Older Americans Taking More Medications

What is Polypharmacy? Can Chiropractic Care Reduce My Need For Medication?

The headline above comes from a March 21, 2016, Reuters news story published in response to a pre-released study on this subject published in the April 2016 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine. This article, and several others on this same subject, reported on the growing usage of medication by the increasing elderly population.

Older Americans Taking More Medications - Austin Texas Chiropractor help for car accident injuryThe study showed that 87.7% of the population 62 to 85 years old used at least one prescription medication in 2010-2011. This was up from 84.1% in 2005-2006. Even more alarming was that the study showed that people using five or more prescription medications increased from 30.6% to 35.8% in the same five year period.

The Reuters article begins by noting that people using multiple medications, known as polypharmacy, was associated with an increase in major drug interactions in older Americans. Dr. Dima M. Qato, the study’s lead author from the University of Illinois at Chicago, commented, “That’s a concern from a public health standpoint, because it’s getting worse.”

The study showed that because of the increase in polypharmacy, the percentage of people at risk for serious or even life-threatening drug interaction has gone from 8 percent in 2005-2006 to 15 percent in 2011-2012.

Dr. Qato also stated in a CBS interview on this issue, “Many of these potentially deadly drug interactions involve prescription and non-prescription medications and supplements that are not commonly used, but are increasingly being used by older adults. While it is not known how many older adults in the U.S. die of drug interactions, the risk seems to be growing and public awareness is lacking.”

“It is time to take the next leap forward. We need to create systems that support an ongoing process of monitoring medications,” said Michael A. Steinman, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, in an accompanying editorial. “Such systems would help us periodically assess the benefits, harms and ongoing need for each of a patient’s medications, as well as the reasonableness of the medication regimen as a whole. These systems could also help physicians with deprescribing, for example by supporting gradual down-titration of a medication and monitoring patients for adverse drug withdrawal reactions after a drug is stopped.”

“As much as we need to support reforms in medication monitoring, we seriously need to examine the culture of taking so many medications,” says Robert Braile D.C. chairman of the International Chiropractors Association Public Relations Committee. “Americans represent about 5% of the world’s population, yet we consume about 50% of the prescription medication in the world. This, coupled with the fact that the U.S. ranks far below many other nations in almost all health statistics except spending, should lead us to question whether or not the culture of a pill for every ill is a healthy and prudent direction.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.


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Medicare Patients Using Chiropractic Reduce Costs

Is Chiropractic Care Cost Effective? By Seeing A Chiropractor Can I Avoid Surgery?

The January 2016 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics published a study titled, The Association Between Use of Chiropractic Care and Costs of Care Among Older Medicare Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain and Multiple Comorbidities. The study showed that patients on Medicare who used chiropractic care decreased overall costs compared to those who did not seek chiropractic.

Medicare Patients Using Chiropractic Reduce Costs - Austin TX Chiropractor Personal Injury from Car and Truck AccidentsThe study’s objective was to determine if seeing a chiropractor saved money in healthcare expenses for Medicare beneficiaries. Researchers conducted a retrospective review of services for chiropractic care on Medicare patients between the years of 2006 and 2012.

The study reported the results of 72,326 Medicare beneficiaries who were 66 years or older and had chiropractic services that were covered by Medicare. Medicare currently only pays for chiropractic care for adjustments of subluxations.

The study compared the cost of total care for patients who received just chiropractic, with those who received chiropractic and medical care, and those who only received medical care without chiropractic. The study also only reviewed those who were seen for chronic lower back problems in order to have consistency in comparing results.

The results of the study showed that those patients who only received chiropractic care had the lowest costs for the care for their problem. This highest cost of care were those who only received medical care. Those who received chiropractic also had a much lower chance of having spinal surgery. Additionally, those who only received chiropractic care had a better outcome in a shorter period of time.

In response to this study, Dr George Curry, president of the International Chiropractors Association commented, “This study highlights the fact that those who receive chiropractic save money on healthcare expenditures. Although this study specifically looked at Medicare patients who were suffering from lower back issues, it should not be a far leap to extrapolate this out to a number of health issues that people seek chiropractic for. Chiropractic care should be viewed as a real solution to the spiraling costs of medical care.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.


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NIH Report Says Spinal Manipulation Unlikely to Cause Stroke

Does Chiropractic Care Cause Strokes? Is Chiropractic Dangerous?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a report stating that chiropractic care is unlikely to cause stroke as some opponents of chiropractic care have asserted. The report was based on a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics on January 14, 2015.

Spinal Manipulation Unlikely to Cause Stroke | Austin TX ChiropractorThe NIH report, first published January 14, and updated on March 3, 2015, starts by stating, “An analysis of Medicare claims data from older Americans who sought care for neck pain from chiropractors suggests that cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke.” This newest study adds to the growing body of scientific evidence that shows that chiropractic care is safe and does not increase the risk of stroke. The NIH report further noted, “This is the first population-based study in the United States to examine the risk of stroke after spinal manipulation and the first such study on older adults.”

The study was conducted by researchers from Dartmouth College and the Southern California University of Health Sciences and was supported by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The authors note that this study research plan was reviewed and approved by the Dartmouth College Committee for Protection of Human Subjects.

Researchers reviewed 1.1 million Medicare claims from 2006 through 2008. Cases included in the data were all Medicare patients ages 66 to 99 who had a diagnosis of neck pain and who had visited either a chiropractor or a medical doctor for that condition.  The researchers then checked the records to see how many of these patients had suffered a stroke within 7 days or within 30 days of their visit to either provider.

The results of this study showed that the rate of vertebrobasilar stroke, the type of stoke some had tried to suggest was associated with chiropractic adjustments, is extremely rare. The researchers noted that when reviewing the data for all types of strokes, there was no statistical risk shown when comparing Medicare patients who went to medical doctors or chiropractors for the complaint of neck pain.

In their conclusion, the researchers noted how small the risk of stroke was for seniors under chiropractic care and summed up the results by saying, “Chiropractic cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke in patients aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain.”

Dr. Michael McLean, a practicing chiropractor and president of the International Chiropractors Association commented, “For many years, there have been opponents to chiropractic who have tried to falsely claim that chiropractic is dangerous. The facts show that chiropractic is the safest form of healthcare available.” Dr. McLean further noted, “While no procedure in healthcare is 100 percent risk free, this well-done large study should finally put to rest any speculation that chiropractic care creates an increased risk for stroke.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from having your nervous system functioning without interference, please call our office at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.

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Injury Risk with Chiropractic 76% Lower Compared to Primary Care Physicians – Study Shows

How Safe Is My Primary Care Doctor? How Safe Is Chiropractic?

A study published in the medical journal Spine on Dec. 9, 2014, showed that among Medicare beneficiaries, a visit to the chiropractor was much safer than a visit to the primary care physician.  A second study published by Hindawi Publishing on Dec. 25, 2014, showed that there was no evidence of injury after chiropractic adjustments.

In the study published in Spine, researchers reviewed records for Medicare beneficiaries who had gotten chiropractic care in 2007 looking for reports of injuries. Specifically, they reviewed records for “…older adults with a neuromusculoskeletal complaint, to evaluate risk of injury to the head, neck or trunk following an office visit for chiropractic spinal manipulation, as compared to office visit for evaluation by primary care physician.”

Injury Risk with Chiropractic 76% Lower Compared to Primary Care Physicians | Austin TX ChiropractorThe results of this study clearly showed that a visit to the chiropractor who performed an adjustment was safer than a visit to the medical physician for an evaluation. The study did not take into account the possible increased risk for any form of medical treatment or drugs as the medical comparison was only done on “…those evaluated by a primary care physician.”

The study reviewed the records for up to seven days after either the chiropractic or medical visit.  In calculating the risk of injury for both the medical visit and the chiropractic visits, the researchers reported that “The cumulative probability of injury in the chiropractic cohort was 40 injury incidents per 100,000 subjects, as compared to 153 incidents per 100,000 subjects in the primary care cohort.”  This showed that although no form of healthcare is totally without some small risk, chiropractic care was much safer.

In their conclusions the authors wrote, “Among Medicare beneficiaries aged 66-99 with an office visit risk for a neuromusculoskeletal problem, risk of injury to the head, neck or trunk within 7 days was 76% lower among subjects with a chiropractic office visit as compared to those who saw a primary care physician.”

In the second study published by Hindawi researchers performed a “randomized controlled trial” to look at blood-work after chiropractic adjustments, to see if there were any chemical changes that would normally be present after spinal injury.  They compared these results to a control group that received placebo or fake adjustments.

The results showed no indications of increased levels of any chemicals that would have been present if the subjects were injured. From these results the researchers concluded: “Our data show no changes in any of the studied damage markers. Although this study examined the outcomes in an asymptomatic population, lower cervical and thoracic manipulative techniques seem to be safe manual therapies techniques which cause no harm to the health of the subject. These data may be used as evidence of the safe application of spinal manipulation to healthy subjects.”

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