Posts Tagged ‘Back injury


Health Update: Close-Up on Adverse Drug Reactions

You can’t switch on a television these days without seeing a commercial for some new pharmaceutical that will cure whatever may ail you (or cure you from an illness you never knew you had). If you pay attention to it, you will notice that nearly half the ad time is taken up with a long list of possible side effects and adverse reactions that may accompany taking the drug. The possibilities often include everything from slight fatigue to death.???????????

An estimated 4.5 million Americans visit their doctor or the ER each year due to adverse reactions to prescription drugs. These adverse side effects are also suffered by an additional 2 million people each year who are already in the hospital being supervised by medical professionals. The CDC estimates that 82% of Americans are taking at least one drug, and 29% are taking five or more drugs.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of approving pharmaceutical drugs for sale in the US. However, their methods for approval are based on the drug companies providing their own scientific studies on the safety of the drug. The FDA does no independent testing. The FDA will usually approve a drug if its benefits are believed to outweigh its dangers. Even assuming the drug companies’ studies have been well-conducted and show that a drug is relatively safe, no drug is completely free from side effects for everyone, even those drugs that are “natural.” A person’s age, weight, gender, overall health and genetic profile have a lot to do with how an individual will respond to a drug.

The most common side effects are gastrointestinal problems, as most drugs are processed via the digestive tract. These problems include nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhea. Other common side effects are drowsiness, fatigue and mild skin reactions. Although dizziness may not seem like a dangerous side effect, it can be particularly risky for seniors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls among seniors are the leading cause of injury-related death. A quarter of all seniors who fall and break a hip will die within six months of receiving the injury.

Death is of course the most serious side effect of all. Allergic reactions that cause anaphylaxis can be deadly. Some drugs, such as those that treat type 2 diabetes (Actos and Avandia, for example) can cause a stroke or heart attack. Antidepressants can actually increase suicidal thoughts. Some drugs can cause pain and total or partial paralysis, such as the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor. Some drugs increase your risk of cancer. Ironically, the drug Tamoxifen, prescribed to treat breast cancer, actually increases the risk of uterine cancer. Memory loss, hallucinations, loss of taste and loss of sight are other common side effects of pharmaceuticals.

Although there is no doubt that some pharmaceuticals are far more useful than they are dangerous (antibiotics, for example), if you want to avoid the harmful side-effects that many drugs may produce, try to keep as healthy as possible. Eat right, get regular exercise and visit your chiropractor to keep your body in top condition.


Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.



Do Back Support Belts Really Help Prevent Injuries?

Many people work in professions that require them to lift heavy objects on a regular basis.  Baggage handlers and construction workers, for instance, are increasingly working with the help of a back support belt in the belief that using it can reduce the likelihood of a back injury.  In fact, many companies require it of their workers so as to reduce the number of days spent out of work recovering from an injury.  But are back support belts really effective? The experts are skeptical.   

Reducing the number of back injuries is an important goal.  Almost 20% of all illnesses and injuries in the workplace are due to an injury to the back.  The cost of treating these injuries is estimated at between 20 and 50 billion dollars each year.  The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that is responsible for workplace safety, has researched the subject extensively by examining the available scientific literature on the effectiveness of back belts.  Based on their staff’s research and analysis, NIOSH believes that companies should favor instituting sound ergonomic programs as opposed to the use of back belts for preventing injury.

Back belts (also referred to as abdominal belts or back supports) are being purchased in greater numbers than ever.  However, after examining the evidence, NIOSH found there was no support for the claim that the use of back belts prevents back injuries in those who have never suffered a back injury.  In fact, in many cases it may promote injuries to the back.

A study performed by researchers at Ohio State University found that people were just as likely to injure their backs while wearing a support belt as when they were not wearing one.  The study subjects wore one of three different kinds of back belts: elastic, leather or orthotic.  The elastic belt lightened the load on the subjects’ back by only 10%.  The other two belts were found to have no effect whatsoever.  Professor William Marras, lead author of the study said, “You can lift about 20 percent more weight when you wear a back belt, but that doesn’t mean that you have 20 percent more protection on your spine.  So you may try to lift more than you can handle and hurt yourself.”

Dr. Chad Henriksen, a chiropractor specializing in issues related to health in the workplace, feels that support belts can weaken the back.  “Too often, employees will wear the back support throughout an entire eight-hour workday,” Henriksen says, “and in that situation, I think we’re getting some de-conditioning of the muscles in the lumbar spine which sets them up for back troubles later on.”  Regular use of support belts also raises blood pressure, which can be an issue for those with hypertension.

Unless you have suffered a back injury that requires the use of a back support belt for rehabilitation, it is better to avoid them and instead learn the proper techniques for lifting heavy objects.  You can also employ the use of hand trucks, chutes, slides and hoists to help take a greater part of the load off your back.


Dr. P. Dubois, DC, CCSP.

Dr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system.Amongst hispatients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levelswho benefited from his chiropractic care.

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