Reducing the ‘meds’

Yolanda Fawcett
courtesy iVillage

I started in practice more than three decades ago but I’ve never stopped being amazed at how many times patients find chiropractic care to be “life changing.” Here’s another case: in March of this year, Yolande Fawcett, 46, was featured on the wildly popular website, iVillage (which is associated with Oprah Winfrey and the NBC television network). Years ago, Fawcett was diagnosed with bipolar disorder — as were all six of her brothers and sisters (along with some five million other Americans). The medical response was to put her on a pile of pills.

In addition to admitting that she “loves her mania” side of manic-depression, she stated: “I’ve finally found a cocktail of daily medications that seems to be working, after 20 years of feeling like a human guinea pig, going on and off medications and trying new things. I’ve learned that I can’t go off of the medications just because I start to feel better. When I’ve done that in the past, it’s made me much sicker. I know now that it’s the medication that is making me feel better, and to stay better, I need to stay on my meds.”

Fast forward to last week. The same woman is in a chiropractic office undergoing “life changing” care to allow her to reduce her “meds.” In an article in TCPalm online newspaper, Fawcett credits her chiropractor, Bruce Hansbrough, DC, with not only helping her feel better, but for allowing her to reduce her “meds.”

“Despite years of medical treatment for bi-polar disorder, Fawcett was looking for alternative treatments in order to lessen the amount of medication that she was taking for her condition,” the article by Jeannie Ferrara stated.

Fawcett is quoted in the article as saying, “Dr. Bruce has been able to ‘shock’ my system and align my spine so that I am more limber and have a better range of motion. His work has also decreased the amount of neck and shoulder pain I experience when I am under stress. Which unfortunately is all too often. With regular visits, my discomfort has lessened.”

I doubt if iVillage will announce that development, but if more people who have been burdened with medical diagnoses for stress- and diet-related conditions like “bipolar disorder” would learn of the potential for drug-free, non-invasive chiropractic care, our offices would overflow and the world would be a healthier, happier place!

Pass the chocolate

One of the staff members of the newspaper I founded and publish, The Chiropractic Journal, gave birth to a healthy son last month. We all cheered the occasion, knowing that this child will grow up in a world that has discovered the true meaning of health and wellness.

It’s incredible to think that the work we do now, educating the public about the dangers and risks of drugs and invasive medical procedures, will improve the lives of generations to come. In that infant’s lifetime, we’ll make astounding advancements in what is now being called the “new biology,” and in the field of energy healing.

Most wellness practitioners, including chiropractors, fully understand that stress is the key factor in most — if not all — chronic illnesses, since it effectively shuts down the immune system. In a study appearing in the current online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers concluded (not for the first time) that stress increases the inflammatory activity that is part of our immune system’s natural response to potentially harmful situations. “Frequent or chronic activation of the system may increase risk for a variety of disorders, including asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and even depression,” stated lead researcher George Slavich, a postdoctoral fellow in the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology. Also included in the list of diseases that could be triggered by stress were certain types of cancer. (Abstract available online

What many people don’t know — including some doctors — is that the stress levels of pregnant women can affect the health of their unborn babies. In 2007, a study published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology, Stress revealed that high stress levels during pregnancy may affect the unborn baby as early as 17 weeks after conception, with potentially harmful effects on brain and development. Another research study linked stress during pregnancy to premature and low-weight births.

Obviously, stress reduction is critical for all people wanting to maintain a high level of health — but it’s even more important for pregnant women. After all, they’re pumping stress hormones for two!

On a lighter note, several research studies have found that eating some types of chocolate (dark and raw chocolate particularly) during pregnancy can be beneficial to the child, partially because it tends to alleviate some of the woman’s stress.

A Yale study published in Epidemiology, May 2008, claimed chocolate during pregnancy reduces the risk of preeclampsia, a major pregnancy complication. Another study — this one published in Early Human Development back in 2004 — found that babies born to women who ate chocolate every day while they were pregnant were more active and “positively reactive” (meaning they smiled and laughed more). They also showed less fear of new situations than babies of stressed women who didn’t indulge their sweet tooth in chocolate!

So, forget the meds … pass the chocolate!

HRQL- An Important Research Instrument

by Terry A. Rondberg, DC

Stethoscope and ClipboardPreviously, researchers determined a patient’s level of health by measuring vital signs, recording frequency of symptoms, examining X‑Rays, and observing character. Rarely did they ask the patient how he or she felt. They took pride in judging the patient’s quality of life based just on objective measurements.

Recently, a new instrument allows researchers a more accurate picture into the patient’s state of well-being ‑‑ the health related quality of life survey.

According to a paper published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 1998;316:542‑545), “It is now widely acknowledged that the personal burden of illness cannot be described fully by measures of disease status such as size of infarction, tumor load, and forced expiratory volume. Psychosocial factors such as pain, apprehension, restricted mobility and other functional impairments, difficulty fulfilling personal and family responsibilities, financial burden, and diminished cognition must also be encompassed. The area of research that has resulted from this recognition is termed ‘health related quality of life’ [HRQL]. It moves beyond direct manifestations of illness to study the patient’s personal morbidity.  That is, the various effects that illnesses and treatments have on daily life and life satisfaction. Although quality of life assessment was almost unknown a few years ago, it has rapidly become an integral variable of outcome in clinical research.”

The Internet has made these surveys more prominent and meritorious for scientists. The surveys are also more convenient for the researcher and the patient. “Instruments administered via the Internet appear to be reliable, and to be answered similarly to the way they are answered when they are administered via traditional mailed paper questionnaires,” reported Stanford University researchers in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (J Med Internet Res 2004;6(3):e29).

Measuring the impact of health care on the patient’s well-being has become so crucial that many medical experts say research that disregards such an element, may not be worthwhile for practitioners.

One research paper, published by Canada ‘s Centre for Health Evidence, reports, “When the goal of treatment is to improve how people are feeling (rather than to prolong their lives) and physiological correlates of patients’ experience are lacking, HRQL measurement is imperative. For example, we would pay little attention to studies of antidepressants that failed to measure patients’ mood, or trials of anti‑migraine medication that failed to measure pain.” (“How to Use Articles about Health‑Related Quality of Life Measurements,” by Gordon H. Guyatt,, for the Evidence Based Medicine Working Group).

Chiropractic care is no different.

If research fails to measure how patients view their own health, the results will be inaccurate and will fail to establish the relationship between subluxation correction and quality of life. Objective tests may show some stress reduction on the nervous system, but we must step out-of-bounds to clarify the effect of that reduction on the way people behave and feel.

We should not rely solely on health questionnaires, but combine the results with standardized clinical exams and observations.  This will enable us to answer many questions about chiropractic.

Prior to the Self‑Reported Quality of Life (SRQL) study, no specific outcome measurement existed for chiropractic care and very few non‑chiropractic quality of life surveys directed to chiropractic existed. With more than 7,000 records regarding the development and testing of patient‑reported health instruments indexed by the National Centre for Health Outcomes Development in Britain, only 17 engaged chiropractic. Of those 17, nine were specifically focused on back and neck pain, two on the symptom duration of myofascial pain, one on migraines, and two on general pain. One record was published in a non‑scientific trade newspaper when it should have appeared in a medical journal with comments and reviews from team experts.

Only one case out of 7,000 contained a broader application of chiropractic to quality of life issues – “A retrospective assessment of chiropractic care using a survey of self‑rated health, wellness and quality of life,” by Robert Blanks PhD, and colleagues, published in the Journal of Subluxation Research (JSR1997, 1:15‑31).

The quality of life questionnaire was created to specifically assess wellness via the patient’s self‑rating of the following: physical state, mental/emotional state, stress evaluation, life enjoyment, and general quality of life at two intervals: before and after they began chiropractic care.

I won’t regurgitate the technicalities involving the creation of this survey instrument.  The study revealed that patients reported significant change in all areas, including quality of life. They felt better physically and emotionally, experienced less stress and enjoyed themselves more simply thanks to chiropractic.

According to the results, improvements took effect about one month after care began. As long as they continued chiropractic care, they continued to make progress.  If this study had generated the international attention it deserved, thousands of people would have become better educated on how chiropractic could improve their well-being.  News flashes would have lit up the television screen while major newspapers would have posted such revolutionary news on the front-page.  Patients would have begun undergoing weekly adjustments and put aside their daily dose of aspirin.

There several reasons this did not occur.  The most obvious involves the domination of the pharmaceutical industry that pays advertisers a tremendous amount of money.

One research study out of 7,000 will not persuade the research community, the media and the general population. Data is necessary from thousands of patients along with dozens of well-conducted research papers published in major medical journals.

For every human being, we have composed a study to assess chiropractic’s influence on quality of life.  Mainstream media and the general public will not ignore this kind of evidence. It can transform health care to a higher level.

Chiropractic Research – Dr. Terry Rondberg

xray of human spineMillions of people around the globe have received chiropractic care and know its value. But the rest of the population dismisses the profession’s growth and patient testimonials as shoddy evidence.

Regrettably, scientists have only a few studies showing correlations between the quality-of-life changes and chiropractic care. Most scientific clinical studies suggest chiropractic as a treatment for adult low-back pain, thus limiting chiropractic care.

The public only hears: “…there is no evidence that any chiropractic treatment works for infants and/or kids.”  ( – or – “I am not aware of any chiropractic research that has led to any significant improvement in patient care.” (Stephen Barrett, MD)

Supporters of chiropractic care are aware of this false perception and its negative affects on the general public.

“The dearth of defensible information about chiropractic and chiropractors is still hampering our external ability to integrate successfully with the rest of the so-called health industry…. Let’s face it. We have a massive fact deficit in chiropractic.” (William Meeker, DC, MPH, FICC, director of the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research)

“Whether the practice of chiropractic is of any value to the patient cannot be known with certainty until a scientific base has been established. …It is clearly apparent that it would be beneficial to the public for the profession to systematically study the subluxation as it relates to the health of the patient. Chiropractic can be observed and measured.” (The National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research Association)

“The Committee believes additional research is necessary to further quantify the already‑known benefits of chiropractic care.” (US Senate Appropriations Committee hearings on ‘Health Care Access and Cost Containment Strategies’)

“Evidence of the value of spinal manipulation for problems other than low-back pain is less extensive, and the role that subluxation (of other forms of joint dysfunction) may play in causing and/or providing relief through adjusting is uncertain.” (“In the Quest for Cultural Authority,” Joseph Keating, DC, et. a., Dynamic Chiropractic, December 16, 2004.)

“The claim that loss of neural integrity influences ‘organ system function and general health’ is also unsubstantiated by currently available experimental data. … assertions may be appropriate as hypotheses (tentative assertions) and proto-theories (from which testable propositions may be derived), and deserve our critical attention by means of research. However, to assert their validity in the absence of hard scientific data is to engage in dogmatism.” (Joseph Keating, Dynamic Chiropractic, Dec. 16, 2004)

The answer lies in thoroughly conducted scientific research and observing the mechanisms surrounding chiropractic care such as stress reduction on the autonomic nervous system and wellness. The results must then be reviewed by chiropractic experts and other professionals with the appropriate credentials to write and review research reports.  At that time, reports should be submitted to major health journals for publication.

It’s insufficient to research solely manual manipulation’s effectiveness as a resolution for musculoskeletal conditions such as low-back pain. Such technicalities only reemphasize the false belief that chiropractic is just physical therapy that can be provided by regular physician and physical therapists. Should this remain to be the only field of chiropractic research, it will be utilized as evidence to limit chiropractic care.

The chiropractic theory claims that stress on the nervous system negatively impacts overall wellness.  Such health-like components like immunity, vitality, and well-being must be measured.  It is essential to conduct research to confirm this supposal.

Research must compare and contrast the individual’s state of health before and after receiving chiropractic care. Our goal is to develop a standard rating system measuring the severity of stress on the nervous system and integrating it to measure the noteworthy result of chiropractic care. With this rating system, the next step is to create a formula connecting outcome results and the impact on a patient’s level of stress.

This method has gained popularity in epidemiology. It is also used for studying sleep apnea severities. (Journal of Subluxation Research, 3:24-30, 1999.) Upon completion, this formula will function as a universal standard for chiropractic care and wellness.

A detailed analysis of database findings of millions of chiropractic patients can disclose direct links between stress and wellness. The findings could lead to ground-breaking information regarding the impact of chiropractic on the human nervous system and overall health.

About the Author
Terry A. Rondberg, DC, is a leading proponent of research to demonstrate the benefits of chiropractic care on patients, not only for back pain but also for the brain, the heart, the nervous system and total body wellness. He is a sought-after public speaker, author and advocate for millions of chiropractic patients and practitioners.

Benefits of Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback, like chiropractic, has proven effective for migraines and tension headaches, urinary incontinence, high blood pressure, anxiety, and other conditions. Increasing research indicates that neurofeedback, like chiropractic, is useful for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, while helping manage patients with autism, brain injury, posttraumatic stress, seizures, and depression. Corporate executives, musicians, artists, and athletes, including some medalists from the Beijing Olympic Games, used neurofeedback and chiropractic to reach their peak performance during competition.

U.S. soldiers returning from war use neurofeedback to help with post-traumatic stress disorder. People suffering from chronic pain often find relief with neurofeedback. Even athletes are using it to gain better control over their bodies.

Students at Iowa State University have access to neurofeedback to help with stress management.  For over a century, millions of people have benefited from chiropractic care for stress reduction. The students sit in a quiet, dark room, wearing noise-suppressing headphones and sensors on their fingertips that measure their heart rate and skin conductance. They practice relaxation techniques while watching real-time graphics demonstrate how their body is responding. As a result, they see which techniques lead to actual relaxation.

Once users of neurofeedback learn what techniques alter their body’s physiology, they can practice until they have learned the techniques. Then they have tools to use when necessary.  Neurofeedback stress evaluation studies have demonstrated the enormous benefits of chiropractic care along with neurofeedback.

Neurofeedback addresses brain disregulation. This includes anxiety-depression, attention deficit, behavior disorders, various sleep disorders, headaches and migraines, PMS and emotional disturbances. It is also useful for organic brain conditions such as seizures, the autism spectrum, and cerebral palsy. Neurofeedback provides training for self-regulation. Self-regulation is necessary for good brain function and training allows the central nervous system to function more efficiently.

Regarding organic brain disorders, it can only be a matter of getting the brain to function better rather than curing the condition. When it comes to problems associated with disregulation, there is not a disease to be cured. Where disregulation is the problem, self-regulation may be the remedy.  But the word cure would not apply.

Over the years, many Neurofeedback (EEG) training protocols have been developed to help with certain problems such as attention, anxiety, depression, seizures, migraines, and cognitive function. There are different assessment tools available to help determine which protocols to use. These are simple neuropsychological evaluations. We use the NeuroInfiniti.