2011 – February Newsletter

Posted on: February 1st, 2011



February Healthy Living Newsletter    

Put down your snow shovel, grab a warm drink and relax for a bit. Here’s this month’s newsletter.  When you done reading please forward this newsletter to your friends.  Then call Anne and get in for an adjustment before the snow gets the better of you! 

One in Five Adults Has Arthritis

Almost 50 million Americans (22.2% of adults 18 and older) have physician-diagnosed arthritis, a total that’s expected to rise in the coming decades, according to the CDC. Of those, one in ten report having activity limitations related to their arthritis.  Analysts found that women were more likely to report having a diagnosis of arthritis than men and that the obese are more likely to have the condition than those of normal weight. 


Our approach to treating the effects of osteoarthritis include joint movement, physical therapy and nutritional support.  One of my favorites is a combination of glucosamine, fish oil and herbs like boswella and turmeric.



Why Back Surgery Fails So Often

I’ve often told patients with disc herniations that if we can manage them through the acute phase of inflammation they will get better without surgery.  Here’s why:  Researchers from Duke University show that back pain is usually caused by a person’s immunity attacking the disc in the same way that it attacks invading germs, not by a broken disc pressing on a nerve. They found that people with back pain associated with damaged discs have high levels of Interleukin-17, produced by your immune lymphocytes and known to cause asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

The natural history of back pain from “disc disease” usually starts after you hurt your back. You often appear to recover after several weeks or months of pain. However, the back pain can recur any time later, even many years after your original back problem.

The bones of your spine are separated by pads called discs . When you hurt your back, you can crack the outer layers of a disc, so the softer inner layers protrude through the cracks into the spinal canal. The softer inner layers of a disc normally are not exposed to the immune system. So the human immune system does not recognize it as self and attacks it in the same way that it attacks invading bacteria and viruses. The protruding inner portions of the disc then swell to press against nearby nerves to cause pain. This research implies that the immune reaction that attacks the protruding broken inner portion of the disc causes the disc to swell and press on nerves.


If this is true, future treatment for disc disease may be to inhibit the inflammation of this immune response. This would allow the treatment to reduce pain without blocking the body’s ability to prevent infections and tumors. Either way, surgery for “disc disease of the back” has among the highest failure rates of any surgery today.


February 2011


 Too many people resign themselves to living with chronic pain or relying on a steady diet of medication to get through the day.  I believe there is a better way. 


We offer a knowledgeable diagnosis and evaluation with actual hands-on care, along with lifestyle counseling, focused on your well being.”


Dr. Brian Baker






 133 Reef Road  Fairfield, CT





Starting with Chiropractic Saves 40% on Low Back Pain Care

A new study finds that low back pain care initiated with a doctor of chiropractic (DC) saves 40 percent on health care costs when compared with care initiated through a medical doctor (MD). The study, featuring data from 85,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield beneficiaries, concludes that insurance companies that restrict access to chiropractic care for low back pain treatment may inadvertently pay more for care than they would if they removed such restrictions.

The study looked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee’s intermediate and large group fully insured population over a two-year span. The insured study population had open access to MDs and DCs through self-referral, and there were no limits applied to the number of MD/DC visits allowed and no differences in co-pays.

Results show that paid costs for episodes of care initiated by a DC were almost 40 percent less than care initiated through an MD. After risk-adjusting each patient’s costs, researchers still found significant savings in the chiropractic group. They estimated that allowing DC-initiated episodes of care would have led to an annual cost savings of $2.3 million for BCBS of Tennessee.


Osteoporosis Drugs Linked to Atypical Femur Fractures

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will consider revising the labels of the osteoporosis drugs bisphosphonates (Fosomax, Boniva, etc) in light of a new report stating that long-term bisphosphonate use may increase the risk for unusual femur fracture. 


The report was issued by a task force assembled by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. The task force reviewed 310 cases involving atypical femur fractures and found that 94% of the patients had taken bisphosphonates, most for more than 5 years. The majority experienced telltale pain in their groin and thigh weeks or months before a fracture occurred.


The task force recommended that even though atypical femur fractures are rare, the labels of bisphosphonates should be revised to warn about this possible risk.  Along those lines, new diagnostic and procedural codes are needed for atypical femur fractures to improve case reporting and analysis, according to the task force.


To prevent atypical femur fractures, the task force issued the following guidance:

  •  Patients at low risk for osteoporosis-related fractures “should not be started on [bisphosphonates].”
  • When patients have osteoporosis in the spine and normal or only moderately reduced femoral neck or  total hip bone mineral density, clinicians could consider alternative treatments, depending on the severity of the patient’s condition.
  • Clinicians should annually reevaluate the continued use of bisphosphonate therapy after 5 years.

I have been using an an on-line tool called FRAX that can help assess the fracture risk of my patients.  Let me know if you’re interested in learning your risk score.



9 in 10 Students Text in Class

This tidbit about students in 2010 was reported by the Associated Press who got it from a study completed at Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The details:

9 of 10 texted during class.

1 of 10 has texted during an exam.

3 in 100 have cheated during an exam using texting.

62 of 100 students see texting during class as “their right”.

Institutions and faculty are responding to this reality in different ways. Some faculty will simply walk out when someone in the class pulls out a phone. Some will flunk a student who simply handles a cell phone during an exam, while others simply drone on and could care less



Humor and Fun




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