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Chiropractic in the News


So I’ve been feeling very topical this week, with various articles in the news that relate (to a greater or lesser degree) to my work!  First there were a few mentions hanging on from Chiropractic Awareness Week (see my last missive...), including research released from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) regarding back pain among the young, reported in the Independent.  Then there was further word on the matter of paracetamol, an article describing research in Canada aiming to discover why our joints crack, plus dear old Nigel Farage admitting he’s been in severe pain from his back following the air crash he was involved.  Then only this morning more research has been reported on the BBC national headlines regarding a link between disc injury and our rapid evolution from walking on four legs to walking on two.

The BCA’s research was particularly pertinent to my work.  They have found that 45% of 16-24 year olds now suffer from back or neck problems.  Last year, a similar study found that number was down at 28% - that’s one massive increase!  The BCA also found that out of 2,100 people surveyed, most people spend around 10 hours of the day sitting down.  The poor posture often associated with this, particularly when using tablets or mobile phones, means that across all age groups up to 86% of people complain of back or neck pain.  That’s a stunning figure, and I think it is unacceptable that such a high proportion of people suffer in this way from something that can often be fairly easily corrected!

Recently, Australian scientists admitted that paracetamol does pretty much nothing to help with back pain – despite the fact it is regularly prescribed by doctors for just that purpose.  An American study has added that it is possible paracetamol not only dulls pain, but emotions as well.  The study was very small, but when people given paracetamol were showed a mixture of emotionally positive and negative photographs, their responses were overall less intense than the participants who were given a placebo tablet.

As for the Canadians...come on guys, keep up!  They have found, using an MRI scanner, that when a joint is stretched (such as when people crack their knuckles) a tiny bubble forms in the lubricating liquid within the joint, causing the distinctive popping sound.  Well, all right, maybe actually catching the image on a scanner is more proof than we have had previously, but followers of my site will know that this is what we’ve always said happens!  Apparently, they now plan on finding out why some people can crack their knuckles and others can’t, and whether the habit causes any harm.  I could save them some time and tell them, but I think I’ll let them discover it for themselves. (If any of you want to know...come ask me!)

The thing about disc injuries was only reported this morning, but from what I gather they are saying that people who suffer from disc injuries have a spine more closely relating to our ape ancestors than modern posture requires, so the stress of being upright is too much for a spine designed to function in someone primarily on all fours.  I’m not convinced in some ways, but equally it is true that two people doing the exact same things day-to-day can experience different injuries, so there is clearly going to be a genetic component in there somewhere.  Of course, on the news they kept using the phrase “slipped disc”, which was driving me nuts so that concentrating on the actual story was a challenge.  In case you haven’t heard my rant before, you can’t “slip” a disc.  “Slip” implies a translation of the disc as a whole, almost like a CD being ejected from the player.  This simply doesn’t happen.  You can rupture a disc, to varying degrees of severity, but slip? Not a chance.

So, a busy news week for chiropractic!  All to the good, if it spreads awareness of a growing, worldwide problem that desperately needs addressing!

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