How does ObamaCare affect chiropractic care in my office? That is a great question! I will tell you honestly, it doesn’t, at least not on my part. Say what you want about the Affordable Care Act, I do not need the Federal Government or anyone else to tell me that people are struggling with paying for healthcare insurance let alone healthcare.
However, for me the crisis in America is less about affordability and more about health. Don’t get me wrong, I know how expensive health insurance premiums, deductible, co-pays, and non-covered services can be. When all is said and done this year, between surgery on my knee, my son’s broken arm, my wife’s pregnancy and my daughter’s eye surgery, I am going to be out a large chunk of money before the insurance company that I faithfully pay $600 a month to contributes a dime.
Setting aside the debate about how insurance should be regulated, the truth is that Americans are among some of the least healthy people in the world. Contrarily, we spend more than every other country on health care. Timeout while I clarify something. We are not really talking about healthcare. Healthcare is cheap! No, we are talking about sick care. That is where the money is. Compare the cost of a healthy person over a lifetime with one who is in and out of doctors’ offices and hospitals and there is no comparison. OK, now that that is out of the way, my question is how can a highly developed country who spends a ridiculous amount of money on doctors, hospitals, medications, and technology, have a higher infant mortality rate than… anyone? The answer is simple. Money doesn’t make you healthy; doing things to improve or maintain your health does!
At the end of the day, the healthier you are, the less you will have to spend on medical bills. In theory, if everyone made a concerted effort to be healthy, insurance premiums would drop as they would not have to shell out so much for expensive procedures and tests. This is where chiropractic comes in. If you believe as I believe (and I am assuming that as my patient you agree with me on some level), then chiropractic is a powerful health promoting tool.
Because I know and you know that chiropractic is effective at helping improve and maintain your health, it makes sense that getting regular adjustments helps to reduce your overall healthcare costs. Furthermore, I am committed to making sure that everyone who walks in my office can afford the care they need. This is why ObamaCare will not change anything here. If you are desirous to continually work on your health and I am here to help with your chiropractic needs, you have the start of a pretty good team to not only reduce your healthcare expenses but, more importantly, keep you healthy.
I figured I would share the scoped pictures of my knee. The surgery went well. The ACL has been repaired. The left meniscus was a little worse than anticipated and he had to take out about 25% of it. He took out about 10% of the lateral meniscus.
Image 2 is showing my obliterated ACL. Images 3-6 are showing the two tears in the medial meniscus. Image 10 is the best picture of my lateral meniscus tear. Images 14-16 are pictures of the repaired ACL.
Two and a half months ago I injured my knee playing soccer. It was a non-contact injury. My left knee caught in the turf, buckled and popped. I went down and then limped off the field. I though it was the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and that it would take some time to heal without surgery. So, I set about trying to reduce the inflammation.
To help with the inflammation, I began icing it 20 minutes at a time, 2-3 times per day. I used several ice packs wrapped around my knee and held tight by straps. In addition, I was going into my hyperbaric chamber several times a week, doing cryotherapy at US Cryotherapy here in Roseville, getting it adjusted and doing cold laser treatments. After two months, the swelling was still really bad and the flexibility had only increased a little.
As far as pain is concerned, I haven’t had that much. When it first happened it hurt but I could still limp off the field, drive myself home, limp into the drug store and buy a brace. The lack of pain concerned me a bit because I have been taught that a complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is not as painful. I tend to have a pretty high pain threshold so I just figured that was the reason. It would get achy and tender, in general, and certain motions would give me a sharp pain but everything was bearable. I wore a brace while working for a few weeks then switched to kinesio tape. After a while both of those things were really irritating me and I went without either without much trouble. Through it all I maintained a pretty rigorous schedule adjusting around 300 patients per week.
A few weeks ago I finally decided that there was something more serious going on and I decided to get an MRI. The results caught me like an upper cut. According to the report, I have a completely torn ACL and tears in both menisci. The tears in the menisci are likely to heal on their own. They are in what is known as the “red zone” which means it has a good blood supply and should heal. Plus they are vertical tears which don’t usually cause much trouble. The torn ACL is another matter.
So, here is my dilemma. I am a researcher by nature. I want to know options. I am not opposed to doing what is conventional but I still want to hear the arguments on both sides. So far, here is what I know. By far, the overwhelming recommendation is surgery. This entails using a piece of the patient’s tendon from a number of sources or using a cadaver tendon. The recovery mostly requires time. No one who has had the surgery that I have talked to feels like they can perform at the same level as before but plenty have said that they can still do a lot of things they love.
On the flip side, there are a lot of people out there who, for one reason or another never reconstructed their ACL. My best friend, who is an ER medical doctor, is one of them. I have read studies where the outcomes for doing surgery vs. not doing surgery are pretty similar save for a moderately increased risk of doing damage to the menisci. I can make a really strong case for not doing surgery just on the fact that anytime you have surgery you are introducing another traumatic event. Combine that with the general risks of going under anesthesia, the risks of infections, and complications with recovery and I am pretty convinced that I could live without and ACL. I have been walking around for several weeks without an ACL, anyway. I am not going back to playing soccer any time soon with or without surgery. And, I have really good muscle strength around my knee. The argument is valid.
That saying, I am scheduled for surgery on the 7th of June. The argument to have it reconstructed won out despite my firm belief that I could definitely live without my ACL. My surgeon, Dr. Kevin Hanson of Roseville Orthopedics handled it perfectly. When I spoke with him he gave me options but made it known that in his opinion I would be much happier in the long run with a more stable knee. He also said something that changed my whole attitude. Before I spoke to him, I was assuming weeks to months off of work. Not only would that have really hurt financially but I think I would go crazy. I am not one who is accustomed to sitting around. Dr. Hanson informed me that I could bear weight whenever I felt I could based on pain. Ergo, I could feasibly go back to work within a week without risking damage to the knee. For me, this was huge!
The other conversation that really pushed me over the edge was with my best friend who has been walking around without an ACL since tearing it in medical school 12 years ago. He told me that every time he tries to play any sport his knee gives out and swells and he is laid up for 3 days. At first I was looking to him as an example for not getting the surgery. After speaking with him, I was pretty convinced to have the procedure done. Now the question is how long do I need off?
You haven’t read it in the paper because they are not printing it. You haven’t seen it on the news because they refuse to cover it. Your representative hasn’t talked about it and the State is not discussing it openly but your rights are being usurped. AB 2109 is passing through the legislature without much press. What is AB 2109? Let me tell you… please!
Currently, in the State of California, you have a choice when it comes to vaccinating your children. I am not going to go into the argument as to whether you should or should not vaccinate. That is a decision that you need to research and do what you feel is best. Regardless of how you feel, right now you have a choice. You can get your child vaccinated, you can talk to your doctor and get a waiver signed saying that vaccination is a health risk for your child, or you can sign the waiver stating that you personally have a philosophical issue with vaccinating your child.
AB 2109 eliminates the possibility of claiming a philosophical concern. What is particularly egregious is that they have worded it so that you can still claim a philosophical opposition, but you have to get it signed by your medical doctor. Yes, you read that correctly. If you have a philosophical issue with vaccinating your child, you must get a doctors note. Don’t ask me to explain it. Why an MD is the authority on a person’s philosophy or religion is the most ridiculous notion our state government has tried to pass. Furthermore, medical boards are investigating and threatening medical doctors who routinely sign exemptions. People, this is a thinly veiled law to force vaccinations!
It has gone through the House. It was passed by the Appropriations Committee without much discussion or truth. Now it is going to our senators. This has to be stopped. The problem is that the Democrats who are the majority are all voting for AB 2109. I tell you this so that if you feel as I do that forced government vaccinations (or anything for that matter) is wrong, you can stand up and let your representative know that this bill is not the will of the people. We need people who live in areas where a democrat is their representative to plead with them to not just vote with the party but actually consider the ramifications of this bill. We are in the 11th hour on this one. Will you stand up for your right to choose?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions in my office, especially when patients see me adjusting a new-born or small child. The truth is that there are many reasons why babies and kids need adjusting. The sweeping reason is because, like adults, they experience trauma that causes their joints to work improperly. The difference is that children adapt much better and do not degenerate. However, like a sapling that is not staked to grow straight into a healthy tree, the consequences can set a child up for problems in adulthood.
The most common reason I adjust infants is due to digestive issues. The term “colicky” comes from the same root as colon. Infants cry and scream for long and unbearable periods of time because of gas or some other digestive issue. If you have had a child with colic, you know how miserable it can be for everyone involved. My second child was colicky and I still haven’t recovered 10 years later from sleepless nights of attempting to console him in vain. For this very reason, however, I learned to adjust infants. I was in chiropractic school at the time and was at my wits ends. I met a pediatric chiropractor and took my son to her. She was generous enough to teach me. It made all the difference in the world!
With colicky infants, adjusting the pelvis and low back calms down the sympathetic nervous system which stimulates the parasympathetic. The parasympathetic nervous system controls digestion and works opposite the sympathetic nervous system. When this happens, babies are typically constipated and gassy. I warn parents that after the first adjustment or two, they should plan for a “blow out.” If you are a new parent and your child has always been a little constipated, a “blow out” is where the diaper cannot contain the mess.
Another common reason I adjust babies is because they are having a difficult time nursing. Usually, they are uncomfortable feeding on one breast or the other due to a restriction in the neck. Nursing mothers will tell you that there is not much that is more uncomfortable than a full breast and a hungry baby that refuses to nurse from it. Such a scenario can also cause mastitis also known as a breast infection. A gentle neck adjustment will help the baby move her neck freely and comfortably nurse.
As for kids, if they are like mine, they can do some wild things that cause trauma to the spine. For example, my two year old loves to jump off the back of the couch. About every third time she misses the pillows she positioned to break her fall and comes crying for help. I check her regularly to make sure everything is adjusted properly. I adjust my 12 year old when his asthma flares up due to allergies. This helps to drain the sinuses but also frees the ribs allowing him to breath better. Adjustments also help to regulate the immune system.
I have adjusted kids for too many reasons to name all of them. Here are some reasons I can think of: Sensory issues (a common Autism Spectrum disorder), bed wetting, reflux, constipation, to help start walking, scoliosis, sports injuries, general trauma, headaches, and more.
The follow up question, in case you are wondering the same, is how I know when babies need to be adjusted. This is simple but has been known to alarm a few mothers. This only works with infants. I take the infant by the ankles and hold them upside down in front of me. If they hang with a nice arch, they are just fine. It they twist or bend or look from side to side, that is an indication that they need an adjustment.
While listening to sports talk radio the other day, the topic of Sidney Crosby came up. For those who don’t know, Sid the Kid has been one of the best, if not the best, player in professional hockey since he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins into the NHL in 2005. He won a gold metal for Canada at the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the Stanley Cup in 2009. However, no one is talking about Sid’s accomplishments right now. His career is in jeopardy due to a concussion he sustained back in the 2010-2011 season that has kept him sidelined for all but a few games where he tried to come back only to have his symptoms return.
Anyone who has played hockey or any other physical sport has at least seen someone get a concussion. It doesn’t take much. Football has tried to make safer helmets and create rules that severely penalize hits to the head. Prevention is noble but if you ask anyone who has played sports, it is going to happen no matter how cautious. The more important question to me is how to treat it when it does happen. Time and avoiding another blow to the head are the recommendations these days. I think there is more we can do.
The brain, by all accounts, is a slow healer. As a pattern, tissue that has a limited or controlled blood supply is difficult to heal. Blood and brain tissue has to be controlled because blood is very toxic to nervous tissue hence the poor healing capacity. The reason blood is important in healing is because oxygen is a necessary component to healing. Oxygen is needed to burn the fuel in the form of glucose to give the cells energy to repair itself.
If more oxygen to the brain is the solution, then we have an effective remedy: hyperbaric therapy. In a hyperbaric chamber pressure is used to help oxygen saturate into the liquids of the body and can therefore easily cross the cell membrane and be used by the cell. In the brain this is especially effective because it also allows oxygen to cross the blood/brain barrier that is an extra protection for the brain and other nerves. More oxygen will allow the brain to actually heal.
Now, I realize that most people have not have ever heard of a hyperbaric chamber let alone know where to find one. Doesn’t it make sense, though, with all of the concern about concussions that we push for a treatment with a track record of success?
The purpose of this blog post is in no way to belittle or degrade the medical profession. My best friend is a medical doctor and I have several friends whom I admire and respect who are medical doctors. Furthermore, I have many medical doctors who refer patients to me on a consistent basis. No, this article is for those medical doctors who refuse to educate themselves on the benefits of alternative health care. Lately I have had a few medical doctors tell our mutual patients that they should not get adjusted anymore. Every single one of them cited arthritis as the reason why they should discontinue care with me. I hope this article will educate you as a patient of such physicians and maybe even influence some of them to do some research.
First of all, arthritis is a very generic term. Medical doctors routinely use it for any ache or pain in a joint. Most of the time calling it arthritis is technically true but over simplistic. It seems to me like they use it liberally because they do not want to explain what is really going on. Arthritis means is inflammation in a joint. It can be caused by auto-immune conditions like Rheumatoid or Lupus but more often it is caused by wear and tear. This is rarely explained to a patient so I am going to.
When doctors tell you that you have arthritis, most of the time what they are saying is that they can see signs of degeneration on your x-rays. Examples of degeneration are decreased joint space, bone spurs and misalignment. Essentially, instead of seeing nicely aligned joints with smooth edges, they see jagged edges with varying degrees of misalignment. This happens over time. How quickly is determined by how dysfunctional the joint is. The more dysfunctional the quicker it degenerates. Dysfunction of a joint means it is either not moving properly or not moving at all.
In the spine, the vertebrae have discs that can degenerate. Usually, this is associated with a disc herniation or bulge. Degeneration in the spine can lead to stenosis or narrowing of the openings where the nerve roots travel. Spinal degeneration or arthritis can come in varying degrees and complications. I am very aware of the risks involved with adjusting a highly degenerative spine.
Let me repeat that. I am very aware of the risks of adjusting a spine that has arthritis or degeneration! I also know the benefits. For this reason, I am very frustrated with these MD’s who are telling my patients to stop. Do they think I am unaware of my patient’s condition? Do they believe that I have no regard for my patient’s health? To be honest, I don’t believe they consider this, at all. I see fear derived from ignorance.
The truth is that an adjustment of a degenerating joint can be very beneficial. Retraining the joints to move properly can decrease inflammation and increase the nerve flow to that area which will at the very least slow down the degenerating process. Increased function will lead to improvement to the health of the joint. Are there risks? Of course. There are risks to everything. I believe the greatest risk is doing nothing. It is certainly the most predictable risk.
Trusting in your chiropractor to know when to adjust or not is important. Communication is the key! If you have a condition and you are unsure of your chiropractors awareness of it, express your concern. On that same note, avoid taking advice from people who don’t know. They shouldn’t be making recommendations about things of which they are ignorant. That doesn’t seem to be stopping some of them. If you stopped chiropractic care because your MD told you to, but have’t discussed it with your chiropractor, its time to have a frank and open discussion with all the parties involved, OK?