|Author's Note: Each patient education article in this column is written to your patients and potential patients.It draws on research documented in Somatovisceral Aspects of Chiropractic: An Evidence-Based Approach, co-edited by Marion Todres-Masarsky, DC. Whenever possible, I have updated the material from the textbook with more recent research findings. Through New York Chiropractic College, I offer two online courses dealing with somatovisceral topics; for further information, visit www.NYCC.edu.|
As full-time practitioners in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. (Vienna, Va.), my partner and I are always interested in giving our current patients compelling reasons to refer. Among the attractive features of chiropractic care is that we can help people with many painful problems and with fewer side effects compared to drug therapy. One of the more gruesome side effects we do not give our patients is death through gastrointestinal bleeding.
The following patient education article addresses some recent research in this area. Please feel free to use it on your bulletin board, for lay lectures, and for your practice newsletter. I hope you find this article useful in stimulating referrals from your patients. Thank you in advance for your referrals when your patients visit or move to northern Virginia.
We have some good news and some bad news. The bad news comes from www.2reduce.org, a Web site co-sponsored by the American Gastroenterological Association (an association of medical doctors specializing in gastrointestinal disorders). This source tells us that an estimated 16,500 Americans will die this year from stomach bleeding due to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). An additional 103,000 will be hospitalized due to stomach bleeding or severe ulcer attacks. The NSAID category includes such common drugs as aspirin, Advil, Aleve, Motrin and Naprosyn.
As the directions on most bottles of such products clearly warn, NSAIDs are available over the counter for only one purpose: temporary relief (10 days or less). While long-term use occasionally may be justified under strict medical supervision, many people self-medicate with NSAIDs for extended periods. It is quite probable that you have at least one friend, co-worker or relative who has been taking NSAIDs on a weekly (or even a daily) basis for months or years at a time. The chances are good that this risky overuse is for relief from back pain, neck pain or headache.
Here is the good news. If you are a chiropractic patient, you are aware that back pain, neck pain and headache often are related to nerve irritation caused by misaligned or restricted spinal joints (subluxation). When adjustments help the body correct a subluxation, one frequent result is relief from these painful problems. For many people, chiropractic care can dramatically reduce NSAID dependence. You can help protect the people you care about from the danger of NSAID-related gastrointestinal injury by introducing them to chiropractic care.
The good news gets even better. Not only does chiropractic care not cause gastrointestinal disorders, but there also is evidence to suggest that it may, in fact, promote gastrointestinal health. A Russian research team studied two groups of duodenal ulcer patients.1 The first group had subluxation correction added to their usual medical regimen. A second group received standard medical care only. Ulcer remission (as measured by fiber-optic examination) took place an average of 10 days faster in the first group. This is just one study in a growing body of literature linking the correction of subluxation to relief from digestive disorders.2
So, if you are a chiropractic patient, make a referral and save a stomach. If you are not yet under chiropractic care, refer yourself. The stomach you save just might be your own!
- Pikalov AA, Kharin VV. Use of spinal manipulative therapy in the treatment of duodenal ulcer: a pilot study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1995 (Feb);18(2):117-118.
- Masarsky CS, Cremata EE. "The Alimentary Canal: A Current Chiropractic Perspective." In: Masarsky CS, Todres-Masarsky M (eds). Somatovisceral Aspects of Chiropractic: An Evidence-Based Approach. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 2001.
Click here for previous articles by Charles Masarsky, DC, FICC.