Aug
06
2016

Pain Treatment

General practitioners see a lot of patients with various pain symptoms for which they seek pain treatment. The underlying conditions might be from an arthritic problem that suddenly becomes symptomatic, or an acute back injury may send pain from the lower back into one of the legs. Others may experience excruciating headaches like migraines or tension type headaches. Often these painful conditions require some immediate pain relievers to treat the pain, but this can turn into a nightmare of drug dependency and may even lead to the development of chronic pain. Here I like to review an article that I found in the June edition of ConsumersReports.org.  In my review I included most of the content, but added a few newer pain treatment modalities.

Acute pain

Here I’m discussing back pain as an example. When a disc bursts in the lower back because the person was lifting an object too heavy to lift, acute pain develops in the lower back. This is often located at the lower lumbar spine level (L5/S1) causing radiating pain into one of the legs.

In a case like this it will often take several weeks before the body can heal this condition.

Chronic pain

It can happen in many cases that the pain will still be there 3 to 6 months down the road. If a disc fragment pushes on the nerve root in the nearby canal through which the nerve root travels, this will cause the muscles supplied by the nerve root to melt away in the leg of the affected side. If nothing is done about this, the acute pain turns into chronic pain, which is much more difficult to resolve. The initial physician may refer the patient to a neurosurgeon who will review the case together with the help of an MRI scan that shows the underlying pathology. The neurosurgeon may determine that a mini discectomy will reduce the pressure onto the nerve root.

Relief of pressure on nerve root from mini discectomy

This surgery may be able to prevent chronic pain from setting in. Once the pressure is relieved, the nerve can start the healing process. It is critical to not miss the point where acute pain crosses over into chronic pain. This happens at around 2 to 3 months into the pain condition. Chronic pain is much more difficult to treat as some of the neurological pain pathways that form after such injuries can persist within the spinal cord or even within the central nervous system, even after successful disc surgery that is done too late. With respect to the example given above, if the patient is operated on too late (1 to 2 years after the injury), the procedure may not be effective in relieving the pain. A chronic pain syndrome has started.

How pain treatment is done

  1. Avoid bed rest

In the past (up to the late 1970’s to mid 1980’s bed rest was the accepted initial mode of treatment. Even though patients often felt some relief of pain initially, this led to muscle atrophy (literally a melting away of muscles) in the muscles that are supporting the spine. These structural changes destabilized the spine and often made the pain more chronic until physiotherapy treatments and active exercises rebuilt the supporting muscles again.

  1. See a physiotherapist

Physiotherapists can use different treatment modalities like traction, a TENS machine, active exercises that all can help to alleviate back pain due to muscle spasm. If there is only a strain, this will often help to resolve your back pain within 4 weeks. But if there is an underlying disc herniation as previously explained, you need to be assessed by a physician in an urgent care center, primary care setting or by an emergency physician in the emergency department of a hospital. When the examination confirms an abnormal reflex from a nerve root compression, a referral to a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon is usually made as previously explained.

  1. Chiropractic treatment

Some people have their backs treated periodically to prevent back troubles. When they get an acute back pain they likely will see the chiropractor again. In cases of a back strain, where one or more muscles are pulled, this approach will be helpful together with some home exercises and swimming to build up muscle strength along the spine. However, in the case of a herniated disc chiropractic adjustments should not be done (physicians say they are “contra-indicated”). Instead the patient should be referred to either a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon.

  1. Medication for pain

Often physicians prescribe Tylenol with codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet) or morphine for pain relief. All narcotic medication have side-effects; they can cause constipation, can cause vomiting, make you feel dizzy and can lead to falls, particularly in elderly patients. These falls can cause hip fractures and other fractures that complicate the recovery from the original pain. Never exceed the dosage of pain medicine prescribed on the label, and if it does not relieve the pain, see your physician again for a reassessment to rule out any complications.

Depression with back pain

Often people with back pain also have depression. To address this issue your physician may prescribe an antidepressant like duloxetine (Cymbalta), which has been approved by the FDA for treatment of lower back pain. But there are two rare, but important side effects to know about. Cymbalta can cause lowering of blood pressure, which leads to dizziness. This can cause serious falls with the danger of fractures. The other complication is the risk of liver failure.

Side effects of pain treatment

Pain pills can be addicting

While there seems to be an urgency to treat a patient who is in pain with pain medication, the treating physician must not forget that pain medication is potentially addicting and patients often use higher doses than advisable. However, pain medication has a narrow therapeutic window meaning that the toxic levels are not much higher than the drug levels necessary to relieve pain.

Some medications are only marginally effective

There are medications that are only marginally effective, if at all. Glucosamine and chondroitin are used for relief of arthritic pain in osteoarthritis sufferers. They are eliminated by a liver enzyme system that also eliminates blood thinners. If a patient is on blood thinners, the addition of glucosamine and chondroitin can lead to dangerous bleeding. Instead of using glucosamine and chondroitin when you experience pain and inflammation in joints, reduce your activities, but stay as active as you can to avoid your symptoms from getting worse.

Tests for severe migraines

When a patient has a severe migraine headache it is tempting to want to rule out a brain tumor. But a CT scan exposes the patient to dangerously high radiation doses that over time could cause brain cancer or leukemia. There are physical examination methods to rule out a brain tumor. If the findings are positive, an MRI scan can be used to get much more detail of the brain than a CT study would reveal. MRI scans do not have undesirable side effects.

Use gentle movement to remobilize the painful joints

Before you rush into using anti-inflammatory drugs, use gentle movement to remobilize the painful joint, back or limb. Activities like swimming, walking or yoga can reduce pain and allow you to recover from a painful condition according to a Cochrane Library analysis of 61 studies.

Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSADs)

For more pain relief NSAID (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) for a brief period will also help. The problem with long-term use of NSAIDs is that it can cause kidney damage. With longer use of NSAIDs there is also a danger of stomach bleeding, heart attacks and strokes.

Toxicity with Tylenol

The pain drug acetaminophen (Tylenol) has a narrow therapeutic window and is less effective in pain relief than the NSAIDs. The FDA has recommended as the highest daily dose 4000 mg of acetaminophen. But if you are a heavy drinker or you have liver disease, your daily dose of acetaminophen should not exceed 3250 mg to avoid liver toxicity. Long-term use of acetaminophen can also damage your kidneys, therefore the recommendation to use acetaminophen only for a short period of time (a few days).

Side effects of triptan drugs for migraines

Migraine headache drugs: The newer migraine drugs, called triptans temporarily narrow widened blood vessels. This relieves severe migraines within about 2 hours. However, these medications are not recommended for those with high blood pressure, chest pain, heart disease or circulation problems in the legs, as blood vessel constriction could bring on heart attacks or worsen circulation problems.

Common sense approach to pain treatment

The key for any pain condition is to treat the pain right away to minimize the impact that pain has on you and to prevent developing chronic pain, which is more difficult to treat.

Here are some examples.

Migraine headaches

If you have a migraine headache, use an over-the-counter pain reliever like naproxen or ibuprofen to treat the migraine pain very early. A combination of acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine (like Excedrin Migraine or a generic copy) will also do. This will stop the release of prostaglandins, which would send pain signals to the brain. Heat packs or cold packs on your head can also help in the treatment of a headache. A 2013 study from Germany has shown that migraine sufferers can get rid of their migraine headaches in 60% by having sex. It sounds like a nice idea, but what they have not considered may be the fact that somebody who has a splitting headache is not feeling like sex at all!

Triptan pills for migraines

If your home remedies did not help, see your physician for one of the triptan pills. Sumatriptan or a similar drug constricts blood vessels to the brain. The doctor will also look for common triggering factors that can bring on a migraine. Weak neck and shoulder muscles may respond to physiotherapy strengthening. In women a condition called estrogen dominance is associated with migraines and can be treated with bioidentical progesterone to balance estrogen and progesterone in the body by elevating progesterone concentration.

Acute lower back pain 

Acute lower back pain usually follows an event where the person lifted something too heavy or injured the back from a fall. The important part is to rule out a fracture. Most of the time there is no underlying fracture, just a muscle strain. A muscle strain usually sorts itself out in time. Stay active as much as possible. But if the back pain does not resolve within a few days, see your physician for more tests. X-rays can delineate structural changes like a fracture. As explained earlier, an MRI scan can rule out a disc herniation. Instead of neurosurgery, further options nowadays are prolotherapy, stem cell therapy or a combination prolotherapy/stem cell therapy. This type of therapy will also work for knee injuries (meniscal or ligamentous tears).

Hip or knee pain

Conventional medicine usually treats osteoarthritis with NSAIDs, but may not warn you about the possibility of gastric erosions that can lead to massive stomach bleeding, heart attacks or strokes when using NSAIDs. It also can lead to kidney damage that can cause sudden kidney failure. The key is to use anti-inflammatory medication only for a few weeks. If arthritis persists, it is wiser to seek the advice of a naturopathic physician for prolotherapy treatment. One or two treatments of prolotherapy can give relief of pain. If prolotherapy does not succeed, it is best to move on to mixed stem cell therapy with bone marrow and mesenchymal stem cells (from fat cells) as well as PRP (platelet rich plasma). This usually leads to complete healing of osteoarthritis and eliminates the need of total knee or total hip replacement.

Neck and shoulder pain

This often develops because of poor posture, shoulder tendinitis or neck muscle spasm. Physiotherapy is often successful treating this. If not the physiotherapist can use intramuscular stimulation (IMS) with acupuncture needles. This may be more successful in interrupting the abnormal neuropathic pain pathways. Alternatively electro acupuncture with a TENS-like device can also be successful. The newest treatment modality is the Weber medical system using a low-dose laser applicator. Prolotherapy can also be used for shoulder and neck problems, if the ligaments are lax. It requires a lot of experience on behalf of the health professional to choose the right treatment protocol for the condition.

Tension headaches

Anxiety, stress and fatigue can all lead to tension headaches. Initially you may want to drink liquids, as dehydration is related to tension headaches. If your headache is still present after one hour, use naproxen or acetaminophen. Take a warm or cold shower and lie down with a cool cloth on your forehead. If you still have a headache, check with your doctor whether it is indeed a tension headache or a migraine. You may have jaw clenching or teeth grinding during your sleep. If your bite seems off, see a dentist. For stress control use relaxation techniques.

Other ways to treat tension headaches

Some suggestions sound mundane enough, but they can be effective: Get enough sleep, get enough exercise, and work on improving your posture. A physician trained in trigger point injections with local anesthetics (often anesthetists or general practitioners) can freeze your suboccipital and supraorbital nerves with lidocaine, which I have seen to work in 60% to 70% of cases in my former practice.

Pain Treatment

Pain Treatment

Conclusion

Pain treatment can be confusing as pain itself can be very multifaceted. The key is to search for the cause of the pain. Then treat pain very quickly. This way it has time within 2 to 3 months to turn into a chronic pain condition. Chronic pain is much more difficult to treat. The physician should treat acute pain successfully. Conventional medicine has to yet learn from naturopathic medicine and alternative medicine practitioners. They use prolotherapy, stem cell therapy, IMS and trigger point injections with local anesthetics.  In addition low-dose laser therapy (Weber medical system) are valuable alternative methods to treat pain. These methods can successfully treat pain conditions. The physician can incorporate them into general medical practice.

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Aug
23
2014

Ebola Virus An Emerging Killer Infection

Ebola virus has now infected about 2600 and killed more than 1400 people in its short history. That’s a mortality of about 54% overall.

Two Americans who had been treating patients with Ebola virus disease (formerly called Ebola hemorrhagic fever) in Liberia, West Africa had been treated back in the US at a hospital in Atlanta. They have just been released as cured. They have been treated with an experimental drug called ZMapp. This is a monoclonal antibody from mice against surface components of the Ebola virus.

At this point no safety studies on humans have been performed with ZMapp, but a recent ethics committee meeting of the WHO has determined that the emergency use of ZMapp would be ethically acceptable due to the high death rate of the disease otherwise without treatment.

Other scenarios of killer infections

Several decades back some of the diseases mentioned in this article were basically unknown to the general population, but in the meantime some new infectious diseases have received a lot of media attention.

You will remember that there was an outbreak of anthrax spores by inhalation in 2001 in the US. A recent New England Journal of Medicine report points out that prior to 2001 the death rate of patients who had inhaled anthrax spores was 80% to 90% even with the use of antibiotics. However due to earlier detection and diagnosis, and due to aggressive supportive measures this epidemic of anthrax by inhalation had a mortality of only 45% toward the end or that epidemic. Had there been a new substance used that was ineffective, but harmless otherwise the reduced death rate would have been attributed to the erroneous conclusion that this new drug was effective in reducing mortality rates. This article cautions that rigid safety and effectiveness studies have to be done on ZMapp to ensure that it is a safe and effective drug to treat Ebola virus and that the reduction in death rates is truly from the drug, not just from improved supportive measures.

Other newer infections have been Marburg hemorrhagic fever caused by the Marburg virus. This also belongs to the Filoviridae family of viruses to which Ebola virus belongs as well. Then there is the SARS virus, the cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Not too long ago the BSE prion, which is the virus causing bovine spongiform encephalopathy made history.

What do we know about the Ebola virus?

There are 5 strains of the Ebola virus, one of which (the Zaire strain) is responsible for the present outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Africa. Dr. Jon Lai who is associate professor of biochemistry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City has developed antibodies in mice that will slow down and attack the aggressive Ebola virus when it enters the human body.

Ebola virus disease occurs in remote villages of the rainforest in Central and West Africa where fruit bats are the natural hosts of Ebola virus. It is transmitted from local fruit bats to animals (monkeys among others), to humans and can then be transmitted to other humans. The virus is not as easily transmitted as colds or the flu. For instance, the Ebola virus does not transmit through the air, food or water. But you can get Ebola virus through skin contact, fluid contact and through needles with blood from an infected person. Also, when surfaces are contaminated with infectious body fluids and you touch this contaminated surface with your skin, the virus will penetrate through the skin and get you infected.

There have been several outbreaks in Africa since 1976 as you can see from this WHO link.

This link also suggests that proper hygiene measure like cleaning of pig and monkey farms with sodium hypochlorite should be effective in inactivating the virus, which makes virus transmission to humans more difficult.

Ebola Virus An Emerging Killer Infection

Ebola Virus An Emerging Killer Infection

Symptoms of Ebola virus disease

Ebola virus disease has an incubation time of 8 to 10 days where the person may complain of some tiredness, but is not sick yet. This is the time when the Ebola virus multiplies. It  paralyzes the immune system and distributes itself through the organ system.

After these initial days of incubation there is a sudden onset of a sore throat, high fever and headaches, lack of appetite, a stomachache and weakness.

Now the Ebola virus disease takes off and becomes life threatening as the major organs are infected with the virus, and as a result, vital organs shut down their functions. As the production of coagulation factors from the liver stops, there is major bleeding from body orifices (nose, ears, eyes, mouth, and bloody diarrhea). A skin rash develops all over the body from bleeding into the skin.

At this point the disease gets out of control as the blood circulation collapses and the affected person dies in shock. Otherwise, if fluid loss can be corrected in time with intravenous fluids, there is the danger to die from multi-organ failure. A few persons manage to survive, if the immune system produces enough antibodies in a timely manner to inactivate the Ebola virus.

Treatment options

At this time there is no effective treatment against the Ebola virus disease. As mentioned earlier, ZMapp is an experimental drug that may have some merit treating Ebola virus disease in the future, but at this point it is considered experimental as human safety studies and effectiveness studies of the drug have not been completed. Any experimental treatment with ZMapp will be part of these studies for the next few years, but production issues will have to be sorted out as well as presently there is not enough ZMapp around to treat all of the Ebola virus infected people in Africa.

This leaves us with the only preventative approach of interrupting the infectious pathway. We do know that there is a geographic zone in Africa where fruit bats, the natural hosts of Ebola virus live. It is in the same geographic zone that all of the known Ebola virus disease cases have originated from. It follows from this that it is safer for humans to live outside that zone. So do not plan sightseeing or other trips into those areas, if you value your life; I should qualify this by saying “until an effective treatment against the Ebola virus has been established”.

Those who bury dead ones who came down with this disease must wear safety suits, which look like space suits. As already indicated, surfaces need to be disinfected with sodium hypochlorite. All of these hygienic measures interrupt the Ebola virus transmission. Quarantine measures need to be strictly enforced for those who are suspected of harboring Ebola virus disease to prevent spreading this disease into the rest of society.

Conclusions

Although the medical puzzle of the Ebola virus disease has not yet been completely solved, there are encouraging facts that have been learnt. The Ebola virus has been around Africa since 1976 and several outbreaks have occurred on this continent since. But spread beyond these borders has been avoided due to strict isolation practices. Even within Africa the worst cases of Ebola outbreaks have occurred mostly in villages where hygienic measures are not adhered to as thoroughly when compared to larger African cities where isolation around Ebola virus disease patients is strictly enforced by the local authorities.

Hopefully with the emergence of an effective treatment this disease will get out of the lime light as did other killer diseases in the recent past.

More information on Ebola virus: http://nethealthbook.com/infectious-disease/infectious-disease-infections/ebola-virus/

Last edited Nov. 8, 2014

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Dec
28
2013

Airplane Food And Airport Food, A Personal Travel Experience

Travelling for pleasure is usually something we eagerly anticipate: it can associate with a long wished for vacation, meeting family and friends, enjoying a different environment, in short: there is a bit of adventure attached to it.

Getting something to eat while you are in transit, however, can be a different story. Let me share a recent experience that my wife and I had on a transcontinental flight.

We had to get up shortly after 4 AM, and knowing that we would be in transit till later that evening we decided to prepare an early breakfast. As we usually do, we packed some plastic bags with travel snacks and stashed them away into our back packs: walnuts, almonds, apples, some cheese, some hard boiled eggs and a chocolate bar (70 % cocoa) for an indulgent dessert. It felt a bit unusual to sit down to a vegetable omelet, enjoy some berries and nuts and fix a cup of Americano at 5 in the morning, but we got over the early hour and enjoyed our breakfast. It was a good start to cope with a three-hour time switch that awaited us at the end of the trip.

After checking in at the airport we were greeted with the pleasant news, that our seat arrangement had been upgraded: we would travel first class, as they could not accommodate us in economy. To complete the sense of unexpected luxury, a full breakfast would be included. We did not expect any gourmet fare, but it was welcome news. After some time the flight attendants started to serve the meal. The choices were a cereal bowl or a scrambled egg skillet southwestern style for breakfast. My readers know already that I do not hold the breakfast cereal in high esteem. Cereal has the undesirable effect of sending blood sugar levels to unhealthy highs and as a result causing insulin spikes, so it is not a prudent choice in the first place. We asked for the scrambled eggs, cautiously enquiring: ‘What is in it?”

Airplane Food And Airport Food, A Personal Travel Experience

Airplane Food And Airport Food, A Personal Travel Experience

We were informed that it would be scrambled eggs with some black beans, green and red peppers, ham, onion and some cheese. It sounded really good, and we felt like a glutton having eaten a substantial breakfast at home and now getting some more! It turned out to be a bit different. The meal arrived. It was a flat skillet dish, which consisted of a thick layer of potato cubes held together by a yellow substance, which could not really be described as scrambled eggs. About half a dozen cubes of peppers were identifiable along with a few black beans. I started mining for onions and ham and tried to dig out the egg. It was virtually impossible! The amount of egg that I could retrieve was not more than 1 level tablespoon, and there were a few tiny specks of ham. My wife had the same experience. Needless to say, the skillets were almost full of potatoes, when we sent them back. The flight attendant came through one more time and offered a basket of croissants and buns to complete the breakfast, which we politely refused. As you see, we did not have any need to feel guilty about ingesting a second breakfast onboard, as this meal was simply unsuitable for anybody who was seeking balance in nutrition. To make it short: it is almost exclusively overfeeding the consumer with a load of dense carbohydrates (potatoes, croissants and buns), neglects a sensible amount of protein, and omits any healthy fat source. Out of sheer curiosity I flicked through the pages of an in-flight magazine that listed the foods that could be purchased on board for lunch. The results were not inspiring. There was an assortment of snack foods: potato chips, pretzels, super-size chocolate chip cookies, a candy bar that I had met before on TV and beef jerky. The meal selection featured three types of sandwiches: ham and cheese, brie and turkey breast, and a “loaded” super Italian affair with salami, which looked like a guarantee to a case of indigestion. The cheese plate was sold out and the fresh fruit plate was gone too. Sorry, no luck! As a matter of fact we were lucky and so were all the other passengers who came prepared with a stash of travel foods. When we got hungry towards noon we dug out our travel snacks, drank some water and were quite satisfied.

On our return trip, we traveled economy class (no upgrade to first class food or first class seats this time). It was another lengthy trip coast to coast, and as there were two lengthy layovers, the day was even longer. We arrived at one international airport at the East coast by lunchtime. This time we decided to get a meal at one of the numerous eating establishments. After all, just recently news articles had praised airport restaurants having embraced many healthy food choices. So this would not be airplane food but REAL food! We had some time to walk around and explore, and it turned out, that we certainly needed it! We salivated at the sight of a choice of mahi-mahi with a mixed salad at one café. Cautiously we wondered whether this would be grilled fish. No, we were told, this would be breaded and deep-fried! And it would not be offered in any other way. Too bad, this was not really what we wanted! An Asian food outlet offered a buffet-style assortment of food. It did look very good, and we loved the chicken and vegetable choice or the beef and broccoli with mushroom dish. It did look fresh and appetizing. Often Asian foods can contain MSG. We wanted to make sure that this substance would not be in the food at this place. Sorry, we were told, all the meats and vegetables did contain MSG! Monosodium glutamate is not a harmless flavor enhancer. It belongs into the group of excitotoxins. The substance can destroy brain cells. It also has the potential to give you a nasty headache, especially if larger quantities are used. We were looking for food minus a headache, so we walked away once again and looked for more. An Italian bistro offered the usual suspects: piles of pasta and pizza! And there was a bakery with towering-high tortes, cinnamon buns, and muffins. It was overfeeding of the already carbo-holic individual and under nourishing the traveller. Sad!

After this expedition through the terminal we did finally find a meal that would sustain us until the evening. It was a pre-packaged Thai salad. It was certainly nothing fancy, but it contained a large amount of lettuce and other salad vegetables, offered a small but appropriate amount of cooked shredded real chicken, not some processed salty fake meat, and a small container of salad dressing on the side. It was enough to feel pleasantly full without feeling stuffed and good enough to keep us going till the evening.

Yes, we really wanted a touch of luxury for dessert! We thought of the duty free shop and envisioned a square or two of sinfully dark chocolate. Actually, this is not sinful at all! Have a piece of chocolate with over 70 % cocoa content or even 85%. It is not bitter, but an explosion of flavor on your taste buds, and it happens to be a source of anti-oxidants and bioflavonoids. It lowers high blood pressure and gobbles up free radicals, and as a result it can protect you from heart disease. One word of caution: use moderate amounts! Two or three squares only, not more, please!

And there was chocolate at the duty-free shop, lots of it! There were praline selections in large varieties, and there were Lindt and Ghirardelli chocolate bars, two well-known brands! We rejoiced…but too early! There were six packs featuring extra-creamy, sea-salt, caramel, chocolate and chili. As we studied the labels it was very obvious, that this was not at all what we were looking for! One bar in six was of excellent quality with a high cocoa percentage. The rest was a “gourmet mix”, all of them with low cocoa percentage and high sugar content, which really means it was useless. Were we willing to waste our money on half a dozen chocolate bars of which just one single bar was the merchandise we wanted? The answer was no! And of course, the package could only be sold this way; sorry, no choice! After leaving the duty free store with all its high-class brands behind, we found a humble news and magazine outlet. It had nice, entertaining reads to shorten the next leg of our journey. And-what a surprise! There was a stack of chocolates by an unknown European manufacturer with an 85 % cocoa content. Lucky us! An interesting magazine and dessert too! Bon voyage!

Conclusion

We do not think that we are the only health conscious persons on the planet. We hope that someone in charge in any airport or in an airline catering company smells a business opportunity. We are not demanding. We just prefer healthy foods and it would be great to find a meal choice with whole foods such as greens, vegetables, wild salmon, organic chicken, or grass-fed antibiotic-free beef. There is no need for anything elaborate. It’s really back to the basics! Even a mixed salad with a healthy protein portion would fit in very well. It is time that not just a few high class chefs around the world take notice of the new changes of a healthy diet that I summarized in this blog recently: “Buying Into High Carb, Low Fat Myth Makes You Sick”. In case you want to read more, I am in the process of publishing a book, which also contains 7 days of healthy menus at the end of it. It will be published early in 2014 through Amazon.com and is entitled: “A Survivor’s Guide To Successful Aging” (addendum Nov.7, 2014: It has been published March 31, 2014).

Last edited Nov. 7, 2014

Apr
01
2004

Acupuncture For Headaches Found Effective

For many years it was merely a clinical impression that some headache sufferers were helped by acupuncture. Over the years many attempted to show that acupuncture works for headaches, but the studies were done with too few patients to reach statistically meaningful results.

In a recent English study that was published by Andrew J Vickers et al. in the British Medical Journal on March 27, 2004 patients were randomly assigned to a conventional headache treatment protocol or to treatment with acupuncture. 401 patients were enrolled in this randomized study and the patients came from general practitioners in Wales and England. The patients all had similarly severe headaches or chronic headaches and had mainly migraines, but also tension type headaches. Several universities took part in the design of the study to ensure that the Cochrane criteria of evidence based medicine were adhered to. Headaches were measured according to a score that consisted of detailed standardized questionaires. Treatment with acupuncture consisted of 12 treatments over 3 months. The control headache group was treated with the usual care.

The headache sufferers were assessed at the 12 month point. There were significant differences in favor of the acupuncture treated patients. The acupuncture group had on average 22 fewer days of headaches per year than the control group. This resulted in 15% less medication use, 25% fewer doctor visits and 15% fewer sick days.

Acupuncture For Headaches Found Effective

Acupuncture For Headaches Found Effective

Acupuncture treated headache sufferers felt physically more active, they had more energy and they felt a positive change in their health.

More information about causes of headaches: http://nethealthbook.com/neurology-neurological-disease/common-causes-headaches/

British Medical Journal: BMJ 2004;328:744 (27 March).

Last edited October 26, 2014