from the use of illegal drugs. And the problem of drug addiction is far from being limited to illegal drugs; the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that millions of Americans meet abuse or dependence criteria for prescription opioids and painkillers used to treat their chronic pain.  Add to alcohol and drugs other mainstream sources of addiction (smoking and gambling for example), and it becomes quite clear that addiction is a broad problem that negatively affects the lives of those addicted and their families as well as society at large.

Let’s talk for a minute just about substance abuse. Whether the source of the addiction is alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription drugs the reasons people have for taking them in the first place are remarkably consistent, and based on feelings of dis-ease. People are in such pain – physical pain as the result of injury or disease, or emotional pain as the result of psychological trauma or mental illness – that they turn to these addictive substances to dull their ever-present pain and just “get through the day.” And while there are conditions for which powerful opioid painkillers can be legitimately prescribed, the continued use of them can be as debilitating as the illegal drugs, and can wreak havoc on people’s overall physical and mental health.

Chiropractic care is increasingly being shown to be remarkably effective at eliminating the dependency that such individuals have on these addictive substances, and at helping them to live alcohol- and drug-free lives. Chiropractic does this by often eliminating some or all of the chronic pain that caused the person to resort to drugs or alcohol in the first place, easing the levels of physical aches and pains that cause a person to crave prescription medication or seek to self-medicate.

But because chiropractic care is above all holistic and designed to improve all aspects of a person’s life simultaneously, chiropractic treatment can also relieve psychological pain and mental distress, and enable people to re-achieve a sense of well-being. On a physical level, the spinal adjustment received during chiropractic care have been shown to release endorphins and other “feel good” chemicals in the brain, and thus to directly improve the sense of well-being. When the spine is in proper alignment, powerful chemicals known as neurotransmitters are released in their intended order and amount, resulting in positive mental states. One recent study published in the journal Medical Psychiatry found that when a 30-day addiction recovery program was supplemented with frequent chiropractic adjustments, the subjects achieved an unprecedented 100% success rate with the program.
Chiropractic care is safe, effective, and long-lasting, helping people’s bodies to heal in a holistic manner. Having this alternative means that they don’t need to resort to the use of prescription drugs, alcohol or illegal drugs to suppress their pain and feelings of dis-ease. So if you or someone you know and love is struggling with addiction issues of any kind, please look into the benefits that professional chiropractic care could bring to their recovery.

google-site-verification: google27ea280976b3c539.html