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Can chronic back pain shrinks your brain?

A recent study by Apkarian and Sosa et al. published in the November 17, 04 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience says YES! The study has demonstrated that chronic back pain is associated with decreased prefrontal and thalamic grey matter density.  People who suffer from chronic back pain for 1 year may experience a reduction in the grey matter of the brain, which is equivalent to the amount lost by the average person in 10 to 20 years of normal aging.  The brains grey matter is responsible for memory and information processing.

This study is important because it demonstrates that chronic back pain is not just a musculo-skeletal problem, and why just living with pain or having a “just have to live with it” attitude is not a good idea. Chronic pain could have long term consequences resulting in abnormal brain chemistry, brain atrophy, neuronal loss and dysfunction, and reduced cognitive abilities.  Chronic pain often leads to chronic use or abuse of medications resulting in unwanted side effects and their associated complications.  In contrast conservative chiropractic care is a common sense alternative.

Chiropractic as a career?

Thinking of a career as a chiropractor?  Well the folks at Fast Company magazine think it could be a good career choice.  They ranked chiropractic 4th on their 2005 Top Job List.  They based this year’s index on four categories.  They considered job growth, salary potential, educational level, and room for innovation.  They state that they relied heavily on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  There is a lot more to becoming and being a chiropractor than job demand, salary range, and other labor statistics.  A career in health care these days is not for everyone.  There are many day to day challenges, frustrations, and a hell of a lot of room for improvement.  However, after 4 years of college, 10 semesters of professional school, 25 years in practice, and a lifetime of continuing education, I still get up in the morning looking forward to the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that I helped someone feel better, and I did it with my own two hands.

 For more information about a career in chiropractic see our links page for local chiropractic programs.

If a career in chiropractic is not for you see if one of the other 24 top jobs fit.  The entire article can be found at:

Danger at Petting Zoos

With the coming of spring we all look for things to do to get out of the house, especially if you have kids. One surprising activity has proved to be life threatening for a number of children. The Associated Press reported that 7 children have contracted Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome [HUS], a life threatening kidney infection that health officials believe may be the result of contact with petting zoo animals at local fairs in Florida. In addition, last fall 15 children in North Carolina developed HUS which was determined to be as a result of contact with petting zoo animals at the state fair.

I am a big fan of close encounters with animals. I love petting zoos, especially the ones where you get to feed the animals. During my recent vacation we visited a small zoo where many animals were roaming free. In fact, we were allowed to go inside one of the aviary cages and allowed to hand feed a number of the birds. To be honest, the risk of contracting some disease as a result of contact with the animals was the furthest thing from my mind.

There are some simple precautions that you can take. First and most important wash your hands thoroughly. You can use disinfectant wipes immediately because of their convenience. Follow up with soap and water after the encounter especially if you going to have a snack. How easy it is to forget to wash your hands before going to the snack stand? Use common sense and don’t allow small children, who have a habit of putting just about anything into their mouths, come in close contact with the animals or crawl around on the floor where the animals have been. Often animals can lie down or roll in contaminated dirt which sticks to their fur which makes for easy transfer while petting. Another cause of HUS is bacterial infection [e.coli] from under cooked meats. Although HUS is considered rare, less serious cases of gastroenteritis and stomach flu-like symptoms occur much more frequently.

If you notice that children come down with stomach cramping, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and or low urinary output after having been in contact with petting zoo or farm animals, seek medical attention immediately. It is better to be safe than sorry.


Can chronic back pain shrinks your brain?

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