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Chiropractors & Headaches: My Deep, Dark Secret

See end of post for supporting links. Including them in the text makes a mess of the first paragraph.

I’ve been seeing a chiropractor for a few weeks. A gazillion people have recommended it over the years — everyone knows someone whose headaches have gone away after chiropractic. But I never intended to go to one. Not only is it potentially dangerous, evidence of its efficacy is mixed. And I’m well aware that many people make spurious conclusions of cause and effect.

You know I’m willing to try all sorts of alternative and complementary treatments. As long as there’s no chance the treatment could harm me. I’m still wary of chiropractic, but I just had my third adjustment of the week.

My neck and lower back have been acting up for the last six months. It seems more likely that a chiropractor can relieve back pain than headaches. What pushed me over the edge is Kelly’s, my friend and yoga teacher, trust in this particular chiropractor.

Out of everyone I know, Kelly is the last person who would endanger her body. Her extensive knowledge of anatomy and movement combined with her insistence on safety gives me confidence.

My back and neck do feel better, but I have to ask if the worsening of my migraines is coincidental or related to the chiropractic. Today started out well and I still feel good. I’ll give it a few more weeks.

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Pain Patient or Criminal?

Punishing Pain, an op-ed piece The New York Times published yesterday, describes one man’s struggle to get adequate pain relief. It’s a fight that ultimately landed him in jail. You’ll have to register to read the article, but it’s worth it.

“When I visited Richard Paey here, it quickly became clear that he posed no menace to society in his new home, a high-security Florida state prison near Tampa, where he was serving a 25-year sentence. The fences, topped with razor wire, were more than enough to keep him from escaping because Mr. Paey relies on a wheelchair to get around.”

Linda25 shared this article on the BrainTalk forums.

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July 12th News

I planned to do a quick check of the news this morning before I ran out the door and then post later. There are too many interesting stories to do that, so here they are.

What Really Works?
“Out of frustration with conventional medicine or in hopes of preventing or treating disease, health consumers continue to turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, herbs and supplements.

“But of the many treatments in the rapidly growing, frequently bewildering field, what really works? With little gold-standard evidence to go by, that’s been a hard question to answer. Long-standing attempts to perform high-quality research continue.”

NMT Medical Completes MIST Migraine Study Enrollment
“‘Completing patient enrollment in our MIST trial is a significant accomplishment for NMT, especially considering that we are ahead of our initial schedule by two full quarters. The overwhelming response we received since initiation of the trial suggests that current medical therapy is not working for many migraine sufferers, and alternative treatments are necessary.'”

Prices Drive up Health Costs in US
“‘There is a popular misconception that we pay much more for health care in the United States compared to European and other industrialized countries because malpractice claims drive up costs and there are waiting lists in most other countries,’ said Gerard Anderson, who led the study.

“‘But what we found is that we pay more for health care for the simple reason that prices for health services are significantly higher in the United States than they are elsewhere,’ he added in a statement.”