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The above statement sums up the headlines of a Reuters article by Maggie Fox appearing January 30, 2006. The article is based on a statement by the American College of Physicians (ACP) who warn that, "Primary care is on the verge of collapse." In a statement by that organization they continue, "Very few young physicians are going into primary care and those already in practice are under such stress that they are looking for an exit strategy."
Dr. Bob Doherty, senior vice president for the American College of Physicians wants more focus on health instead of what they call, "just-in-time" care. He highlighted the problems with an example, "Medicare will pay tens of thousands of dollars...for a limb amputation on a diabetic patient, but virtually nothing to the primary care physician for keeping the patient's diabetes under control."
Income also plays a part in the decline of Primary Care physicians. The ACP statement noted that, "Primary care physicians -- the bedrock of medical care for today and the future -- are at the bottom of the list of all medical specialties in median income compensation."
The ACP is calling for a number of reforms. One of those reforms includes using e-mail to consult on minor and routine matters. This would free up more expensive office visit time for when it is needed. The group is then suggesting that doctors be compensated for any e-mail consultations.
Many believe that the chiropractic profession has offered an avenue of wellness care long sought after in medical primary care. In response to these articles International Chiropractors Association Executive Director Ronald M. Hendrickson stated, "The massive decline in the availability of primary care medical physicians will force the system, and encourage the consumer, to look at other approaches to health and other care pathways." The ICA Executive continues, "The chiropractic profession offers a powerful, proven and highly cost-effective resource, since doctors of chiropractic are well-trained and exceptionally well equipped to provide drugless, non-surgical care that can contribute significantly to the prevention, early intervention and the natural resolution of the health care needs of millions."
A study published in the September-October 2009 Journal of Science and Healing showed that chiropractic care for children is safe. The study showed that the primary reason that most children went to the chiropractor was "wellness care."
The study involved surveying both Doctors of Chiropractic who took care of children and parents who brought their children to chiropractors. In the survey of the doctors the results showed that out of 577 children under the age of 18, with a total of 5,438 office visits, there were only three minor adverse events reported. In the survey of parents of 239 children under chiropractic care, there were only 2 minor adverse events reported. The study noted that the adverse events were minor discomfort after the adjustment and were readily resolved with continued adjustments.
Of those children who were brought to the chiropractor for health issues, the most common symptoms noted in the study were muscular conditions, ear, nose, throat, respiratory and digestive disorders. Both parents and doctors indicated a high rate of improvement with the children's presenting health issues. In addition to these improvements, the doctors and parents also reported better sleeping patterns, improvements in behavior, and improved immune system function while under chiropractic care.
Dr. Joel Alcantara, International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) Research Director and author of this study said, "This paper shows the preliminary results of the ICPA's Children's PBRN (practice-based research network) Phase One". Dr. Alcantra then continued, "Phase Two is well under way and we have initiated similar research pertinent to pregnancy. We are pleased that a major CAM (complimentary and alternative medicine) Journal respects the importance of chiropractic care for children and we foresee greater collaboration with the CAM community on the importance of chiropractic care for children."
Dr. Renny M. Edelson, one of the Doctors of Chiropractic who participated in the study summed up the enthusiasm of the study results by saying, "It is wonderful to see research substantiating the safety of chiropractic care for children and the overwhelming satisfaction of parents with children under care."
n the April 20, 2009 issue of the scientific journal, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, was a case study report of a young girl who had signs of cerebellar ataxia that were completely eliminated with chiropractic care. Cerebellar ataxia is a disorder that results in balance and coordination problems.
In this case a 7 year old girl was brought to a chiropractic clinic for health and wellness. In the course of examination tests were performed that showed a brain malfunction consistent with cerebellar ataxia. Chiropractic care was initiated for the presence of vertebral subluxations. The young girl was seen weekly in the initial stages of care. By the fourth adjustment the patient was re-tested and the specific findings of cerebellar ataxia were gone.
Author of the paper, Dr. Nicoleta Borcean explained this case by noting, "Basic science research shows that the proper development and function of the brain relies on proper structure and movement of the spine from an early age."
She continued, "It makes perfect sense when you think about it" stated Dr. Borcean. "The brain constantly needs and wants to know where our body is in space. If there is interference with the neurological communication between the spine and the brain all sorts of malfunctions can occur."
Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health added, "There are very important functional relationships between the spine and the brain that if disturbed can result in a host of problems with how the brain functions". According to McCoy "Childrens nervous systems need the constant stimulation of movement in order to develop and function properly. Abnormal position or movement of the spinal vertebra can develop and this can lead to nerve interference. It is this interference, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct."
The Chiropractic profession has long stressed the importance of a healthy spine for overall health and wellness. Now a study published in the August 16, 2004 issue of the scientific periodical, The Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, (JVSR) has shown that spinal hygiene actually does improve the measurement of quality of life.
According to the published study, "Spinal hygiene is defined as patient-active principles and/or practices conducive to producing a healthy spinal column and nervous system and preventing vertebral subluxations. This includes: improving posture, promoting proper exercise, making healthy nutritional choices, guidance in stress reduction, ergonomics, emphasis upon the patient's self-responsibility and appropriate professional spinal evaluation and care."
In the study a group of volunteer chiropractic students took a spinal hygiene class. These students were then compared to a group who did not take such a class. The results were then measured using two predetermined scientific formats for measuring quality of life known as the "Rand SF-36 Health Survey and the Global Well-Being Scale".
The results showed that the students who participated in the spinal hygiene class showed significant improvement in a wide area of quality of life parameters. This was noted both in comparison against their scores before they took the spinal hygiene class as well as in comparison with the group that did not take the class.
The researchers summed up their study by concluding, "The practice of spinal hygiene procedures shows great promise in the vital area of improvement of quality of life. In a society where obesity and sedentary living are pandemic and spinal health is deteriorating, it is hoped that as health care practitioners these students will share and model positive spinal and neurological health behaviors to their patients and communities."
The August 04, 2005 Business Wire ran story about backpack safety and chiropractic.
Dr. Kassie Donoghue, president of the California Chiropractic Association (CCA) states, "As the mother of an elementary school aged child, I know the pressure that comes from kids who want a certain cartoon character or color. As a doctor, I want to do what's most important for my child's long term health." She continued, "Before going out to buy a backpack, it's helpful to talk to your kids about the type of backpack you want to buy. By following a few simple guidelines, you can help your child choose a backpack they like and avoid serious back problems."
When choosing a backpack for your child the CCA made some simple suggestions to look for. They include:
"This is an important issue for doctors of chiropractic because we focus on wellness and preventative care," said Dr. Donoghue. "Our job is to help prevent health problems and that's why doctors of chiropractic are so concerned about children carrying backpacks that don't fit well or that are too heavy."
Dr. John Maltby, President of the International Chiropractors Association added, "Nothing is more important than the health and proper function of a child's nervous system. The spine houses a major part of the nervous system, the spinal cord. A healthy spine free of subluxations is essential for nervous system function. Backpacks when carried improperly, or overloaded can be a major form of stress on a young developing spine, create subluxations, and can have serious effects on nerve system function and general health."