Friday, March 27, 2009

April's Blog on Health Care

April Blog Update

by Dr. John H. Riggs

Alternative Chiropractic Solutions, 570-8792


MRI STUDY OF ARTHRITIS and SCOLIOSIS/CANCER: A 10 year MRI study of neck arthritis showed worsening of the arthritis over time. The major factor seems to be age. Implications: if you have arthritis it gets worse as you get older. Another study of scoliosis showed that curves greater than 25 degrees tended to get worse. Bowel cancer has risen by 120% for under 30 year olds due to obesity and lack of exercise.


The nerves in the body can be sources of considerable pain and disability as a result of inflammation, irritation, compression, or dysfunction. In addition to its impulse transmission characteristics providing feedback to the brain and enabling movement, touch, feeling, etc., the nervous system also has mechanical characteristics. It must respond to tension, sliding and compression forces. Using these principles, a physical therapist in Australia has devised treatment methods for problems with the mechanical aspect of nerves: nerve mobilization or neurodynamics. Chiropractors in the US have been using nerve mobilization techniques as well, however, they have not established as comprehensive methods as Mr. Shaklock.

Although many neurological conditions require surgical intervention (severely herniated disc for example) many of the conditions can be treated manually thus avoiding surgery. Various nerve entrapment and inflammation syndromes for example can be effectively treated with nerve mobilization techniques. Examples are carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis (due to posterior tibial nerve pain), sciatica, radiating pain in the arms, to name a few.

My results with resolving such nerve complaints has been vastly improved using some of the principles of nerve mobilization to treat these serious conditions. Patience and perseverance is necessary for successful treatment, however, this has been one of the most successful methods of treating such things as sciatica and radiating arm pain I have ever used.

GRASTON TECHNIQUE: Also known as instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IAST), it is a form of deep tissue therapy designed to reduce and resolve scar tissue, adhesions and fibrosis in previously injured soft tissue. It also helps with inflamed and swollen soft tissue as well. Soft tissue pain is frequently associated with improper healing of soft tissue injuries. GT uses stainless steel instruments to gently break down adhesions in the soft tissue structures (muscles, tendons, ligaments) and coupled with exercises and stretches allows them to heal properly.

GT has been used successfully to treat such conditions as tennis elbow, shoulder problems, tendinitis, bursitis, and strains/sprains to name a few. Typically, treatment consists of 2 sessions a week for 3-6 weeks (allowing 2 days between sessions), followed by home stretches and exercises. The skin is prepped with a lubricant and stroking motions are used to break down adhesions and scar tissue in layers. Exercise is necessary to allow the tissue to reform without adhesions. I find the best results with tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis/bursitis, and shoulder problems.

Dr. Riggs was the first trained and certified practitioner (2003) in West Texas until recently (one other doctor). He has been using GT successfully for years.


RED MEAT AND HEALTH: March 26, 2009 — Eating red and processed meat is associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular disease mortality rates, according to the results of a large, prospective study reported in the March 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Red meat included all types of beef and pork such as bacon, beef, cold cuts, hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, and meats in pizza, lasagna, and stew. High meat consumption also increases obesity and overall health problems. The key to this study is not to preach a vegetarian diet but to recognize that moderation in one's consumption of read meats will reduce overall health risks. No one knows the long term results of the "bulking" up tactics of the meat industry (steroids, limiting movement, etc) resulting in fatter beef, etc. Red meats also are considered more pro-inflammatory. Omega 3's, on the other hand, found in cold water fish help reduce inflammation.

OVARIAN CANCER SYMPTOMS: NCCN Guidelines. In addition to a suspicious palpable mass in the abdomen, the clinical presentation also includes "symptoms such as bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency) without another obvious source of malignancy." "It's now thought that 90% of women with ovarian cancer will have these symptoms," "All women have these, but the keys are that there is a sudden onset and the frequency is about 12 times a month," he explained.

Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer include: family history of ovarian cancer, early onset breast cancers, and colorectal cancer, as well as age. Screen may include: CA-125 assay and transvaginal ultrasound. However, effective screening is a goal that has not been realized.


General symptoms of decreased blood supply to the heart: chest discomfort, pain, heaviness, fullness possibly radiating to the arm, shoulder, back, neck, jaw, epigastrium, or other location. Symptoms are increased with stress or exertion and may be relieved by rest or nitroglycerin. Shortness of breath, sweating, weakness, nausea or vomiting and lightheadedness may also occur. Chest pain is not always present and symptoms may include shortness of breath for no reason, pain in other locations, indigestion, nausea/vomiting, sweating, palpitations, generalized weakness, irregular heartbeats, fainting, fatigue, faintness or dizziness. The "absence" of chest pain or discomfort was found to be more common in women. Increasing age is an important predictor with women experiencing problems at an older age.

Blood Pressure Guidelines from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute:

Category: Systolic/Diastolic Result

Normal <120/<80>

Prehypertensive 120-139/80-89 Lose weight, increase exercise, change eating

Hypertension 140+/90+ Hypertension, talk to health care professional

Lowering blood pressure naturally. Some of the following can help lower your blood pressure.

  • increase activity

  • decrease sodium intake and what potassium (if too low increases sodium buildup)

  • minimize drinking alcohol

  • Eat healthy-decrease process and fatty foods and increase fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish , nuts, magnesium and potassium (DASH diet).

  • Stop smoking-it increases stress, depletes oxygen and increases cancer risk. There are no medical benefits to burning trash inches from your face.

  • Nutritional considerations: stevia leaf extract (supports healthy blood pressure), Hawthorne extract (supports heart and balances sodium and fluid levels), Olive leaf extract (supports healthy blood pressure), Dandelion leaf (helps reduce fluid retention), lycopene (supports arteries, circulation and heart health).

NEURONTIN: Medications have a place in health care when used for the right purposes. In a book by Melody Peterson "Our Daily Meds" her reporting on neurontin showed some of the issues of concern with medications in our society. The FDA had concerns over the effectiveness of neurontin and had concerns over its dangers for treating epilepsy. Apparently, research found it ineffective for 10 conditions it was approved for: fibromyalgia, ADD, diabetic neuropathy, chronic pain, mood disorders, migraines, and bi-polar disorder. The side effects of concern include: muscle pain, skin rash and itching, swollen glands, sore throat and fever, aggressiveness, concentration difficulty, depression, nightmares, chills, increases of certain seizures, mood/mental changes, nosebleeds and unusual bleeding or bruising and shortness of breath.

Neurontin sales have been about 2.7 billion. Yet, many of the sales involved off label uses which were apparently promoted by drug sales personnel. This has resulted in lawsuits. In 2004 Pfizer plead guilty to charges of healthcare fraud (DOJ investigation). Corporate executives apparently pushed off label usage seeking increased sales profits. 80-90% of the profits for the drug were off-label. The fine imposed was the second-largest for health care fraud in the U.S. A new lawsuit was filed in October 2008 alleging misdeads beyond the original charges including deception, suppression of scientific truth, manipulating trial designs and making the drug appear more effective than it was.

To me, this is along the lines of other corporate issues of ethics. A focus on profit no matter the cost or result.

1 comment:

  1. Hi doc!

    I came across this post while doing research for a few blog entries of my own. I just wanted to share that I've also seen great success with the instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization techniques like Graston and SASTM. I couldn't practice without it.

    Here's the link to my posts: