Chiropractic, The Original Flu Treatment

Did you know the flu pandemic of 1918 contributed to the beginning and growth of the chiropractic profession. How?, you ask.

The flu pandemic of 1918 produced the deadliest infection in modern history, infecting an estimated 500 million people throughout the world. The pandemic infected almost one-third of the world’s population killing between 20 and 50 million people. More than 25 percent of the U.S. population became sick, and over half a million Americans died during the pandemic.

No effective drugs or vaccines existed at the time of the pandemic. People possessed no real treatments or means of preventing the spread of the strain. American citizens were ordered to wear masks while schools and other places of mass gathering were shut down. But not everyone was succumbing to the virus.

And this interesting sub-population of people protected from the flu gained significant attention during and after the 1918 flu pandemic. Chiropractic research led to pockets of communities where doctors and osteopaths of the time administered spinal adjustments that focused on the health and well-being of the nervous system. Medical statistics in Davenport, Iowa, detailed 4,953 cases of flu were treated by 50 medical doctors. 274 of those patients perished from the virus. Approximately 150 Chiropractors and Chiropractic students cared for 1,635 patients with the flu; only one death occurred. 9.2 percent of flu cases that sought medical attention died during this terrible season. Only one-fourth of one percent (.0025 percent) of patients receiving Chiropractic adjustments died during the pandemic. Chiropractic patients experience approximately 1/40th of the death rate experienced by those patients seeking medical intervention. The flu pandemic of 1918 put Chiropractic in the national spotlight as an alternative form of health care that focused on the intelligent power within the body.

The observations during the 1918 flu pandemic did not fall unnoticed by current health researchers. In fact some of the most forward thinking, cutting edge research has demonstrated that Chiropractic adjustment of the spine boosts the function of your immune system.

Chiropractic Adjustments Increase Immune Cells to Fight Viruses

A 2010 research study the Journal of Chiropractic and Osteopathy called “Interleukin 2-regulated in vitro antibody production following a single spinal manipulative treatment in normal subjects”.

Here’s the details of the study:

  • 74 age and sex-matched healthy asymptomatic subjects were studied
  • Subjects were assigned randomly into three groups.
  • Group one was the venipuncture control group. Group two received a spinal manipulative treatment without “popping” (cavitation). And group 3 received a spinal manipulative treatment with “popping” (cavitation).
  • Blood samples were obtained from the subjects before, at 20 minutes after, and at two hours post treatment.
  • Determinations of the levels of immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin M production in cultures were performed by specific immunoassays. Immunoglobulins are antibodies that act as defenders for the body.
  • The production of interleukin-two induced Immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin M wassignificantly increased in cultures from subjects treated with spinal manipulation.
  • At 20 minutes post manipulation, immunoglobulin G synthesis was significantly elevated in subjects who received manipulation with cavitation, relative to subjects in the control group.
  • At 2 hours post treatment, immunoglobulin M synthesis was significantly elevated in subjects who received manipulation relative to the control group.
  • Spinal manipulative treatment increases antibody synthesis induced by interleukin-2 in asymptomatic patients.
    In conclusion, spinal manipulative treatment will influence interleukin-2 regulated biological processes.

This study explains why chiropractic should play a role in immune-boosting strategies for both children and adults.

The same type of adjustments that helped many Americans experience only 1/40th the death rate during the flu pandemic of 1918, are given today in Chiropractic clinics all over the world with similar immune-building benefits.

As the flu season arrives, one of the most important and evidence-based measures a family can take towards preventing or overcoming the flu is to keep up with their routine spinal care with their Chiropractor.

Additional considerations:

In addition to routine Chiropractic care, the Doctors at Back 2 Health recommend the following evidence-based recommendations.

Avoid sugar intake during flu season to keep your immune system functioning at its highest possible level. Studies have demonstrated that a blood sugar level of only 120 can depress your immune system function by up to 75% for 4-6 hour! Avoid sugars like they were…the flu!

Get adequate rest. Try to get at least 7-8 hours of rest per evening. Exercise is good, but avoid overtaxing or excessive physical stress on the body during flu season.

Wash your hands frequently and avoid those that are actively infected. The age-old, common-sense, recommendations your mother gave you still hold true today! Avoid places where active flu infection may be common unless absolutely necessary… like the hospital or urgent care centers.

Boost your Vitamin D intake. Vitamin D supplementation is an inexpensive way to boost your immune system during the winter months. A huge global research study completed in 2017 demonstrated that Vitamin D supplementation benefits extend beyond bone health and have a positive impact on your immune system.

Do you have any further questions? Don’t hesitate to contact the Doctors or staff at Back 2 Health to help you put together your family’s flu-prevention game plan!

Turn, Turn, Turn

The seasons change and so do we. Superficially, it may not appear as if we’re undergoing perpetual metamorphosis, but we are. Just as trees replace their leaves and birds shed their feathers, we too change dramatically. But our modifications and upgrades take place beneath the surface. Unlike leaves that turn and fall with colder weather, our alterations are hidden from view and we generally take these parallel life cycles for granted.

We may categorize our physiology in terms of systems, organs, tissues, and cells. Systems include cardiorespiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, endocrine, lymphatic, and reproductive mechanisms. Corresponding organs include the heart and lungs, stomach and intestines, bones and muscles, the liver, pancreas, and thyroid and pituitary glands. Each organ is comprised of tissues and tissues are composed of cells. Although not an exact comparison, we could consider that a leaf is a cell of a tree. In that case, we could say that our cells are analogous to leaves.

Our cells perform complex functions, depending on the nature of their specialization.1,2 Cells have inputs in the form of nutrients and oxygen and outputs in the form of useful work (energy), as well as specific biomolecules they have manufactured and the waste products of such metabolism.

Cells wear out over time and must be replaced for the living organism to survive. Such replacement takes place continuously, a systematic process that itself requires substantial planning, signaling, and resources. For example, human red blood cells live for approximately 120 days. Thus, your entire supply of oxygen-carrying red blood cells is replaced every four months. Cells lining the stomach have a lifespan of about five days. Cells lining the alveoli of the lungs have a lifespan of approximately one week.

The coordination necessary for these life-and-death activities is the responsibility of the nerve system, the body’s master system.3 The nerve system provides instructions for the proper functioning of all the cells in your body and processes information received from these cells. The massive complexity of the nerve system requires timely and accurate transmission of all signaling. Regular chiropractic care helps ensure that your nerve system gets the job done. As a result, regular chiropractic care helps ensure that the critical processes of the cellular life cycle are performed appropriately, and helps ensure our ongoing long-term health and well-being.

Sources

1. Gonzalez A, et al: Cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating neuronal growth by brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Cytoskeleton (Hoboken) 73(10):612-628, 2016

2. Deiuliis JA: MicroRNAs as regulators of metabolic disease: pathophysiologic significance and emerging role as biomarkers and therapeutics. Int J Obes (Lond) 40(1):88-101, 2016

3. Sun N, et al: The Mitochondrial Basis of Aging. Mol Cell 61(5):654-666, 2016

Hiking Your Way to Health

As autumn’s outdoor temperatures begin to moderate, many of us look forward to opportunities for vigorous cardiorespiratory activities that we put aside in the heat of the summer. It’s much easier to hike in the spring and fall, even in the peak afternoon hours, because the sun’s intensity is less harsh.

Hiking is tremendous fun and is a wonderful form of vigorous exercise for the entire family, including the youngest through the oldest.1 Hiking combines both cardiorespiratory and strength training activities, which train not only your heart and lungs but also the large muscle groups of your legs, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the gastrocnemius/soleus muscles of your calves. However, hiking is not like other forms of exercise. As you cannot really do a hike gradually, it’s important to have acquired a good level of fitness before you begin to hike. Also, hikers need to be prepared and take along specific supplies. When you hike, it’s best to expect the unexpected, and certain basic supplies are critically necessary.

In terms of fitness preparation, beginning hikers should be able to walk four miles at a brisk pace.2 This will allow you to hike a two-mile trail at a modest incline, covering a total of four miles out and back. Doing such a hike a few times will then provide the preparation needed for increasing your hiking distance. Hiking preparation also includes strength training. In a comprehensive strength training program, you train all major muscle groups once a week. This is done by performing “split routines” such as training chest and back, shoulders and arms, and legs on separate days. Your comprehensive strength training program works synergistically with your cardiorespiratory exercise. Doing one form of exercise benefits the other activity and the result is substantial improvement in your fitness levels. The overall result is that you are appropriately prepared to hike.

Regarding supplies, every hiker needs a backpack. Your backpack will contain a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, a two-liter water bottle, some trail mix and protein bars, a GPS-capable phone, a map and compass (as low-tech backups to your phone’s GPS), and a lightweight rain slicker or waterproof poncho. Each of these items is necessary for a safe and enjoyable hike. You don’t want to run out of water or snacks. You don’t want to get sunburnt or rained on. And you certainly don’t want to get lost. By Murphy’s Law, the supply that you neglect or forget to bring, is the one you will need on that hike. The best policy is to always be prepared.

With appropriate preparation, hiking will provide you and your family years of enjoyment of the natural world and will enhance your health and well-being for years to come.

Sources:

1. Gutwenger I, et al: Pilot study on the effects of a 2-week hiking vacation at moderate versus low altitude on plasma parameters of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in patients with metabolic syndrome. BMC Res Notes. 2015 Mar 28;8:103. doi: 10.1186/s13104-015-1066-3

2. Walker JR, et al: U.S. Cohort Differences in Body Composition Outcomes of a 6-Month Pedometer-Based Physical Activity Intervention: The ASUKI Step Study. Asian J Sports Med 2014 Dec;5(4):e25748. doi: 10.5812/asjsm.25748. Epub 2014 Dec 1

3. Hartescu I, et al: Increased physical activity improves sleep and mood outcomes in inactive people with insomnia: a randomized controlled trial. J Sleep Res 24(5):526-34, 2015

Today’s Forecast

Regardless of the type of weather, meteorological events have a big impact on all of us. Beyond the sunscreen, floppy hats, raincoats, umbrellas, snow shovels, and de-icers, there are the physiological effects of weather itself. Many of us are all too familiar with the dramatic increase in aches and pains experienced by those who are sensitive to changes in barometric pressure, temperature, and humidity. Importantly, there are several action steps that may be taken to help ameliorate the sometimes significant discomfort and improve the daily living of persons afflicted with “weather pains.”

Inflammatory disorders, such as the various types of arthritis,1 are especially sensitive to weather patterns. Arthritic inflammation affects synovial tissue (the layer of cells lining the joint), ligaments that hold joints together, and muscle–tendon units that cause joints to move through a specific range of motion. All of these connective tissues contain numerous pain receptors whose primary purpose is to prevent injury. But pain receptors become problematic when they’re firing, not as a signal of potential damage to the joint and its supporting connective tissues, but rather as a response to swelling of the joint structures caused by inflammation. Conditions such as osteoarthritis (when moderate or severe) and rheumatoid arthritis result in ongoing inflammation and, therefore, ongoing pain of greater or lesser degree. Any external process that increases joint swelling will uncomfortably increase arthritic pain. Other conditions with proposed links to inflammation, such as migraine headaches,2,3 are also be susceptible to changes in meteorological phenomena.

As the only way to control the weather we’re experiencing is to move to another locale (but as those who move know all too well, each sector of the globe has its own unique climate issues), it’s best to employ more practical measures that focus on things we can actually control. These methods are directed toward turning down our internal thermostats, in other words, reducing the sources and causes of physiologic inflammation.

The three primary techniques for reducing one’s susceptibility to weather pains are eating a healthy diet, exercising for at least 30 minutes five times a week, and obtaining sufficient rest. In terms of a healthy diet, consuming five portions of fresh fruits and vegetables each day is a primary tool for reducing inflammation. Eliminating preservative- and additive-containing prepared foods is another important step. Gluten is another well-known inflammatory trigger. If you suspect you may be gluten sensitive, you could place yourself on a six-week gluten-free trial and evaluate the results. Exercise is necessary for everyone, and those with inflammatory conditions should consult with their chiropractor or other family doctor to learn what types of exercise they may safely engage in. Finally, those with “weather pains” will greatly benefit from getting an appropriate amount of sleep. Getting by with less rest is not heroic and may be damaging. Seven hours of sleep each night is probably an acceptable minimum, and an average of eight hours of sleep each night will likely result in greater benefit.

These important lifestyle enhancements will not eliminate inflammatory disorders, but they will make the effects of these conditions much more tolerable. These lifestyle improvements will help you better withstand your own climate’s weather idiosyncrasies and help support your long-term health and well-being.