Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Historic Pro-Chiropractic Provisions Will Become Law

A Press Release from the American Chiropractic Association

The U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 3590, the Senate-passed version of national health care reform legislation, on March 21st. The final vote took place after a nearly 13 month battle, culminating in a contentious struggle to garner votes from undecided members of the Democratic majority in Congress.

The provisions contained in HR 3590 were enacted into law by President Obama’s signature on March 23rd. . These provisions include an important provider non-discrimination provision long championed by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). Incorporation of this provider non-discrimination provision, also known as the “Harkin Amendment,” was achieved primarily due to the efforts of Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), with help from other key players such as Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut). Although he did not support the final bill overall, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) also lent his support for the advancement of the non-discrimination provision.

Regardless of how you feel about this legislation and its overall impact on the nation, it has to be recognized as an historic first for the chiropractic profession. We now have a federal law applicable to ERISA plans that makes it against the law for insurance companies to discriminate against doctors of chiropractic and other providers relative to their participation and coverage in health plans. Such discrimination based on a provider’s license is inappropriate and now must stop,” said ACA President, Rick McMichael, DC. “While this does not fully level the playing field for doctors of chiropractic in our health care system, this is a highly significant step that has the potential for positive, long-range impact on the profession and the patients we serve. Congress has finally addressed the issue of provider discrimination based on one’s license, and they have said that such discrimination must stop.”

The provider non-discrimination provision (Section 2706) enacted into law reads in part: “A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider’s license or certification under applicable State law.”

Regarding this provision, John Falardeau, ACA’s Vice President of Government Relations said, “The Harkin non-discrimination language will be applicable to all health benefit plans both insured and self-insured. National health care reform is designed to eventually cover 30 million currently uninsured Americans. The non-discrimination language will, over time, apply to those individuals as well. However, that number of covered individuals pales in comparison to the 55 percent of workers who are currently covered by self-insured plans that will be affected by the Harkin non-discrimination language. The potential impact in this regard cannot be overstated.”

Additionally, the legislation passed by the House includes two other provisions that impact the chiropractic profession. Doctors of chiropractic are specifically included as potential members of interdisciplinary community health teams. These teams support the development of medical homes by increasing access to comprehensive, community based, coordinated care. Community health teams are integrated teams of providers that include primary care providers, specialists, other clinicians, licensed integrative health professionals and community resources to enhance patient care, wellness and lifestyle improvements. The language in the bill ensures that doctors of chiropractic can be included in these patient-centered, holistic teams. Dr. McMichael noted, "This language was a critical inclusion to give doctors of chiropractic increased opportunities to be fully engaged as part of the health care team."

Furthermore, the legislation establishes a National Health Care Workforce Commission to examine current and projected needs in the health care workforce. The commission specifically includes doctors of chiropractic by defining them as part of the health care workforce, and includes them in the definition of health professionals. In addition, chiropractic colleges are included among the health professional training schools to be studied. The National Health Care Workforce Commission is tasked with providing comprehensive, unbiased information to Congress and the Obama Administration about how to align federal health care workforce resources with national needs. Congress will use this information when providing appropriations to discretionary programs or in restructuring other federal funding. The language in the bill guarantees that the need for doctors of chiropractic will be addressed when considering federal health care workforce programs, another very important inclusion.

Assuming final modifications to the bill are ultimately agreed to by the Senate; ACA will then publish a detailed analysis of the entire legislation, including a timeline for when certain provisions become effective. Additionally, ACA will maintain an active watch over the implementation of the legislation over the next several years and will offer its views regarding proposed regulations that will likely be developed in order to fully implement the new law. ACA will also respond to any future legislation such as “technical corrections” and other modifications that might be considered. Dr. McMichael noted, "Our partners on the Chiropractic Summit were important team members in securing these critical inclusions for the benefit of our profession and our patients. We thank all team members for their good collaborative work on this major effort and future efforts to come."

The American Chiropractic Association is the largest chiropractic organization in the United States.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Using Technology Safely

Mobile technological devices have made our lives more convenient. We can now send e-mails, access the Internet, manage our schedules, and use spreadsheets and other office software all from our phones. While this makes it easier to accomplish tasks without being tethered to an office, this has also increased the amount of time we spend using these devices, which is not without risks.

Before these advances in technology, our bodies moved as we used the phone and the computer, we walked to the fax machine, and we flipped through our calendars. Now we slump over a small screen with little change in our position. Our bodies are made to move—not to maintain the same stooped-over posture for long periods of time. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice these modern conveniences for your health, but you do need to be conscious of the risks and what you can do to minimize them.

Protect Your Neck
The bent-forward position increases disc pressure. It also increases loads on the muscles. This is similar to the faulty forward position often used when watching TV and working on the computer. Remember these tips:

• Sit upright, keeping your ears over your shoulders.
• Look down with your eyes and gently tuck your chin in, not forward.
• Never pinch the phone between your ear and shoulder. Using a headset reduces muscle fatigue and frees your hands for typing or writing.
• Support your forearms on a pillow during extended texting to reduce the strain on your neck and shoulder muscles.

Prevent Elbow Injury
The ulnar, or “funny bone,” nerve wraps around the inside of your elbow. Keeping your elbows bent can compress the nerve. As the nerve becomes irritated, you can experience pain, numbness, tingling, and even weakness or muscleatrophy. The nerve sits close to the surface and is also damaged by external pressure. To prevent the risks:

• Minimize the time you bend the elbows to hold the screen up to see it.
• Instead of returning all your e-mails on the phone, wait until you can use the computer.
• Avoid leaning on the flexed elbow while talking on the phone or in the car.

Like a Sore Thumb
Our thumbs are not made to quickly and forcefully press the small keys on cell phones to text and input data. Use the following tips to minimize the risk of injury:

• Alternate among using your thumb, index finger, and a stylus, if available.
• If your only choice is a stylus, change how you hold it. Switch between holding it like a pen and holding it between the index and middle fingers.
• Several multi-tip pens are available at office supply stores that allow you to switch between pen and stylus tips. This is a good option, as the barrel of the pen is thicker than a standard stylus and requires less force on the joints and muscles.
• Minimize the use of scroll wheels as they often cause inflammation of thumb tendons.

As technology progresses, there are likely to be more and more tasks we will be able to complete on our phones. While it is convenient, remember to take a break and think about the effects on your body.

Tips to Minimize PDA and Cell Phone Use

• Return only urgent e-mails on the PDA. Respond to other e-mails from your computer.
• Use key shortcuts (cut, paste, etc.) and abbreviations.
• Enter all contact info on the computer, and synchronize the devices to transfer the
data to the PDA.
• Monitor the time spent on the phone or PDA.
• Avoid, or at least minimize, using word processing and spreadsheet programs on your PDA.
• Take breaks to stretch and shake out the hands.
• Turn the PDA off when possible! If it is on all the time, it’s more likely to be overused.

Patient Information from the American Chiropractic Association
Written by Chris Sorrells, OTR, CHT, CEAS
www.ErgonomicsSimplified.com, President

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

CDC Has Created a New Program: Fruits and Vegetables - MORE Matters

Almost Everyone Needs to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
A growing body of research shows that fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health. To get the amount that's recommended, most people need to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they currently eat every day. How Many Fruits and Vegetables Do You Need?

Fruits and Vegetables Can Protect Your Health
Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Compared with people who consume a diet with only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts as part of a healthful diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers.

Whole Foods or Supplements?
Nutrients should come primarily from foods. Foods such as fruits and vegetables contain not only the vitamins and minerals that are often found in supplements, but also other naturally occurring substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases.

For some people, fortified foods or supplements can be helpful in getting the nutrients their bodies need. A fortified food contains a nutrient in an amount greater than what is typically found in that food.

Fruits and Vegetables and Weight Management
Substituting fruits and vegetables for higher-calorie foods can be part of a weight loss strategy. Read more on CDC's page How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight.

Fruits and Vegetables on the Go!
Busy lives can benefit from food that's nutritious, yet easy to eat on-the-go, like fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are a natural source of energy and give the body many nutrients you need to keep going.

The Colors of Health
Fruits and vegetables come in terrific colors and flavors, but their real beauty lies in what's inside. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of many vitamins, minerals and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases.

To get a healthy variety, think color. Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients, like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Some examples include green spinach, orange sweet potatoes, black beans, yellow corn, purple plums, red watermelon, and white onions. For more variety, try new fruits and vegetables regularly.

View a chart that lists specific nutrients and tells you how these nutrients contribute to good health. You can also find out which fruits and vegetables are good and excellent sources of these nutrients.

For additional information about this program, visit http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov.

Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt Tickets Can Be Purchased at Optimal Family Chiropractic

The Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt will be held on Sunday, March 21 at Turkey Brook Park, Flanders Road in Budd Lake. Rain/snow/bad conditions date is March 28.

Preregistration is $5.00 donation per child.
On-field registration is $7.00 donation per child.
Registration and activities for children begin at 12:00pm.
Easter Bunny arrives at 12:30pm.
Hunt begins at 1:00pm SHARP.

There are many prizes to be won. See website for current list. Every paid ticket will have an opportunity to win a $100 gift card.

Tickets can be purchased at Optimal Family Chiropractic and at Georges Liquors, Route 46 West at Netcong Road. Please check website for additional information and hunt updates if weather looks questionable: www.mtolivekiwanis.org. For more information, to volunteer or to make a donation, please contact Adele Perkins at 973-978-6067 or adeleperkins@hotmail.com.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chiropractic and Neck Pain: Conservative Care of Cervical Pain and Injury

By the American Chiropractic Association

Your neck, also called the cervical spine, begins at the base of the skull and contains seven small vertebrae. Incredibly, the cervical spine supports the full weight of your head, which is on average about 12 pounds. While the cervical spine can move your head in nearly every direction, this flexibility makes the neck very susceptible to pain and injury.

The neck’s susceptibility to injury is due in part to biomechanics. Activities and events that affect cervical biomechanics include extended sitting, repetitive movement, accidents, falls and blows to the body or head, normal aging, and everyday wear and tear. Neck pain can be very bothersome, and it can have a variety of causes.

Here are some of the most typical causes of neck pain:
Injury and Accidents: A sudden forced movement of the head or neck in any direction and the resulting “rebound” in the opposite direction is known as whiplash. The sudden “whipping” motion injures the surrounding and supporting tissues of the neck and head. Muscles react by tightening and contracting, creating muscle fatigue, which can result in pain and stiffness. Severe whiplash can also be associated with injury to the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, muscles, and nerve roots. Car accidents are the most common cause of whiplash.

Growing Older: Degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease directly affect the spine.

· Osteoarthritis, a common joint disorder, causes progressive deterioration of cartilage. The body reacts by forming bone spurs that affect joint motion.
· Spinal stenosis causes the small nerve passageways in the vertebrae to narrow, compressing and trapping nerve roots. Stenosis may cause neck, shoulder, and arm pain,as well as numbness, when these nerves are unable to function normally.
· Degenerative disc disease can cause reduction in the elasticity and height of intervertebral discs. Over time, a disc may bulge or herniate, causing tingling, numbness, and pain that runs into the arm.

Daily Life: Poor posture, obesity, and weak abdominal muscles often disrupt spinal balance, causing the neck to bend forward to compensate. Stress and emotional tension can cause muscles to tighten and contract, resulting in pain and stiffness. Postural stress can contribute to chronic neck pain with symptoms extending into the upper back and the arms.

Chiropractic Care of Neck Pain
During your visit, your doctor of chiropractic will perform exams to locate the source of your pain and will ask you questions about your current symptoms and remedies you may have already tried. For example:

· When did the pain start?
· What have you done for your neck pain?
· Does the pain radiate or travel to other parts of your body?
· Does anything reduce the pain or make it worse?

Your doctor of chiropractic will also do physical and neurological exams. In the physical exam, your doctor will observe your posture, range of motion, and physical condition, noting movement that causes pain. Your doctor will feel your spine, note its curvature and alignment, and feel for muscle spasm. A check of your shoulder area is also in order. During the neurological exam, your doctor will test your reflexes, muscle strength, other nerve changes, and pain spread.

In some instances, your chiropractor might order tests to help diagnose your condition. An x-ray can show narrowed disc space, fractures, bone spurs, or arthritis. A computerized axial tomography scan (CT or CAT scan) or a magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI) can show bulging discs and herniations. If nerve damage is suspected, your doctor may order a special test called electromyography (EMG) to measure how quickly your nerves respond.

Chiropractors are conservative care doctors; their scope of practice does not include the use of drugs or surgery. If your chiropractor diagnoses a condition outside of this conservative scope, such as a neck fracture or an indication of an organic disease, he or she will refer you to the appropriate medical physician or specialist. He or she may also ask for permission to inform your family physician of the care you are receiving to ensure that your chiropractic care and medical care are properly coordinated.

Neck Adjustments
A neck adjustment (also known as a cervical manipulation) is a precise procedure applied to the joints of the neck, usually by hand. A neck adjustment works to improve the mobility of the spine and to restore range of motion; it can also increase movement of the adjoining muscles. Patients typically notice an improved ability to turn and tilt the head, and a reduction of pain, soreness, and stiffness.

Of course, your chiropractor will develop a program of care that may combine more than one type of treatment, depending on your personal needs. In addition to manipulation, the treatment plan may include mobilization, massage or rehabilitative exercises, or something else. Doctor Brenda Rooney develops a treatment plan that addresses the specific needs of each patient in her practice.

Research Supporting Chiropractic Care
One of the most recent reviews of scientific literature found evidence that patients with chronic neck pain enrolled in clinical trials reported significant improvement following chiropractic spinal manipulation.

As part of the literature review, published in the March/April 2007 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, the researchers reviewed nine previously published trials and found “high-quality evidence” that patients with chronic neck pain showed significant pain-level improvements following spinal manipulation. No trial group was reported as having remained unchanged, and all groups showed positive changes up to 12 weeks post-treatment.

Netcong Craft and Sports Memorabilia Fair

The Netcong School PTA, in all its efforts, continuously seeks community support of all initiatives to provide quality extra-curricular activities for Netcong School students.

Netcong School PTA will be hosting a Spring Holiday Craft & Sports Memorabilia Fair on Saturday, March 20, 2010 at Netcong Elementary School, 26 College Road in Netcong. The event's hours are 10 am-4 pm.

Over 85 crafters with handmade items and vendors with quality merchandise will be participating in this one-of-a-kind event. This area has never before hosted such a shopping extravaganza, guaranteed to have something for everyone. Maria Patamia, PTA President is the coordinator of this event and can be reached at 973.296.7638 or e-mail: netcongschoolpta@yahoo.com for additional information. Space is completely sold out for this event.

Admission is free to the public. However, donations will gladly be accepted at the door. This event is the largest fundraising initiative for the PTA. Food will be available for purchase throughout the day. A Raffle/Tricky Tray Drawing will be held at 3 pm with items donated by major corporations, local businesses and crafters/vendors attending the fair. All proceeds will help fund student programs, trips, and a new playground. Any individual or business interested in being a sponsor of this event should contact Maria Patamia. All donors/sponsors will be recognized in the event directory.

A host of items including a pet Bakery, Designer handbags, Pampered Chef, Wooden Rose Arrangements, Silpada, Belgium Chocolates, Usborne Books, Lia Sophia, Avon, Tupperware, Scentsy, Discovery Toys, Ant E Bees Hives Candles, Photography, World Ventures Travel, Gourmet Bakery, Barefoot Books, Fun4All Entertainment, Initials Inc. , Nature Names, Mary Kay, Longaberger and Tastefully Simple are just a few of the home based business consultants who will be participating in this event.

Handmade items include a variety of jewelry, wood creations, stained glass, and hand painted items.

Do you have unwanted, broken, or out of date gold jewelry? Bring it to this event and the “Gold Fairies” will turn it into cash on the spot.

Do you need spring holiday gifts for the young and old? Come visit the many crafters with holiday baskets.

Do you have unwanted clothing, linens, shoes, purses, or small stuffed animals? Please bring it to Netcong School on Sat. Mar. 20th. Neighbors Helping Neighbors will be on hand to collect all articles for various charities in the front of the school.

Have you been thinking about adoption or becoming a foster parent? Representatives from the Division of Youth and Family Services will be on hand with information on how to go about it.

Are you looking for chiropractic services? Optimal Family Chiropractic, LLC will be on hand offering free neck and foot screenings. Dr. Brenda Rooney will answer questions about the benefits of chiropractic therapy for a variety of conditions.

Are you a sports memorabilia collector? Then you won’t want to miss this extraordinary collection of authentically signed sports artifacts by Steiner Sports Memorabilia house, a portion of their proceeds will be donated to Netcong School from an on-site auction and sale of memorabilia.

Do you enjoy raffles or tricky trays? This event will also be hosting a 50/50 raffle throughout the day and a tricky tray drawing at 3 pm. With over 100 donated items from crafters and businesses.

Mark your calendars. This will be an event you won’t want to miss. Bring the whole family. Welcome spring with a visit to the Netcong School PTA Spring Holiday Craft and Sports Memorabilia Fair.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Headaches and Chiropractic

If you have a headache, you’re not alone. Nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea.

What do you do when you suffer from a pounding headache? Do you grit your teeth and carry on? Lie down? Pop a pill and hope the pain goes away? There is a better alternative.

Research shows that spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck.

A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication.

Also, a 1995 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.

Headache Triggers
Headaches have many causes, or “triggers.” These may include foods, environmental stimuli (noises, lights, stress, etc.) and/or behaviors (insomnia, excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, etc.). About 5 percent of all headaches are warning signals caused by physical problems.

Ninety-five percent of headaches are primary headaches, such as tension, migraine, or cluster headaches. These types of headaches are not caused by disease. The headache itself is the primary concern.

“The greatest majority of primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck,” says Dr. George B. McClelland, a doctor of chiropractic from Christiansburg, VA. “Today, Americans engage in more sedentary activities than they used to, and more hours are spent in one fixed position or posture. This can increase joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back and scalp, causing your head to ache.”

What Can You Do?
The American Chiropractic Association suggests, and Dr. Brenda Rooney concurs with the following:

- If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing or reading, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.

- Low-impact exercise may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. However, if you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches, avoid heavy exercise. Engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobics.

- Avoid teeth clenching. The upper teeth should never touch the lowers, except when swallowing. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull – leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headache.

- Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches.

What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?
Dr. McClelland says your doctor of chiropractic may do one or more of the following if you suffer from a primary headache:

- Perform spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustments to improve spinal function and alleviate the stress on your system.

- Provide nutritional advice, recommending a change in diet and perhaps the addition of B complex vitamins.

- Offer advice on posture, ergonomics (work postures), exercises and relaxation techniques. This advice should help to relieve the recurring joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back.

- “Doctors of chiropractic undergo extensive training to help their patients in many ways – not just back pain,” says Dr. McClelland. “They know how tension in the spine relates to problems in other parts of the body, and they can take steps to relieve those problems.”