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Dr. Steve's Blog

Arthritis, Opioids – Truth, Myth, Help

Opioids.  If you haven’t been affected by them personally, chances are you know someone who has.  There is no denying the problems these medications are causing.  How did we get here? 

One of the most widespread conditions we face in our country today is chronic degenerate arthritis.  The word “Arthritis” causes a fear response with most people.  Over the years, I’ve come to conclude that people visualize swollen, painful, twisted fingers, being hunched over at the waist and eventually ending up in a wheelchair.  But what does it actually mean?

The dictionary states, “Painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints.” 

According to the Arthritis Foundation, “arthritis” is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. 

According to Dr. Steve and Word Origin and History in the dictionary, “Arth” means “pertaining to the joints, “and “itis” means “inflammation or disease of”.  So Arthritis means literally, “Joint inflammation”. 

According to Mayo Clinic, “Using low levels of radiation to visualize bone, X-rays can show cartilage loss, bone damage and bone spurs. X-rays may not reveal early arthritic damage, but they are often used to track progression of the disease.”  Mar 7, 2018

So the big question is, “Can my doctor tell me based on x-ray alone that I have Arthritis?”  Not really.  It is important to be thorough and look for presence of inflammatory markers in the blood such as elevated CRP, sed rate, ANA, etc. 

According to Dr. Cohn at the Born Clinic in Grand Rapids, MI, “Anyone can have "˜arthralgias' "“ joint pains "“at any time in their life. Virtually everyone who has been diagnosed with "˜arthritis' "“ inflammation of the joints "“can assume that they will have pain in the affected joints occasionally, frequently, or even constantly. At least, that's what the public has been led to believe.  The truth is there are many types of arthritis and many causes for arthralgias that have nothing to do with arthritis…  What I would like to emphasize, however, is that being diagnosed with arthritis is not only frequently an inaccurate label foisted upon you by your clinician, but even the presence of true, clinical arthritis does not mean you will have pain or immobility for the rest of your life.”

How does the medical world typically deal with this condition?  Medication of course!  For example, that “Arthritis Foundation” that I referenced previously?  It is a non-profit.  Of course there is an ad on their pain management page for Olumiant, XelJanz  XR and Humira medications.

Their event sponsors include Aleve and CVS Specialty.  Special Project Sponsors include Ferring Pharmaceuticals.  Their Partners for a better living are Aleve and CVS.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not about to partner with Aleve and CVS for better living for my family.

How does this tie in to the Opioid crisis?  Many drugs used to manage pain, especially chronic pain such as associated with Arthritis, are classified as Opioids.  Here is a list of examples:

  • Codeine (only available in generic form)
  • Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Abstral, Onsolis)
  • Hydrocodone (Hysingla, Zohydro ER) 
  • Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Morphabond)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxaydo)
  • Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet)
  • Oxycodone and naloxone

If you or someone you know are currently taking any of these medications, be aware that these are there are potentially dangerous consequences.  According to Mayo Clinic, At lower doses, opioids may make you feel sleepy, but higher doses can slow your breathing and heart rate, which can lead to death. And the feelings of pleasure that result from taking an opioid can make you want to continue experiencing those feelings, which may lead to addiction.”

Our suggestion?  Well of course I’m biased, but aside from that Chiropractic have proven to be an effective treatment method in helping people to break the cycle of pain associated with arthritis.  The starting point that leads too much of the damage is fixation or lack of joint mobility.  Chiropractic care aids in the restoration of joint motion which can slow down if not stop the process of joint breakdown and break the cycle of pain.  There are other things that should be done when working with arthritis such as appropriate supplementation.  My choices are Curcumin and a high-potency fish oil, which I take on a daily basis. These are two of many quality supplements that we offer at our office. 

A 2010 report issued by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found spinal manipulation is as effective as medication for low back pain. The same year, a British analysis of nearly 100 high-quality systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials found that manipulation was beneficial for acute and chronic low back pain, neck pain and knee osteoarthritis. And a 2013 study published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage found that patient education combined with 12 chiropractic treatments (twice a week for six weeks) were more effective for hip OA than a daily stretching program or patient education alone. Reports from the chiropractor-led spine program at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Plymouth, Mass., are also positive: Most patients with bad backs experience significant pain relief in about five visits. 

http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/chiropractic-for-arthritis/ 

References

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/diagnosis.../drc-20350777

https://www.fshealth.com/blog/problem-x-rays-diagnosis-arthritis

See the USA Today story on the CDC Guidelines: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/03/15/cdc-issues-new-guidelines-opiate-prescribing-reduce-abuse-overdoses/81809704/

The Guidelines can be accessed here: http://www.cdc.gov/media/modules/dpk/2016/dpk-pod/rr6501e1er-ebook.pdf

To view the consumer focused version of this article, visit the MIBackHealth blog posting here: http://www.mibackhealth.com/#!CDC-to-Doctors-Avoid-Prescribing-Opiates-for-Chronic-Pain/xut63/56f946350cf2eb66d96ffbdb

Walking on water

October 11, 2018

Imagine driving along when the check engine light comes on in your car.  The light has been coming on here and there, but this time it’s not going off.  Luckily you’re not far from your mechanic so you pull in.  The mechanic greets you with the typical small talk and you explain what made you stop.  You admit that this isn’t the first time this has happened, but this time seems different.  Of course you’re worried about the cost, but you cannot live without your car. 

The mechanic comes over, places his hands on the hood of your car, looks at you and says, “Ah, I know exactly what the problem is.” 

What would you say?  Would you let him work on your car without looking under the hood?  Not me!!!

Many times in the past we have received phone calls from someone new to our office yet not new to Chiropractic.  They “just want to get adjusted”, but don’t want to have an exam or x-rays.  Believe me I understand that they have been seeing another Chiropractor for sometimes many years, but I’ve never seen them.  So without looking under the hood, I’d be guessing and I’m sorry but in healthcare there is no room for guessing.  I simply won’t do it.  Often these callers say thanks, but no thanks and find another office who will cut corners.  That is their choice.  I can still sleep at night knowing that I have held true to my promise to deliver the best care possible to each patient. 

So next time you see or feel your “check engine” light come on, please let someone check under the hood.  Doctors are good, but we’re not that good.  There is only one that can see inside us all and it’s not me.  The last time I tried to walk on water – I got wet!

Hunters, here’s your doctor’s note!

October 1, 2018

Have you ever heard of “Forest Bathing”?  No, I don’t mean taking a bath in the woods.  I don’t need to be called in for an expert witness for your defense in that case!  Research is backing up what we hunters have been saying for years.  Being in the woods is good for the soul.

Here is some information directly from the Shinrin-yoku website: 

Shinrin-yoku is a term that means "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing." It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. Researchers primarily in Japan and South Korea have established a robust body of scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time under the canopy of a living forest. Now their research is helping to establish Shinrin-yoku and forest therapy throughout the world.  The idea is simple: if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved.  We have always known this intuitively. But in the past several decades there have been many scientific studies that are demonstrating the mechanisms behind the healing effects of simply being in wild and natural areas.  For example, many trees give off organic compounds that support our “NK” (natural killer) cells that are part of our immune system's way of fighting cancer.

The scientifically-proven benefits of Shinrin-yoku include:

  • Boosted immune system functioning, with an increase in the count of the body's Natural Killer (NK) cells.
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved mood
  • Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD
  • Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness
  • Increased energy level
  • Improved sleep

Just as impressive are the results that we are experiencing as we make this part of our regular practice:

  • Deeper and clearer intuition
  • Increased flow of energy
  • Increased capacity to communicate with the land and its species
  • Increased flow of eros/life force
  • Deepening of friendships
  • Overall increase in sense of happiness

Go to a Forest. Walk slowly. Breathe. Open all your senses. This is the healing way of Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy,  the medicine of simply being in the forest 

For specific research (in other words, if your wife doesn’t believe you) visit the Association of Nature & Forrest Therapy Guides and Programs website.  Happy bathing!


Knowledge Right Under Your Nose!
April 14, 2014

Where do we have to go to find the best of what we are looking for? Let me help you understand where I am going with this.

Why does everyone think that the further we get away from our home, the better things are? For example, how many people recently went on spring break? Many drove 24 hours plus to the south while thankfully, we had great weather right here too! We were able to spend some great quality time with our family, and my wife and I were able to get some great bike rides in too. We have some amazing museums, zoos and many other attractions right here in West Michigan. Don't get me wrong, I hope the people that traveled did so safely and enjoyed themselves too, but I was thankful that I didn't have that long drive and all the extra expense to contend with.

Here's another example: We have a cottage on the lower Muskegon River called Logan's Run. Now if you are from the area, I'm sure you know about the Muskegon River. But do you really know how popular that river is? Since we have rented this place out, we have had people stay there from California, Colorado, Texas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Canada and the Virgin islands! How many people you know have traveled to any of those states to go fishing? Well guess what, we have world-class fishing right here in our back yard! But it's just the Muskegon River, right? We take it for granted because it is so close, but I can assure you that it is very well known nationwide along with the Pere Marquette, the AuSable and many other great bodies of water that we have close by.

The difficulty that I run into most often in practice is getting people to follow my advice. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to call myself an expert, but thankfully I have been blessed with quite a background of knowledge and experience that has allowed me to help many people. I have one main purpose in practice - help sick people get well. The other thing that I am thankful for is the fact that with many things, I don't HAVE to be an expert, I just have to know how and where to access the experts. In other words, I do my research. My motto is, "In God we trust, everybody else bring data." Am I an expert in some things? I think I can say yes. I have four National Certifications that say I am. But these are the tools in my tool belt that I use every week to serve my patients. I worked very hard to earn them to support my purpose.

The other very valuable tool that I can use is natural supplements. There are an amazing amount of quality, natural supplements to support people on the way to achieving their healthcare goals. The key is to match the supplement to the needs of the patient. We have been using supplements for many years with great success. I believe what is valuable for patients to know is that not only our staff, but also myself and my family all use the supplements that we recommend to patients. In other words, I believe, "Don't expect your patients to do something that you wouldn't do for yourself." I do exercise, I do use supplements, I do sleep on the pillow and the bed I recommend, and yes I do get my spine checked nearly once a week.

So don't be afraid to look around and recognize the fact that maybe some of the people in your town, your friends or family may actually be experts. Then do something revolutionary - listen to them! Take their expert advice to heart. It's ok! It may change your life.


The Lux of My Life
March 5, 2014

I thought a great name for this blog could be The "Lux" of my Life. Now everyone knows that the Love of my life is my wife Wendy and our two amazing boys, Ty and Morgan.


The Lux of my life is the Subluxation Complex. This is the foundation of Chiropractic. In the philosophy of Chiropractic that I was taught, Lux is a Greek word meaning "light". The root of the word, "Sub" means, "less than or under", while "tion, or ation" means "the condition of". So the true meaning of Subluxation is, "the condition of less light". It suppresses your life force. It decreases the quality of life. It decreases the quantity of life. That's right, Chiropractic was not founded on managing neck pain or low back pain. Thank you, Lord! If that were the case I might as well be handing out band-aids and pain pills. Chiropractic is much more than that. It is about restoring function where it has been lost. It is about giving people their lives back. It is about health care without toxicity and harmful side-effects. It's about what I have heard from some patients recently: I don't want to lose my job, I need to be able to take care of my children, I just want to be able to run again, I want to be able to play golf, I want to throw the baseball with my son, there's no one else who can run my business, or I have to take care of my ageing husband/wife. That's what Chiropractic is to me.

We are affected by light in other ways as well. When we have sunlight stimulation on our foreheads, for example, our Pituitary glands produce Vitamin D3. That helps keep us happy and healthy. Even more cool than that is the research that has been done on cold laser therapy. Scientists have been able to prove that cells have the ability to absorb photon energy from the light produced by the cold laser. When the Mitochondria of the cell is exposed to this light source of photon energy, it in turn creates energy. This energy in turn helps the healing and repair of the cell. How amazing is it that there are cells deep in our bodies that have the ability to do something so powerful! Light is vital to our vitality.

We all have been given gifts. I was entrusted with the precious gift of locating and correcting areas of neurological interference in the spine that is preventing people from being happy and healthy. What a blessing!

We fix the spine, God does the rest. Isn't it time you experienced Life?

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5795 Balsam Dr. | Hudsonville, MI 49426

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Monday:

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