This blog post I have written partially out of frustration, about the number of people going under the knife.
Every so often I meet people who are scheduled in for a hysterectomy, tonsillectomy, appendectomy, cholecystectomy and other -ectomys.
Are we born with extra pieces? Is the appendix really a useless piece of dangly meat attached to your intestines?
I beg you to ask why.
Why does this area of my body have issues? Is removing this organ going to work? How does it work? What are the long-term results of this?
Short term thinking gets us into trouble, we may not notice today, or next week, or even 5 years down the track, but eventually it comes out in the wash.
Would you do a poor job painting your house, only to have it peel off after 3 years? Sure, the house looked great at the time.
The body does everything for a reason,
High blood pressure does not happen randomly
inflamed tonsils do not happen randomly
hormone issues do not happen randomly
First ask why? What could have caused this? If an organ is causing problems, would taking it out solve the underlying issue?
Before pulling out your bits and pieces, consider that once it is gone, there is no changing your mind.
THIS POOR CAMEL IS CARRYING YOUR BAGGAGE!
When I snap at my partner for a seemingly small thing, once the dust has settled we look back at the situation and ask, ‘what’s the big deal’? 100% of the time we conclude, ‘oh there’s that cumulative effect again’.
To explain further, this is when several small things ‘bug’ you consciously or subconsciously throughout the day and without you realising, it stacks straws on the camel’s back, right down to the 1000th straw. Even though it may have been a small thing that created a big emotional explosion, it never just that, that was just the last straw to break the camel’s back. I know, poor camel. I hope that is not an analogy based on a true story.
I have noticed that this principle applies to many things in life. Another example is getting sick. It was not the fault of your snotty colleague, once again it was cumulative. You may have had less than ideal sleep, you have been snacking on the run this week, some added workload stress and voila! You ‘caught’ your colleagues cold.
I talk to my clients about this frequently. One lady picked up her toddler and felt intense low back pain. The interesting thing is that she had picked up her toddler up 100 times that week already. Why did she feel this pain at number 101? The body is very good at compensating.
Evolutionarily speaking, if we had a broken toe, we just got on with it and kept moving. Our body would deal with it, work around the weakness, so that we could continue to survive. Because stopping was not an option.
I know many kiwis love the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude. My question to you is, does this attitude still serve us well? Now we are living to sometimes 100 years old, our body has a long way to go….
This brings me back to the cumulative effect. We have realised that life is much more fun and efficient if we deal with the cumulative things as they arise, rather than waiting to overload the poor camel. We get our spines regularly ‘tuned up’, which keeps our body functioning well and allows us to be more adaptable. After all, if there is only room for 1 straw on the camel’s back, it doesn’t take a lot does it?
Date: December 19th 2016
NZ CHIROPRACTORS READY TO PLAY PART IN REDUCING HARM FROM FALLS
The New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA) has welcomed calls by the Health Quality & Safety Commission, published in the latest issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal , for an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to the prevention of falls, one patient at a time.
Chiropractor Mari Volker explains: `We fully support the need for individualised responses to prevent falls one patient at a time, and for leadership responses that promote an integrated approach to reducing the risk of falls in older people’. Chiropractors are uniquely placed within the healthcare spectrum as they support better spine and nervous system health which has demonstrated positive effects on balance in the older population, and therefore this would help reduce the future need for a massive increase in healthcare costs.
`A growing body of research suggests that chiropractic care may slow the rate of functional decline as you age, preserve your autonomy, improve your well-being and reduce accidents. It could also save New Zealand millions of dollars in the longer term .’
Falls are the leading cause of injury related hospital admissions and death in the over fifties. In 2014, 205,000 New Zealanders aged 50 or over had an ACC claim accepted for a fall-related injury, representing a 20% increase since 2011 .
Dr Kelly Holt, Dean of Research at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic and his team recently published the results of a research study in New Zealand which has shown chiropractic care in a group aged 65 to 89 can significantly impact several factors that influence the prevention of falls2.’
Dr Volker explains: ‘After twelve weeks the group who received chiropractic care had increased ability in identifying where their ankle joint was when they closed their eyes. This is likely to prevent falls, as your brain will be more accurately aware of where your foot is without you having to look at your foot while walking.’
Dr Holt and his fellow researchers in the New Zealand study also found that older adults who received 12 weeks of chiropractic care were able to take a step much faster than the control group not receiving chiropractic care. This is an important finding, because being able to take a fast step to correct balance can assist in fall prevention. Additionally, this study showed that the older adults who received chiropractic care were able to simultaneously process visual and auditory information more accurately in their brain.
Dr Volker adds: `This is known to be important and relevant when it comes to preventing falls. Science has shown that as we age we appear to lose our ability to process multiple lots of sensory information accurately and that this leads to distractions that may cause falls’.
`We want to encourage New Zealanders to visit their chiropractor to ensure that their spines and nervous systems are functioning well. A local NZCA chiropractor will be able to provide advice on ways to improve posture, enhance coordination and support a healthy spine. A healthy spine and well-functioning nervous system is important for overall health and wellbeing.’
Mari Volker- Chiropractor
Holt, Kelly R et al, “Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care to Improve Sensorimotor Function Associated With Falls Risk in Older People: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.
BABY BOOMERS URGED TO STRAIGHTEN UP AND STAY ACTIVE FOR A LONGER, HEALTHIER LIFE
As part of World Spine Day (October 16th), the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA) is urging the nation’s baby boomers to take care of their spines as a key part of their regular healthcare regime and help reduce the future need for a massive increase in healthcare costs.
Chiropractor Kane Albrecht explains: `A growing body of research suggests that chiropractic care may slow the rate of functional decline as you age, preserve your autonomy, improve your well-being and reduce accidents1. It could also save New Zealand millions of dollars in the longer term.’
Baby boomers are those born during the years after World War II when there was a temporary marked increase in the birth rate (between 1946 and 1964). As the baby boomers enter retirement the number of people aged 65 and over will reach unprecedented levels. Baby boomers represent almost 15 percent of the population and the numbers continue to rise - outgrowing all other age groups, according to Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) figures. It is projected that in 2068, approximately 27.5 per cent of the total population will be aged over 65.
Dr Kelly Holt, Dean of Research at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic adds: `As we age it becomes more difficult to carry out the basic tasks of everyday life such as eating, bathing, and dressing due to the decline in physical and cognitive function that often occur with ageing. Slowing the rate of functional decline in older adults preserves autonomy and well-being, and reduces the threat of expensive institutionalisation.1’
A study conducted in the United States has shown that older adults who receive chiropractic care (compared with those who don’t) maintain their ability to carry out their activities of daily living over several years , .
Dr Holt notes: `Every year approximately one third of older people experience one or more falls. Falls are the leading cause of injury related hospital admissions and death in this age group. We conducted a research study in New Zealand which has shown chiropractic care in a group aged 65 to 89 can significantly impact several factors that influence the prevention of falls .’
‘After twelve weeks the group who received chiropractic care had increased ability in identifying where their ankle joint was when they closed their eyes. This is likely to prevent falls, as your brain will be more accurately aware of where your foot is without you having to look at your foot while walking.’
Dr Holt and his fellow researchers in the New Zealand study also found that older adults who received 12 weeks of chiropractic care were able to take a step much faster than the control group that did not receive chiropractic care. This is an important finding, because being able to take a fast step to correct balance can assist in fall prevention. And finally, this study showed that the older adults who received the chiropractic care were able to simultaneously process visual and auditory information more accurately in their brain.
Dr Albrecht adds: `This is known to be important and relevant when it comes to preventing falls. Science has shown that as we age we appear to lose our ability to process multiple lots of sensory information accurately and that this leads to distractions that may cause falls.
`We want to encourage New Zealanders to visit their chiropractor to ensure that their spines and nervous systems are functioning well. A local NZCA chiropractor will be able to provide advice on ways to improve posture and support a healthy spine. A healthy spine and well-functioning nervous system is the key for overall health and wellbeing.’
Each year World Spine Day is observed on October 16th to encourage spinal health by disseminating information on good spinal health habits. The NZCA runs the Straighten Up New Zealand online resourcewww.straightenup.org.nz, which provides information for adults, children and healthcare professionals on ways to keep active and maintain spinal health by using the Just Start Walking and Straighten Up programmes.
Alongside professional care, the three-minute set of simple exercises recommended by Straighten Up New Zealand (SUNZwww.straightenup.org.nz) every day will also help to improve posture, stabilise core muscle groups, enhance health and prevent spinal disability.
 Weigel, Hockenberry, Bentler, Wolinsky. The comparative effect of episodes of chiropractic and medical treatment on the health of older adults. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Mar-Apr 2014;37(3):143-154.
 Weigel, Hockenberry, Wolinsky. Chiropractic use in the Medicare population: prevalence, patterns, and associations with 1-year changes in health and satisfaction with care. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Oct 2014;37(8):542-551.
 Holt, Kelly R et al, “Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care to Improve Sensorimotor Function Associated With Falls Risk in Older People: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.
Date: 6th September 2016
NEW ZEALAND RESEARCH FUND NEEDED TO REDUCE THE BURDEN OF NEURO-MUSCULO-SKELETAL CONDITIONS
A national research fund to investigate how chiropractic and other forms of complementary and integrative health care can best help to reduce the burden of neuro-musculo-skeletal conditions is vital to the country’s health research strategy, according to the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA).
In its submission to the National Health Research Strategy Development being carried out by the Ministry of Health, the NZCA says to make a significant difference to the health of New Zealanders it is important that health research is considered in its broadest context, not just the traditional medical model.
Dr Kane Albrecht chiropractor and member of the NZCA explains: `The chiropractic profession is often criticised for not having enough research to explain how it works. Historically it has been difficult for disciplines involved in complementary and integrative health care to be considered in public health research settings and gain research funding.’
But Dr Albrecht points out: ‘In spite of a lack of national funding, New Zealand is already a leading international chiropractic research hub with the award winning Centre for Chiropractic Research at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic in Auckland. The centre is dedicated to pioneering research that investigates the wide variety of reported improvements to health, wellbeing and performance while under chiropractic care.’
Funding is primarily sought from overseas; however some of the research is funded by New Zealand chiropractors and patients through the Hamblin Chiropractic
Research Fund Trust, set up by the NZCA over 30 years ago. All the proceeds from the NZCA’s partnerships, such as that with Sleepyhead Beds are directed to research projects.
Dr Albrecht adds: `Neuro-musculo-skeletal conditions are becoming more common and costly to New Zealand society. Currently, research suggests that chiropractic care is safe , effective , associated with high levels of patient satisfaction and it is a cost effective approach for managing patients with a variety of neuro-musculo- skeletal conditions . A number of studies have reported that chiropractic care is often more effective than traditional management for many spine related injuries .
‘Chiropractic care also has an enviable safety record within healthcare . Yet, to date, no public funds have been set aside to establish how chiropractic care and other forms of complementary and integrative health care can best help to reduce the burden that neuro-musculo-skeletal and other health conditions place on New Zealand society, and how it can enhance the wellbeing of New Zealanders.
`The NZCA believes if a government research fund is established that will give researchers the opportunity to explore these potential roles, it could result in a significantly positive impact on the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders over the short and long term. Having access to good evidence based practice in all fields of health care is essential.’
1 Rubinstein SM. Adverse events following chiropractic care for subjects with neck or low-back pain: do the benefits outweigh the risks? J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2008;31(6):461-4. 2 Carnes D, Mars TS, Mullinger B, et al. Adverse events and manual therapy: A systematic review. Man Ther 2010;15(4):355-63. 3 Bronfort G, Haas M, Evans RL, et al. Efficacy of spinal manipulation and mobilization for low back pain and neck pain: a systematic review and best evidence synthesis. Spine Journal: Official Journal of the North American Spine Society 2004;4(3):335-56. 4 Gaumer G. Factors associated with patient satisfaction with chiropractic care: survey and review of the literature. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2006;29(6):455-62.
5 Allen H, Wright M, Craig T, et al. Tracking low back problems in a major self-insured workforce: toward improvement in the patient's journey. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine / American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2014;56(6):604-20.
6 Hurwitz EL, Li D, Guillen J, et al. Variations in Patterns of Utilization and Charges for the Care of Low Back Pain in North Carolina, 2000 to 2009: A Statewide Claims' Data Analysis. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2016;39(4):252-62.
7 Hurwitz EL, Li D, Guillen J, et al. Variations in Patterns of Utilization and Charges for the Care of Neck Pain in North Carolina, 2000 to 2009: A Statewide Claims' Data Analysis. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2016;39(4):240-51.
8 Hurwitz EL, Vassilaki M, Li D, et al. Variations in Patterns of Utilization and Charges for the Care of Headache in North Carolina, 2000-2009: A Statewide Claims' Data Analysis. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2016;39(4):229-39.
9 Walker BF, French SD, Grant W, et al. A Cochrane review of combined chiropractic interventions for low-back pain. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2011;36(3):230-42.
10 Haas M, Sharma R, Stano M. Cost-effectiveness of medical and chiropractic care for acute and chronic low back pain. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2005;28(8):555-63.
11 Rafter N, Hickey A, Condell S, et al. Adverse events in healthcare: learning from mistakes. QJM : monthly journal of the Association of Physicians 2014.
Your choice of handbag and how you carry it may be affecting your health long term, according to the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association.
Chiropractor Kane Albrecht explains: `Regularly carrying a large, heavy bag, texting and looking down can cause an alteration in your natural posture. When you add the combination of high heels it becomes a recipe for accelerated symptoms. The heels tilt your pelvis forward and cause adaptive muscle shortening over time, predisposing you to back pain. The heavy bag over one shoulder magnifies the risk of chronic pain and neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction.
`Shoulder bags are one of the biggest issues. Your natural posture is disrupted if you carry one, and loading it with heavy items adds to the strain on your spine. It alters the way your arms and legs swing when you walk and increases tension in muscles as they work to counter-balance the weight. Long term this can make your body lopsided and affects your spinal posture. Chiropractors are highly trained in assessing and assisting with the damage that this may cause . Prevention is of course always better than cure.’
Dr Kane points out that all the weight of the bag is on one shoulder, and most people will carry their bag on their dominant side. This causes the muscles in the dominant shoulder to become bigger and chiropractors are commonly seeing people with significant asymmetry in posture, such as one shoulder higher than the other.
`This asymmetric load also causes the opposite side go into spasm to compensate as it attempts to stabilise your spine. The muscle spasm and fatigue then also affects lower down at the base of the spine, forcing all the muscles below the shoulders to work even harder’, Dr Kane adds. ‘Not only can it cause a lot of stiffness and eventually soreness in the upper back, the shoulder area and the neck, it’s been associated with a decreased curve in the neck, a pathological condition, which is known as “military neck .” Military neck, or forward head carriage, then speeds up degeneration in the spine, and this can cause many ongoing problems as we age as nerves and other tissues are affected.’
There is a longer term risk that women will develop arthritis in their lower neck, and will have difficulty turning the head. The dreaded “Dowager’s Hump” can also be a consequence. Tension headaches may also result from spasms in the shoulder and neck muscles, which may cause pain in the back of the skull that radiates around to the front. Compression or irritation to nerves supplying the arms, hands and other areas can arise with various associated symptoms.
Posture has also been shown to have an effect on many other areas of health and wellbeing beyond symptoms of pain such as mood, energy levels, self-confidence, range of motion, and change in the release of stress hormones.  Poor posture can also negatively impact on job prospects, decision making, work productivity and other areas of life.
Dr Kane advises his clients to never carry more than five percent of their body weight in a shoulder bag. He says: `You’d be surprised at how much some of us are carrying and the bag itself can weigh quite a lot on its own if it has a lot of studs and big zippers. I also look for bags with handles plus a wide strap as the strap distributes the weight over a wider area, and the handles give an option to carry the bag in your hand or over your forearm.’
He advises bags with handles or those with longer straps for crossbody wearing distribute the weight more evenly but adds: `Change things around regularly by switching to the opposite shoulder at intervals when walking so that you balance the way your body carries the weight and your muscles develop equally.’
Ground-breaking research indicates that chiropractic care may make your brain function better, according to the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA).
A collaborative study on the effects of manipulation of the spine on brain function between Denmark’s Aalborg University, the New Zealand Centre for Chiropractic Research, the Health & Rehabilitation Research Institute, AUT University and University of Ontario Institute of Technology, published earlier this year1 in the journal Neural Plasticity suggests that, at least in part, the mechanisms by which spinal manipulation improves performance are due to a change in processing of information at the prefrontal cortex.
Chiropractor Kane Albrecht explains: "The focus of chiropractic care is on the health and integrity of the nervous system. The health and function of the spine affects the entire nervous system. We already know that the spinal cord is an integral part of the central nervous system and processes information just like parts of the brain do2 and the latest New Zealand research into the effects of chiropractic care suggests that it may have an important role to play in improving executive function.’
Executive function is the mechanism by which the brain integrates and coordinates the operations of multiple neural systems to solve problems and achieve goals based on the ever-changing environment around us"3,4.
The researchers point out that executive function is considered to be a product of the coordinated operation of various neural systems and is essential for achieving any particular goal. The prefrontal cortex is believed to be the main brain structure responsible for enabling this coordination and control. It requires planning a sequence of subtasks to accomplish a goal, focusing attention on relevant information as well as inhibiting irrelevant distractors, being able to switch attention between tasks, monitoring memory, initiation of activity, and responding to stimuli5.
Dr Albrecht adds: "A change in prefrontal activity following chiropractic care may therefore explain and/or link some of the varied improvements in central nervous system function previously observed in other research, such as improved joint position sense error6, reaction time7, cortical processing8, cortical sensorimotor integration9, reflex excitability10, motor control11, and lower limb muscle strength12.
'All this research, much of it from the New Zealand College of Chiropractic Centre for Chiropractic Research13 and funded by the Australian Spinal Research Foundation strongly suggests that chiropractic care/adjustments can significantly improve brain-body communication and coordination.’
According to Dr Albrecht: 'We know that chiropractic care assists brain function in many ways, one of which is proprioceptive function (perception) and this improves the accuracy of the internal brain map so your brain accurately knows what is occurring within your body and the surrounding environment continuously. Environment relates to the processes inside the body, as well as its immediate surroundings’.
3 S. Funahashi and J. M. Andreau, “Prefrontal cortex and neural mechanisms of executive function,” Journal of Physiology Paris, vol. 107, no. 6, pp. 471–482, 2013.
4 E. E. Smith and J. Jonides, “Storage and executive processes in the frontal lobes,” Science, vol. 283, no. 5408, pp. 1657–1661, 1999.
5 D. Pineda, A. Ardila, M. Rosselli, C. Cadavid, S. Mancheno, and S. Mejia, “Executive dysfunctions in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,” International Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 96, no. 3-4, pp. 177–196, 1998
6 H. Haavik and B. Murphy, “Subclinical neck pain and the effects of cervical manipulation on elbow joint position sense,” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 88–97, 2011.
7 D. D. Kelly, B. A. Murphy, and D. P. Backhouse, “Use of a mental rotation reaction-time paradigm to measure the effects of upper cervical adjustments on cortical processing: a pilot study,” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 246–251, 2000.
8 H. Haavik-Taylor and B. Murphy, “Cervical spine manipulation alters sensorimotor integration: a somatosensory evoked potential study,” Clinical Neurophysiology, vol. 118, no. 2, pp. 391–402, 2007
9 H. H. Taylor and B. Murphy, “Altered central integration of dual somatosensory input after cervical spine manipulation,” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 178–188, 2010.
10 E. Suter, G. McMorland, W. Herzog, and R. Bray, “Conservative lower back treatment reduces inhibition in knee-extensor muscles: a randomized controlled trial,” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 76–80, 2000
11 P. Marshall and B. Murphy, “The effect of sacroiliac joint manipulation on feed-forward activation times of the deep abdominal musculature,” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 196–202, 2006.
12 B. Hillermann, A. N. Gomes, C. Korporaal, and D. Jackson, “A pilot study comparing the effects of spinal manipulative therapy with those of extra-spinal manipulative therapy on quadriceps muscle strength,” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 145–149, 2006.
13 Niazi IK, Türker KS, Flavel S, Kinget M, Duehr J & Haavik H. (2015) Changes in H reflex and V waves following spinal manipulation. Experimental Brain Research. In press. DOI: 10.1007/s0022101441935 URL link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s0022101441935