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Update from the International AIDS Conference
The 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, brought together more than 15,000 of the world's leading scientists, activists, funders, policy makers, and consumers from 153 countries.
Treating Peripheral Neuropathy: Multi-Faceted Approach Including Laser Therapy
Peripheral neuropathy affects at least 20 million people in the United States1 and nearly 60 percent of all people with diabetes suffer from diabetic neuropathy. Many suffer from the disorder without ever identifying the cause.
Upgrade to "Parker 2.0" in Las Vegas
Continuing your education and refining your practice: two key elements of a successful chiropractic career. Parker Seminars promises both as it celebrates its 65th anniversary in Las Vegas next February, according to Parker University President, Dr. William Morgan, and seminar consultant Dr. Mark Sanna.
Workers' Back Pain: Causes, Costs & Solution
You will want to share two important papers published in the past several months. Why? When read separately, each provides valuable information relevant to your patients, community and practice; together, they tell a compelling story.
Four Ways to Attract Patients
Acupuncturist A has been in practice for six years and has struggled since day one. She spends as much time and money on marketing as she can, but since her practice is slow, her budget isn't that big.
Going Beyond Just Feeling Good
We all know that most patients come to us for some pain complaint: neck pain, back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel, etc. We also all know that acupuncture is a great first-line care for these issues, as well as supporting overall health and wellness.
Power to the Patient
Against a backdrop of splintered political parties, polarizations within nations, civil unrest, and distrust of established government (such as the growing anti-Washington, D.C. sentiment) comes the not-so-surprising finding that health care authorities and practitioners (with perhaps the exception of insurers) are turning over more and more powers to the individual patient.
U.S. Olympians Have a DC in Their Corner
It's probably old news to you that doctors of chiropractic play an increasingly prominent role in treating athletes, from youth sports participants to weekend warriors, to elite / professional competitors.
Pediatric Asthma: A Case Study
I have had very good success with pediatric asthma, combining acupuncture with Chinese herbal products. Treatment is given over four to eight months, twice monthly, with herbal formulas rotated every month.
Using the Lens of Chinese Medicine
One of the most common medications I see in clinical practice on a daily basis is fluoxetine or Prozac. Consequently, I hear many complaints concerning the side effects of this medication and am frequently asked by patients to help manage these side effects with acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
Natural Cancer Prevention: Pomegranate for the Prostate
In recent years, the ingestion of pure pomegranate juice (8 ounces per day) has been shown in clinical studies with human subjects to slow, and to some degree, reverse, the progression of prostate cancer – the second leading cause of cancer death in North American men.
Treatment Success at the Won Institute
According to the World Health Organization's 2003 report titled, "Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Controlled Clinical Trials," acupuncture has been shown to improve many physical, emotional, and mental conditions.
Getting Paid by Medicare Is Getting a Major Adjustment
The 2015 Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) was signed into law to implement a new approach to clinician payments and replace the Sustainable Growth Rate formula.
Decoding the Mystery of Medical Insurance Acceptance
In the constantly evolving profession of acupuncture, one of the least understood areas is medical insurance acceptance. The profession is filled with controversy surrounding this topic: Is it ethical?
First Annual ICD-10 Updates Take Effect
Yes, there was an update to ICD-10 codes on Oct. 1. It was a regular update to the diagnosis coding system and will take place every Oct. 1, just as it did when the ICD-9 system was in place.
Pediatric Footwear: Function Over Fashion
As practitioners, it is not uncommon for parents to bring us their children to treat or ask us questions related to the pediatric population. Children's feet tend to be a perplexing region for parents and practitioners alike.
Dysautonomia: The Medical Condition You May Already Be Treating
TCM practitioners have spent thousands of years healing patients without knowing or needing the names of their diseases as defined by allopathic medicine. We have syndrome names that are both poetic and efficient.
ITB Syndrome: Treat the Tensor Fascia Latae
Iliotibial band syndrome is usually the result of repetitive knee flexion, such as in runners or cyclists. Pain may be experienced in the knee and/or the hip. The patient may express a sense of the hip dislocating, popping or snapping.
National Board Apologizes for Testing Issues
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) has issued a formal apology following a series of computer-based testing malfunctions that impacted two separate examinations (March and June 2016) and caused "widespread confusion and frustration" to the nearly 1,500 examinees taking the tests.
Six Things Every DC Should Know About the Zika Virus
The Zika outbreak continues to spread across the continental United States and U.S. territories. We offer this brief overview on this important public health problem for the practicing doctor of chiropractic.
Integrative Cancer Care: Chiropractic for Chemotherapy-Induced Hiccups
Hiccups (singultus) are a frequent occurrence during cancer treatment. The cause of the hiccups may be the chemotherapy drug itself, such as Cisplatin; or the prophylactic use of corticosteroids such as Decadron, which is used to prevent nausea and/or vomiting.
January, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 01
The Potential Dangers of Taking Medications During Pregnancy
By Elaine Stillerman, LMT
We tend to think that if the Food and Drug Administration approves a medicine, it is safe for us to take. And we don't give a second thought to the potential side effects of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines since they don't require prescriptions.But are these popular medications safe for pregnant women and their developing babies? Since very few drug trials involve pregnant women, how can anyone be sure that there are no harmful side effects or birth defects from these seemingly innocuous medicines?
Conception occurs about two weeks before the next menstrual cycle is due, and a positive confirmation of pregnancy may take another few weeks, so there is a window of extreme vulnerability for the growing baby if mom takes certain medicines (drinks or smokes) during this sensitive time. OTC drugs are used by many pregnant women and, as a rule, are generally safe. Some, however, have what are considered to be unproven safety and/or potentially harmful effects on the growing babies. Since an estimated 10% or more of birth defects are a result of maternal drug exposure, the FDA has assigned a risk category to each drug.
OTC medications that are considered relatively safe during pregnancy include most antacids, Acetaminophen, Chlorphenramine, Kaolin and Pectin preparations - although all expectant women should discuss the use of any and every medication (and herb) with their care providers. As an example, seemingly harmless Vitamin A (Retinol) used for skin conditions has shown to contain powerful teratogens which may cause serious birth defects. On the other end of the safety spectrum are drugs like H2 blockers, Pseudoephedrine, and Atropine/Diphenoxylate, to name a few, which are dangerous for developing fetuses.
During the 1940s – 1970s, DES (diethylstilbesterol) was often prescribed during pregnancy to prevent a miscarriage. That was until the daughters (and sons) of these DES mothers developed all sorts of reproductive anomalies and cancers during puberty. Then the use of this drug during pregnancy was immediately discontinued. But not until after the reproductive lives of thousands were adversely affected.
And for those of us old enough to remember the 1960's when thalidomide was prescribed to treat nausea during pregnancy, the images of those deformed babies was seared into our collective memories (remember the picture on the cover of Life Magazine?). Its use was quickly stopped after nearly 10,000 babies (mostly in Europe) were born with major physical disabilities – phocomelia, or seal-like flippers for arms and legs. Of course, the way these drugs received approval was very different 50 years ago than it is now.
The general rule is to avoid all drug exposure (including herbs and aromatherapy) during the first trimester when the fetal organs are developing (organogenesis) to prevent structural and functional abnormalities. Most drugs can cross the placental barrier (this includes pain medications and nerve blocks received during labor) and expose the developing embryo and fetus to harmful effects.
There are certain factors affecting placental drug transference and teratogenic effects:
Even one intrauterine exposure can have harmful effects. Thalidomide, for example, had catastrophic effects after brief exposure. When it comes to over-the-counter medications, some of them have unproven safety records or are known to affect the fetus. More than 80% of pregnant women take OTC or prescription drugs during pregnancy. Pain medications are widely consumed during pregnancy for relief of common aches and pains. A Danish study reported a direct link between the use of prescribed NSAIDS and miscarriages. Kaiser Permanente Medical also concluded the use of NSAIDS during pregnancy increased the risk of miscarriage by 80%, particularly when they were taken around the time of conception.
Categorized for risk during each trimester (1/2/3), this is a list of common analgesics used in pregnancy: Acetaminophen (B/B/B), Aspirin (D/D/D), Ibuprofen (B/B/D), Ketoprofen (B/B/D), and Naproxen (B/B/D). All of these drugs cross the placental barrier. Cold medicines, such as decongestants, expectorants, and antihistamines, may be unsafe during certain trimesters or their risk profile is unstudied.
Since most drugs taken while nursing are found in breast milk, all drugs and medications should be used carefully, conservatively and under medical supervision. The good news is that the concentration of the drugs in breast milk is low and the baby's exposure is less than what would be considered to be a therapeutic dose. If medication has to be taken while nursing, it is advisable to take the dose 30-60 minutes after nursing and 3-4 hours before the next feeding. This provides adequate time for the drugs to clear out of mother's blood, so the concentration in her breast milk will be minimal.
Pregnancy is a time of excitement and change. As the baby grows, mother's body adapts to the posture of pregnancy which can lead to aches and pains. Instead of reaching for that pill bottle, if she can, mom would be well-advised to pick up her phone and make an appointment with a qualified prenatal massage practitioner. So much safer and so much more pleasant.
Click here for previous articles by Elaine Stillerman, LMT.
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