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Health Resources

Cardiovascular Safety of Pain Meds Questioned

A meta-analysis recently published in the British Medical Journal questions the safety of common pain medications.  This article, which can be found here, analyzed 31 trials which contained 116,429 patients with more than 115,000 patient years of follow-up. These trials compared one type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) to another, or to placebo. They looked for outcomes such as heart attack, stroke or death from cardiovascular disease.

They concluded that “little evidence exists to suggest that any of the investigated drugs are safe in cardiovascular terms. Naproxen seemed least harmful.” Vioxx and Prexige had the highest risk of heart attack, while ibuprofen and diclofenac showed the highest risk of stroke.

It should make us take pause that one of the most common over the counter pain medications (ibuprofen) was associated with a 3-times higher risk of stroke when compared to placebo. We need to start educating ourselves on the real risks associated with quick-fixes for pain, and start looking to treat the cause of our pain and not just the symptoms. Manual therapies such as chiropractic are a drug-free, non-surgical, safe and effective option.

The CBC has a somewhat-simplistic but interactive comparison of the 3 major over the counter pain relievers here.

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Courtenay Chiropractor.

Happy New Year!

A new year means new year’s resolutions for many. Below are some tips to increase your chances of keeping these resolutions.

• Make small short-term goals that consistently bring you closer to your long-term goal. An ambitious goal may seem unattainable until it is broken      down into small easy steps.

• If you’re making a health goal, do so with a friend. That way you have someone to keep you accountable and for support.

• Write your goals down and post them somewhere you will see them everyday, such as the bathroom sink or fridge.

• Tell as many people as you can about your resolutions, you are more apt to keep them when people know about them.

• Make a step-by-step plan that will bring you closer to your goal. Prepare yourself by acquiring all the necessary equipment.

• If you break a resolution, or fall short of your goal, don’t give up completely. Simply make another goal and carry on forwards.

• Make SMART goals: Sustainable, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.

 

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Courtenay Chiropractor.

 

Human Error to Blame for OR Deaths

I don’t normally like to reference the newspaper for any sort of health information, but I came across this article last weekend and decided to make an exception.

Based on figures from a national adverse events survey, it is estimated that up to 920 people die in BC each year from preventable human mistakes in surgery. And that is only based on reported adverse events. How many mistakes are not reported, or blamed on other issues (patient’s poor health, it was a risky surgery etc.).

This article highlights a changing tide in the public. More and more patients are starting to question the safety of hospital and surgical procedures that are performed everyday. They are looking to take a more proactive approach in their own safety in health care. Recently, the first “Empowered Patient Conference” was held in BC and was a rousing success.

In my opinion, hospital care and/or surgery is an important and valuable tool for those who need it. We are lucky in Canada to have such an excellent critical and urgent care system. However, many people head in that direction much sooner than is needed. People need to start looking at all their options and choose the least risky/invasive therapy first. I don’t think its too dramatic to say that your life may depend on it.

Vancouver Sun Medical Deaths July 01 2010

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Courtenay Chiropractor.

Sad Local Health Story

I was dismayed to learn a week ago that a military-style raid had been conducted by Health Canada and the College of Pharmacists on our local Marigold Pharmacy.  All compliance issues aside, I don’t believe that this had to go down the way it did. Marigold provides a unique service to the community, and I wish them a speedy re-opening!  You can read Marigold Pharmacy’s blog here for an account of what happened:

http://marigoldnatural.blogspot.com/

Start ‘Em Young!

I had the pleasure of participating in the local Tri-K triathlon here in Courtney a few weeks ago. I didn’t manage to get in any training beforehand, but managed to have a pretty good time along the way. If you consider burning legs and a numb bum a pretty good time.

One thing that was a pleasant surprise for me was the number of children involved in the mini version of the triathlon. Children as young as 8 years old were doing small versions of the sprint triathlon, and there was even a smaller course for 5-7 year olds. It was very apparently that parents in the Comox Valley were very proactive about passing on their love of activity to their children.

In my opinion, if there is one thing you can instill in your child in order to promote future health and well-being, it is the love of sport/activity. We exist in a society where too much food and not enough movement is leading to staggering amounts of lifestyle diseases such as Type II diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiac disease. Creating healthy habits around exercise in youth will help them to maintain a healthier lifestyle in adulthood. And it all starts locally – hats off to the organizers of the Tri-k for a fabulously run event!

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Courtenay Chiropractor.

Comox Valley Yoga

One thing I do love about the Comox Valley is the unbelievable number of fitness opportunities! Especially when it comes to yoga.

I had the opportunity to check out a hatha class with Brian Hill in Cumberland the other day. Not only was his space warm, calming and comforting but he had all the latest equipment including some things I had never seen before. The lavender scented eye pillows were a step above.

Besides teaching at his studio in Cumberland, Brian also does classes at the Lewis Centre in Courtenay. You can find all of his information and class schedules on his website at www.bhill.ca.

I really enjoyed Brian’s class – he focused on technique and positioning thereby ensuring that nobody was in danger of injuring themselves. It was the perfect level for a Sunday morning, and I left feeling awake and refreshed.

As I’ve said before, if more people took the time to do exercises that enhance stability and flexibility like yoga does, they would spend a lot less time in my office!

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Courtenay Chiropractor.

Chiropractic Care as Pain Management for Mesothelioma Patients

Chiropractic care is often sought as a form of alternative medicine and complementary care to coincide with traditional medical treatments. Many cancer patients even elect to visit a chiropractor as part of their treatment regimen.

According to the Canadian Chiropractic Association, chiropractic doctors have a deep respect for the human body’s ability to heal itself without the use of surgery or medication. These doctors devote careful attention to the biomechanics, structure and function of the spine, its effects on the musculoskeletal and neurological systems, and the role played by the proper function of these systems in the preservation and restoration of health. A doctor of chiropractic is one who is involved in the treatment and prevention of disease, as well as the promotion of public health, and a wellness approach to patient care.

Cancer patients have included chiropractic care in their course of treatment to help control pain and alleviate headaches, tension and stress. Patients interested in alternative treatment, who strongly believe in the body’s ability to heal itself, may find chiropractic care particularly appealing. Alleviating severe headaches and movement pains during cancer treatment may make the treatment process more comfortable for cancer patients, including those battling mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive type of cancer that develops in the mesothelial cells that make up the lining of the lungs, heart and abdomen. The primary cause of meosthelioma is exposure to a naturally occurring mineral known as asbestos. Mesothelioma is often difficult to treat as it is typically not diagnosed until it has reached later stages.

A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics examined the case of a 54-year-old man diagnosed with lung cancer (a cancer often related to asbestos exposure). He began seeing a chiropractor after experiencing very little pain relief one year after he underwent surgery to fight his cancer. The man experienced pain relief immediately after beginning chiropractic care and discontinued use of all pain medications after two visits to his chiropractor.

This case study provides a perfect example of how all types of health care practitioners can work together to ensure the best outcome for the patient – the main goal of any health care system.

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Courtenay Chiropractor.

The Broken Spoke saves the day!

I’d like to extend a huge “Thank You!” to Mike and Tomiko over at The Broken Spoke in Courtenay. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of frequenting this new shop, its part coffee shop, part bike shop.

The coffee shop is superb, and in my opinion ranks very high on list of good coffee shops in Courtenay. If you’re ever bored on a Saturday, swing by the shop at 2 pm for a round of “Cupping”. Its like wine tasting but with coffee. You’ll leave educated, buzzed, and with a larger appreciation for a simple cup of coffee.

As for Mike in the bike shop, I have nothing but raves. Not only did he masterfully outfit my ancient 10-speed with paniers over the lunch hour, but he also managed to adjust my bike so I no longer get nagging leg pain. As a Courtenay Chiropractor, I knew that something about the bike’s setup was causing my pain – my knee was too bent when I started my downstroke. I didn’t think I could do anything since the bike is already pretty high for me, and raising the seat wasn’t an option. Mike took the time to watch me ride on my bike and adjust the handlebars and the seat. He somehow managed to move the seat further back and it instantly got rid of my problem. 5 months of pain gone in an instant – that’s even better than I can do!

I encourage you to support a great local business and head out to The Broken Spoke. It may even entice you to dust off your bike and get out on the trails, thereby decreasing the chance you’ll end up in my office!

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.

Routine X-rays Not Needed

Following up on my previous post about the necessity of X-rays, I came across a review of the literature for low back imaging.

In 1994, the AHPR began recommending against imaging of the low back in the early stages of acute low back pain. This study was undertaken to investigate the relationship between the use of immediate X-rays for the low back and the clinical outcome of the case.

479 articles were identified and reviewed. The authors found no differences in long term and short term outcomes between those who were X-rayed immediately and those who simply received treatment.

They concluded that for patients who present with simple uncomplicated low back pain (no red flags present), X-raying their back did not lead to any greater improvements. Since there is no benefit to imaging the back, but there are draw backs (radiation exposure, cost), routine imaging should be avoided.

Ultimately, every clinician has to rationalize their decisions when it comes to the assessment and treatment of their patients. I will often explain my decision not to X-ray with the fact that the X-ray result will not change my clinical management of their case. We know already from previous studies that many things are seen on X-ray and MRI that don’t have clinical relevance and may actually confuse the issue.

If you would like to read the original article, it can be found here.

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.

Improve Your Golf Game

Proper spine flexibility and strength is essential to a good golf game. Increasing either of these variables will more than likely lead to longer drives and strokes off your game. That is why most professional golfers know that chiropractic care is a necessity to keep them healthy and give them a competitive edge.

In addition to chiropractic care, a proper warm-up and stretching can ensure you have the best day possible out on the course. I regularly refer patients to the Canadian Chiropractic Association‘s golf stretching pamphlet. These quick and easy exercises will help to prepare your body for the increased forces that occur during your game.

You can download the Golf Stretches pamphlet by clicking on the following link:

Golf Stretches

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.