Neck surgery creates permanent impairment of motion
How many times have you heard someone say, “I have a pinched nerve in my neck and I have to have surgery.” There are certainly cases where surgery is required, but surgery should ONLY be considered after ALL non-surgical treatment approaches have been tried first (and they have failed). Paul C. McAfee, MD states that “lumbar spine fusion surgery is generally not recommended until a patient has tried 6 to 12 months of adequate non-surgical care.” It is alarming to me how many cases of surgical radiculopathy (a “pinched nerve”) end up being surgically treated with NO trial of non-surgical care. Hence, this blog post will focus on research that clearly demonstrates that neck surgery does not improve the long-term outcomes of patients with chronic neck pain.
Chronic Neck Pain
Chronic neck pain is, by definition, neck pain that has been present for a minimum of three months. This category of neck pain is very well represented, since many of the neck pain sufferers that I see have had their neck pain “for years,” or at least longer than three months. Depending upon the intensity of pain and its effect on a person’s ability to go about their daily activities, many people with chronic neck pain will ask their primary care doctor, “Is there anything surgically that can be done?” The desire for a “quick fix” is the common focus for those suffering with neck pain.Unfortunately, according to recent studies there may not be a quick fix, or at least surgery is NOT the answer.
The December 2012 issue of The European Spine Journal reports that spine surgery did not improve the outcomes for patients with chronic neck pain. They additionally pointed to other studies that revealed some very strong reasons NOT to have spine surgery unless every other conservative attempt to control pain had failed. One reason was a higher hospital re-admission rate after spine surgery. Another was that most studies on surgical vs. conservative care showed a high risk of bias, suggesting the research on surgical intervention was biased in the research approach used. They further reported, “The benefit of surgery over conservative care is not clearly demonstrated.” It is important to point out to you, the reader, that the research analyzed studies that included patients with and without something called radiculopathy (radiating arm pain/numbness or tingling from a pinched nerve), and myelopathy (people suffering from irritation of the spinal cord creating pain, numbness, weakness in the legs, and potentially bowel and bladder dysfunction).
In February of 2008, the Neck Pain Task Force published overwhelming evidence that research supports the use of cervical spine manipulation (adjustments) in the treatment of both acute and chronic neck pain with or without radiculopathy. And another author (Bronfort) published similar findings in 2010 in a large United Kingdom-based study that looked at the published evidence supporting different types of treatment for various conditions. They found cervical spine adjustments were effective for neck pain of ANY duration (acute or chronic).
How to Avoid Being a Victim of Failed Back Surgery
“Nobody in America should be allowed to have back surgery unless they have seen a chiropractor first.” – Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, M.D.
If you have chronic back pain, the next four minutes might make a lifetime of difference. Rods and screws in your spine should set off more alarms in your mind than just going through airport security. It’s important to understand the cold, hard facts regarding back surgery and its implications.
Each year over 200,000 victims undergo low back surgery. Unfortunately 20-40% will fail the desired outcome. In fact, 10% will be worse after surgery. Actually only 1-4% of back problems require surgery. When you are experiencing severe back pain, it’s easy to get talked into surgery. You’ll do almost anything to get rid of the pain.
However, most cases will respond to conservative treatment. A surgeon making a living doing surgery may not be very objective as to what treatment is needed. The risks of surgery are minimized while you are cautiously told everything in life has some danger. But surgery of the spine is one of the highest risk procedures.
Surgery should always be a last resort after all conservative methods have been tried.
It’s important you know the risks! Too many surgeons have the philosophy, “When in doubt, cut it out.” But surgery is far from a panacea. When it comes to surgery, there’s no substitute for knowledge. Information on how to avoid it is something you need to know.
What are some of the Factors Leading to Failed Back Surgery?
Degenerative Arthritis: Surgery is high risk if you have this condition, which causes chronic pain, stiffness and inflammation of joints.
Osteoporosis: This condition causes a loss of calcium leaving your bones weak and brittle. You are very susceptible to recurring problems.
Soft Tissue Strength: The success of surgery depends on the strength of the soft tissue supporting the spine. If you have chronic disuse atrophy of the muscles and ligaments, surgery often will not help.
Lifestyle: If your job or activities require repeated bending, lifting or twisting, your spine can easily be re-injured. Sitting all day can cause postural stress and recurring muscle spasms.
Surgeon’s Skill: Some surgeons are much more successful than others. It’s important to get at least two opinions before agreeing to surgery.
What are some of the Side Effects of Back Surgery?
Infection: It may occur early or late after surgery. Infection may involve bone, muscle, disc space, or the spinal cord. Infection occurs in 1-3% of cases.
Instability of the Low Back: Vertebrae move on top of each other and are interrelated tin function. When a disc is removed, the spine settles. It may cause over-riding of the facet joints. Levels of the spine adjacent to fusions are frequently unstable. If your spine seems to be “giving way,” or “slipping out” and twisting back into position, you have instability.
Scar Tissue: A primary factor leading to failed back surgery is scar tissue. This is the cheapest grade of tissue the body uses to repair itself. It is not nearly as strong as normal ligaments, and not as elastic. As a result, scar tissue causes a weakness and stiffness of the spine. Repeat surgery is rarely of significant benefit.
Recurrent Disc Herniation: Most disc surgeries entail removal of only a portion of the disc material. The remaining disc material exits out of the surgical site and results in recurrent disc herniation.
Weak Muscles and Ligaments: A major cause of persistent disability is weak or atrophied muscles and ligaments supporting the spine. The pain is often worse after standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time. Many doctors believe weak muscles and ligaments are the primary cause of pain in failed back surgery. These weak muscles are overworked just maintaining proper posture. There is little to be gained by muscle relaxants. They act primarily on the central nervous system and not on muscle activity. It’s also easy to become dependant on drugs.
Instability: Operating on a diseased disc may alleviate nerve pressure but increase instability by removal of some of the boy and ligamentous stabilizers that support the spine.
Metallic Implants: Knodt rods and Harrington rods may cause irritation at the hook sites. Fractures may occur. Scar tissue may form from bunching of the ligaments at the hook sites. Also, the low back loses its normal curve causing a compensatory increase in the curve above the fusion.
Repeated Surgeries: Some patients have painful or abnormal discs n all the five vertebrae of the low back. It is difficult to know where to stop surgery when fusion is contemplated in this setting.
Wrong Diagnosis of Physician Error: Sometimes the pain persists because surgery was performed at the wrong level. Often the real cause of the pain has been misdiagnosed.
Nerve Damage: This may occur during surgery or from prior disc herniation or compression of the nerve from scar tissue. Pain is often severe. It is usually described as a constant dull ache with burning or electric shock sensation or numbness and tingling in the legs. Narcotic analgesics do not alleviate symptoms.
Has Everything Really Been Tried?
Too often the only conservative treatment tried is bed rest, pain pills or muscle relaxants, braces, physiotherapy, or traction. If that doesn’t help, surgery is recommended. If the pain is still there, you may have a CAT scan, EMG, MRI, discogram, fluoroscopy or bone scan. No one test gives a complete picture of the problem. Furthermore, none of these diagnostic procedures are completely reliable. One orthopedist said, “We are blind men trying to perceive the elephant from every angle using every useful technique available to obtain the most accurate view.”
Identifying the exact source of pain is very difficult, even in the non-operated patient. Orthopedists ask, “What can we do with patients who we are not certain we can help with surgery?” “Are they simply relegated to decreased activity and changing their jobs?” “How important is it to allow individuals to continue an active athletic existence?” These are important questions to ask your doctor.
What if Surgery Fails?
Diagnosing low back pain, once spinal surgery has failed, is very complicated. It is harder to rehabilitate patients with such pain. It is difficult to sort out the psychological subjective symptoms from the physical symptoms. Repeat surgery is more difficult to perform and fraught with complications. The worst person to make a decision whether to re-operate is the surgeon who did the first operation. He wants to correct his failure. His ego is involved; making a totally objective decision clouded.
Diagnostic tests become more difficult to interpret when the patient has had previous surgery. It is hard to differentiate new disc disease from scar tissue on myelograms. It is just as difficult with CAT scan. The rehabilitative efforts in failed surgery cases take more time and effort. It has to be accepted by those paying the bills atat time and money spent on physical and psychological rehabilitation BEFORE re-operating is money well spent. Without such rehabilitation efforts, the second, third and fourth operations, will frequently fail.
There may be post-operative instability pain, joint pain, or degenerative disc pain from another level. As many as 30% of laminectomies fail because of scar tissue or recurrent disc herniations. Once scar tissue entraps the nerve, it is very difficult to retract the nerve from the dense scar tissue during another surgery.
Second operations take much longer due to many potential complications. Infection rates are much higher and risks increase. Tears in the dura surrounding the spinal cord occurs about one in ten re-do operations. This can lead to cerebrospinal fluid fistulas and meningitis. It is well-known that success of surgery DROPS RAPIDLY WITH EACH ADDITIONAL SURGERY. The ultimate aim in many of these complex cases may not be to return the patient to normal.
Following surgery, patients often cannot tolerate prolonged static positions such as sitting or standing. Many complain they cannot kneel, squat or carry things. The failure rate of repeat surgery is nearly 70% with only 17% good results.
Permanent disability can result from loss of mobility, strength, endurance and aerobic capacity.
What is a Safe & Effective Alterative?
THE BIG QUESTION: “How can you turn a painful back into a pain-free back?”
Why is it some people suffer for years with back pain but after a few months of Chiropractic care are 90% better? After living on pills, powders and potions with no results, they get better with simple adjustments to the spine. Successful treatment results from treating the cause of your problem. Chiropractors receive intensive training in the biomechanics of the spine and nervous system. Chiropractors know the spine. Why sacrifice your future health for temporary relief? Too many have never tried the safest method of treating back pain first.
Structure governs function. Malfunction precedes disease. Any structural breakdown will affect your nervous system. When ligaments are injured, the discs swell causing pressure on nerves. The vertebrae shift causing instability and more verve pressure. Chiropractors are trained to adjust the vertebrae back to their normal alignment. That’s important because the nervous system controls every function in your body. Damage to verves affects any area that nerves control. It may cause severe headaches, pain or numbness down your arms or legs, or dysfunction of internal organs. Pain is Nature’s way of signaling something is wrong. The longer the symptoms are treated with drugs, the more you are gambling with your health.
Chiropractic has a proven track record. In study after study, Chiropractic care got patients back on the job 2-3 times faster at the half the cost of radical care for back pain.
If you have chronic back or neck pain, don’t let lack of information keep you from getting well. There is a better way than living on pills and having back surgery. In addition, many Chiropractors are trained in the latest technology in the field of rehabilitation to strengthen your back.
FATS AND OILS
An overview of Fats and Oils by Dr. Allen Unruh
For any nutrition program it is important to understand the science and physiology of fatty acids in nutrition and health.
Since the entire body is made from food, air and water, food and eating must be an important aspect of physical health. We cannot control the biomechanical processes which take place after we swallow. We do choose what we swallow. Our health depends on those choices.
Diseases of fatty degeneration today kill upward of 75% of the people living in the affluent, industrialized nations of planet Earth before their natural three score years and ten’ are up.
Fatty degeneration, ‘It doesn’t take a genius to realize that if we want to get to the root of the problem of fatty degeneration, we ought o look at the whole field of fats and oils; what they are, what we do to them, how the body deals with them, their food sources, their involvement in disease, and how to use them to enhance health.
This kind of knowledge will allow us to prevent premature death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases of fatty degeneration, and if we want to avoid the suffering of arthritis, obesity, and some types of mental malfunction. Too much information on fats and oils come from the industries which market fat and oil products for profit. In addition, medical doctors study very little nutrition in medical school.
What are fatty acids? Fatty acids are the major building blocks of the fats in human bodies and are important sources of energy for the body.
What do fatty acids do? Fatty acids have many different functions. Fatty acids, as part of the body fat, under the skin and around organs are useful for insulation and shock absorption. All fatty acids can be used for energy production. They contain less than 16 carbon atoms and all saturated fatty acids are ‘burned’ or oxidized in the body to provide energy, calories, and heat. The shorter the saturated fatty acid, the more readily it burns, and the easier it is to digest. This is important for people who suffer from weak or diseased liver. Since the important function of the liber is the metabolism of fats, one of the symptoms of liver malfunction is difficulty in digesting fatty foods, and a feeling of tiredness or heaviness after a fat-containing meal.
Sugars and Starches
Sugars and starches are kissing cousins – these carbohydrates are parents to the fats. The concentration of sugars is listed in the beginning of labels. When simple sugars (glucose or dextrose, fructose, or laevulose, and galactose, the double sugars sucrose (table sugar, maltose (in beer), and lactose (in milk), the dextrin’s and syrups made from sugar cane, sugar beets, from sorghum, and from maple, fall in this category. Even honey is included. All these products are concentrated sources of sugars, are rapidly digested and absorbed, and are quickly turned to fats.
The average person consumes 146 pounds of sugar/year. Sugar turns to fat. The sweet tooth is the hardest one to pull. Sugar addiction is one of the most powerful addictions in America.
Why settle for only temporary relief? Try the undisputed leaders in treatment of the spine. Make this the turning point in your life. Unless you’ve fallen in love with surgery, we suggest you try Chiropractic care first. What have you got to lose? Don’t wait any longer. Make your appointment today. Remember, if you ignore your health, it will go away.
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Starches are sugar molecules chained or bonded together. Enzymes in the body break the bonds between the sugar molecules and turn starches into sugars. Among the starch-containing foods, the worse for turning into fats are the refined sources. These include WHITE FLOUR, WHITE RICE, PASTA, ENRICHED FLOURS (both white and dark), CORN STARCH, TAPIOCA, AND most of the BREAKFAST CEREALS found on the supermarket shelves, as well as all the products made with these ingredients.
These can only make us fat if we live a sedentary life style, eat compulsively for psychological reasons and get no exercise. Complex high carbohydrate foods include starchy vegetables and fruits; potatoes, yams, corn, figs and bananas, and of course, the grains.
Products which contain hidden sugars and starches include soft drinks, cakes, cookies, and pies; candies and confections; many canned fruits and juices; ice creams and shakes; jams and jellies; and desserts. Ketchup contains huge amounts of sugar, and many meat and sausage products are extended with refined starch.
A normally active person eating a diet high in natural, complex carbohydrates (usually grains) does not have to worry about the carbohydrates turning into fat. In fact, for an active person, these are an excellent source of nutrition and energy. However, a person who spends most of his day sitting in an office, or a person whose diet contains a high amount of refined starches and sugars, is likely to have a weight problem (usually a fat problem) beginning in the second half of his twenties, until he dies from the results of cardiovascular disease in his late thirties to early sixties. With the popular junk food diets that children of today consume, weight and cardiovascular problems often occur at an even earlier age and are found toe quite sever even in teenagers. How does this happen?
Refined carbohydrates are digested and absorbed much more rapidly and can overload the blood with glucose. Also, because they lack important minerals and vitamins, the body cannot burn them property, and therefore must deal with them another way, for instance by turning them into fat.
Sugars are absorbed even faster than starches and are therefore more dangerous than starches.
If we stuff ourselves on refined starches and sugars and overload our bodies with glucose, the body responds in the following way. High blood glucose triggers the pancreas to secrete insulin, which stimulates the conversion of sugars into fatty acids, three of which are then hooked to glycerol molecules to make fats (triglycerides). The fats are taken to the fat tissues and stored or deposited in various organs.
What kind of fatty acids are produced by excess sugars and starches in our body? You guessed it. The kind that kill, the sticky, saturated kind of fatty acid, the kind that increases the chance of stroke, heart attack and arteriosclerosis. The fatty acids made from sugars and starches increase the likelihood of diseases of fatty degeneration. Excess refined starches and sugars also increase the cholesterol level in the blood.
METABOLISM OF CARBOHYDRATES
A normally active person eating a diet high in natural, complex carbohydrate (usually grains) does not have to worry about the carbohydrates turning into fat. In fact, for an active person, these are an excellent source of nutrition and energy. However, a person who spends most of his day sitting in an office, or a person whose diet contains a high amount of the refined starches and sugars, is likely to have a weight problem (really a fat problem) beginning in the second half of his twenties, until he dies from the results of cardiovascular disease in his late thirties to early sixties. With the popular junk food diets that the children of today consume, weight and cardiovascular problems often occur at an even earlier age and are found to be quite severe even in teenagers. How does this happen?
Complex carbohydrates are digested and absorbed slowly, b because they contain fiber and other materials which slow down digestion, and because the starches they contain are only slowly converted into sugars. For this reason, the energy they provide is burned up in body functions at a rate at which it is produced. They also contain the v vitamin and mineral factors tat allow the carbohydrates to ‘burn clean’ into carbon dioxide and water.
Refined carbohydrates, on the other hand are digested and absorbed much more rapidly and can overload the blood with glucose. Also, b because they lack important minerals and vitamins, the body cannot burn them properly, and therefore has to with them another way, for instance by turning them into fat.
Sugars are absorbed even faster than starches and are therefore more dangerous than starches. The body must do something with the high glucose levels because when the blood glucose level goes too high a dangerous condition is created which may result in sugar shock, coma, or death. And such a condition must be prevented.
There are two ways the body deals with excess glucose: It can spill the excess glucose over into the urine, and this is the most common symptom of diabetes. However, spilling glucose is the body’s way of handling excess sugar only when the preferred way fails. The body prefers to store the excess glucose it gets in times of feasting for future times of famine.
If you haven’t made wise food choices and stuffed yourself on refined starches and sugars and overloaded your body with glucose. The body responds in the following way. High blood glucose triggers the pancreas to secrete insulin, which stimulates the conversion of sugars into fatty acids, three of which are then hooked to glycerol molecules to make fats (triglycerides). The fats are taken to the fat tissues and stored or deposited in various organs. What kind of fatty acids are produced by excess sugars and starches in our body? You guessed it. The kind that kill, the sticky, saturated kind of fatty acid, the kind that increases the chance of stroke, heart attack and arteriosclerosis. They also increase the likelihood of fatty degeneration. Excess refined starches and sugars also increase the cholesterol level in the blood.
While the body can turn excess sugars into fats, it cannot turn these fats back into sugars, but must ‘burn’ off the fats through activity. The brain, however is very fussy about its fuel supply and demands glucose to function. If there is no glucose in the diet, the body must make it. It cannot use fat to make glucose, and so it must use protein for this purpose. Proteins must do the double duties of providing the building materials for enzymes and body structures, and of providing the materials for making glucose.
Blood glucose levels rise very rapidly after consumption of sugar, and then, by the action of insulin, may fall too rapidly or too low. The result is hypoglycemia, with mental symptoms ranging from depression, to dizziness, to crying spells to aggression, to lack of sexual interest, to insomnia, to black-out. When blood glucose goes too low, the adrenal glands kick in and mobilize the body’s stores of glycogen. They also stimulate the synthesis of glucose from proteins and other substances in the body. A diet high in refined carbohydrates, the pancreas and adrenal glands are caught in a biochemical yo-yo and are overworked. If the pancreas weakens, it secretes less insulin, the blood glucose remains high, and diabetes (hyperglycemia results, with glucose in the urine and cardiovascular complications.
Fats can be deposited in the liver, heart, arteries, fat tissues, kidneys, muscle, or just about anywhere and such deposits of fats characterize the diseases of fatty degeneration. Fatty degeneration can be defined as the deposition of visible fat in places where it is not normally found, including in this definition are atherosclerosis, liver and kidney degeneration, tumors, obesity, rheumatic diseases and diabetes.
Saturated and monosaturated fatty acids increase tissue anoxia (lack of oxygen), literally choking the body’s tissues. By increasing the body’s load of these unnecessary fatty acids, the refined carbohydrates lower the body’s available oxygen supply. Lowered oxygen supply is involved in all forms of degenerative disease, in all forms of fatty degeneration.
Refined carbohydrates are involved in another way in these diseases. Because they lack the vitamins and minerals required for their own metabolism, they draw on the body’s stored supply of these factors, and if the stores are depleted, the body becomes unable to metabolize fats and cholesterol properly. This means that it cannot get rid of excess cholesterol by changing it into bile acids and discarding some of both cholesterol and bile acids through the stool and cannot burn off the excess fats as heat or increased activity, because vitamins and minerals are required for the biochemical reactions involved in these processes. As a result, cholesterol level rises; metabolic rate goes down; fats burn more slowly; the person feels like exercising less; obesity results. Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Decreased metabolic rate is involved in aging, arthritic diseases, cancer, and cardiovascular disorders, and is another general symptom of degenerative diseases.
Finally, the lack of bulk and fiber in the refined carbohydrates slows down the speed at which foods pass through the digestive tract. They sit around in the colon, and bring on constipation, inflamed (diverticulitis) and ballooned (diverticulosis) colon toxin retention which weakens the liver, bowel cancer, hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
Five Foods You Should Never Eat
If a person quits five major foods it will make a big difference in losing weight. These are five foods that force the body to produce appetite hormones.
First food to avoid is CONCENTRATED ORANGE JUCE
Most concentrated juices increase the waist. They remove fiber in fruit. It’s basically Sugar Water. Processed foods are all high in fructose, corn syrup, glucose and fructose. Sugar turns to fat.
2. The second food to avoid is MARGARINE
They add hydrogen to corn to make it solid using transfers – which clog arteries with fat and increases LDL and wipes our HDL (the good cholesterol). The sugar industry paid scientists to downplay the bad effects of sugar. When people take fat out of the diet on diet foods it results in bad flavor. So they add tons of sugar to make up for it. The average person takes in 157 lbs of sugar/year. Sugar addiction is one of the highest addictions. Poisons and toxins are stored in fat cells. Sugar turns to fat.
3. The third food you must avoid is: WHOLE WHEAT BREAD
Gluten free – corn starch and rice flower = more calories. Whole wheat bread is as bad as white bread. The brain’s favorite food is sugar. The more processed the food – the higher the glycemic index. Whole wheat is different than whole grain. The body gets flooded with cortisol and increases the craving for sugar. Note: If you snack throughout the day your blood sugar levels stay level. Adiponectin = Fat burn hormone. Green tea has tremendous fat burning power and it’s anti-oxidant. When you see diet and reduced fat on the label it doesn’t mean anything.
4. The next food you must avoid is: PROCESSED SOY
Soy protein is bad. They strip out vitamins and minerals. Metabolism is the engine that turns fat into energy.
5. The next food to never eat is: PROCESSED MEAT
Causes an 18% increase in colorectal cancer. Hot dogs are full of nitrates and nitrites. They use it to add flavor and color. They re chemically manufactured nitrosamines. Sugar and salt are the most concentrated ingredients. The black lines in grilled meat = cancer causing.