Too Many Prescription Drugs, Too Few Positive Outcomes

Hundred dollar bill with prescription pills It’s time to face a few sad facts. Americans consume more medication, by far, than any other country in the world, which is a big reason why we spend more on healthcare per citizen than any country in the world.

However, we’re not the healthiest country in the world. Our healthcare system doesn’t produce the best outcomes. According to World Health Organization data from 2015, the U.S. ranks 31st in the world in life expectancy at 79.3 years, more than four years behind Japan (83.7) and Switzerland (83.4).

Following 1+1 = 2 logic, one can reasonably deduce that more medication doesn’t lead to better health. It’s not even debatable. But scientific data goes a step further and offers a much more shocking reality. Continue reading

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

What All of Us Can Do to Stop the Opioid Epidemic

Senior male doctor opioidsIn the previous post, I discussed the real reasons for the opioid epidemic in our country. A letter was published in a highly respected medical journal that discussed flawed research about the risk of addiction when using prescription opioids for pain management. This led to several other similarly flawed studies.

Of course, big pharma capitalized on this by lobbying hard to ease restrictions on the use of opioids for non-cancer pain. In just 16 years, the number of opioid overdoses quadrupled, leading to the epidemic we face today.

While heroin, an illegal opioid drug, is a very serious problem, the overprescription of legal opioids, such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and Percocet, causes the vast majority of overdoses and deaths.

In fact, a National Safety Council survey found that 99 percent of doctors who prescribe narcotic painkillers give their patients prescriptions that exceed the three-day dosage recommended by the federal government.

99 percent. Let that sink in for a second.

The study found that nearly a quarter of doctors prescribe month-long dosages. Only a third ask about the patient’s family history of addiction, and only 5 percent offer help to patients when signs of abuse are detected.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has rolled out strict prescription guidelines and the FDA has ordered the use of warning labels, the opioid crisis continues to be a real stain on the fabric of our healthcare system. The very industries that exist to help us stay healthy are the ones that created this epidemic.

I see the sad effects of this every day in clinical practice.

I believe my job as a healthcare provider is to identify solutions for treating pain, inflammation and muscle spasms that don’t involve the aggressive use of medication, injections or surgery.

Now I’m not naïve. My patients need surgery from time to time. Thank God we have surgeons. Thank God we have epidurals. Thank God my wife had pain medication when she went through five C-sections. There’s a time and a place for pain medication, but only when used sparingly and temporarily.

The safer, healthier approach to treating pain is non-medical and non-pharmaceutical. It involves chiropractic care, physical therapy, acupuncture and therapeutic massage. It involves customized clinical nutritional protocols, exercise programs and stress management. If necessary, treatment might involve nutraceuticals such as natural anti-inflammatories, natural muscle relaxers, and natural painkillers. I use them every day in clinical practice. For example, curcumin, turmeric and fish oil can be used to treat acute and chronic pain and inflammation.

A Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island found that an integrated chronic pain program consisting of chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and stress reduction produced fantastic results for participants. Opioid prescriptions, emergency room visits, and total claim costs dropped significantly. A survey of participants found that 92 percent agree or strongly agree that their pain level was reduced, and 82 percent believe their quality of life has improved.

If you’re having a painful episode, such as headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, or pain in your back, neck, shoulder or leg, seek treatment that views medication and surgery as last resorts. Even if your pain is related to an organ, like Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome, you don’t have to look for relief in a bottle.

To fix the opioid epidemic, doctors need to stop overprescribing opioids. As healthcare consumers, we all need to become educated about not just the brand names that appear on the label, but the ingredients and the risk they create. We need to resist the urge to rely on the “non-addictive opioids” that, as I write this, big pharma is testing and trying to get approved for sale to medical offices. Instead, we should look for treatment methods that stimulate the body’s natural healing ability.

Health literacy is the key to longevity. We all need to understand what we put in our bodies so we can make better decisions and take control of our health.

 

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

The Real Reasons for the Opioid Epidemic

Senior male doctor opioidsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths in 2015. From 1999 to 2015, the number of opioid overdoses quadrupled. In New Jersey, the number of opioid overdose deaths increased by 16.4 percent from 2014 to 2015. The vast majority of these cases resulted from the abuse of legally prescribed drugs, not illegal heroin.

To truly understand why we have an opioid epidemic here in New Jersey and across the country, we need to look at the history behind it. When you look at the history, these frightening statistics start to make sense. Continue reading

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

5 Changes that Will Improve the State of Health Care in Our Country

US Healthcare reform v Health Insurance ReformIn an earlier post, I discussed why the conversation about health care reform needs to change. We need to talk less about health insurance and more about making people healthier. We need to prioritize proactive disease prevention rather than reactive disease treatment if we’re ever going to reverse the chronic illness epidemic in our country and get costs under control.

1) Create a New Layer of Health Care

I discussed this in my last post about health care reform. In addition to the emergency and traumatic care layer and the fragmented layer of specialists, we need a layer that focuses on preventing and reversing chronic illness.

Board certified functional medicine practitioners would help people get to the root cause of their problems, provide the education required to make better health decisions, and develop individualized plans to restore and maintain health and wellness. Continue reading

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

Will Our New President Understand the Difference Between Health Care Reform and Health Insurance Reform?

US Healthcare reform v Health Insurance ReformThe Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, consumed our nation from the time President Obama took office until the bill went into effect. It remained a lightning rod and a major talking point in the presidential election six years later.

During all of the drama that played out on TV, on social media and in the newspaper, I remember seeing a lot of politicians, insurance company representatives, lawyers and big pharma folks talking about how health insurance would be administered in our country.

The conversation focused on whether there should be a government run, public option. It focused on allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26. It focused on not allowing insurance companies to deny coverage to people or charge them more because of a pre-existing condition. It focused on removing lifetime and annual dollar limits for essential health benefits. It focused on reducing administrative costs. Continue reading

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

Are Medical Errors a Growing, Life-Threatening Problem?

medical errorsThe Institute of Medicine famously published a report in 1999 that estimated medical errors were responsible for as many as 98,000 deaths each year in America. This report was viewed with equal parts alarm and skepticism.

However, a new report from Johns Hopkins University, as reported by Bloomberg, claims that medical errors trail only heart disease and cancer among the leading killers in our country, claiming approximately 251,000 victims each year. This report combines data from four separate studies that examined deaths in hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, nursing homes and other healthcare environments. Researchers suggest the estimate may be conservative.

Critics of studies that attempt to measure medical errors point out that “medical error” is not a term with a standard definition. A medical error could include everything from the wrong diagnosis to an administrative error, which could lead to any number of mistakes. Continue reading

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

Understanding Diagnostic Imaging, Part 2

Dr. Proodian checking xrayIn Part 1 of this post, I discussed what diagnostic imaging is and what it does – a test that provides a doctor with a window into the body so we can diagnose and gather information about a person’s health and recommend the right treatment.

I also discussed three of the most common types of diagnostic imaging ordered by doctors – x-ray, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Here are three more tests that doctors use to pinpoint the cause of our health issues.

Diagnostic Ultrasound

While x-rays, CT scans and MRI use electromagnetic and radio waves to create images of the inside of the body, diagnostic ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves. Also called sonography, ultrasound exams typically use a sonar device outside of the body, although some require a device to be place inside the body.

Most of us associate ultrasound with pregnancy. It enables doctors to see a pregnant woman’s uterus and ovaries and monitor the health and growth of the baby. However, diagnostic ultrasound can also be used to diagnose gallbladder disease and some forms of cancer, discover irregularities in the genitals and prostate, evaluate a lump in the breast, or assess blood flow. Continue reading

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

Why You Should Care that October Is Health Literacy Month

Health LiteracyEveryone knows that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Thousands of people in our local communities, and millions of people around the world, will be going on runs, walks and bike rides to raise money for breast cancer research and encourage women to have regular mammograms. Throughout the month, we’ll see pink ribbons everywhere.

I applaud the individuals who work tirelessly to support these efforts, and my heart goes out to anyone who has lost a loved one to breast cancer.

October is also Health Literacy Month. I think it’s fair to assume you’ve probably never heard of that one.

According to the Affordable Care Act, health literacy is defined as “the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions.” Continue reading

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

Omelets, Google and Shortcuts: What the Heck Is Wrong with Healthcare?

healthcareLast week, I went out to breakfast with some friends. We’ve all gotten used to spending $15 for a good omelet. But here’s the problem. When the omelet isn’t made the right way, the table is dirty and the waitress is rude, I can’t justify a $15 price tag, much less a tip on top of it.

I saw a patient recently who went to a clinic because she had an outbreak on her face. She saw a nurse practitioner who brought her into a room, looked at her face, and instructed her to sit in front of a computer. The nurse practitioner sat down next to this woman and basically said, “We’re going to try to find a picture of your condition on Google so we can figure out what it is.”

Realizing that you don’t have to be a doctor or nurse practitioner to diagnose a condition by matching pictures on Google, this woman got up and left.

I had another patient with severe bowel distress who came to me after spending months going to see other doctors. They put her on Prevacid, which is designed to treat a variety of stomach issues by breaking down excess stomach acid. Continue reading

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

What It Means to Be a Healthcare Consumer

What is a Healthcare ConsumerWhen my wife, Stacy, was pregnant with our first daughter, Hannah, in 1999, I remember researching and evaluating OB/GYNs. Obviously, choosing the right person or practice to take care of my wife during her pregnancy was a major decision for us.

We asked a lot of questions. We wanted to know what the approach and thought process would be. We wanted to know what role we would have in making decisions about our child’s health.

There’s nothing wrong with evaluating healthcare providers in this manner.

When you go shopping for food at the grocery store, you’re a consumer. When you go shopping for a car at an auto dealership, you’re a consumer.

When you choose healthcare professionals, it’s even more important to be a consumer.

Continue reading

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

What Is Chronic Illness?

Diabetic is doing a glucose level finger blood testChronic illness is a manmade tsunami that has taken over the world. 18 percent of our nation’s GDP is spent on healthcare. By 2040, that figure is expected to rise to 34 percent.

Why? Because 75 percent of all healthcare costs go to treating chronic illness, which gets worse as we age in most cases. It’s crippling healthcare and strangling healthcare workers across our country and around the world.

Some of the most common chronic illnesses are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Type II diabetes
  • Gout
  • Dementia
  • Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis
  • Neurological disorders like depression
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Autism
  • Digestive diseases like gastric reflux
  • Ulcers
  • Inflammatory bowel
  • Bone loss diseases like osteoporosis
  • Obstructive pulmonary diseases
  • Asthma
  • Muscle pain and weakness from chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia
  • Kidney and liver ailments
  • Vision problems like macular degeneration
  • Cancer

Continue reading

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

Functional Medicine: A New Approach to Healthcare

Functional Medicine What is It?

In last week’s blog post, I discussed the new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists titled “The $11 Trillion Dollar Reward: How Simple Dietary Changes Can Save Lives and Money, and How We Get There.” The study revealed that if Americans ate one more serving of fruit or vegetables each day more than 30,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease could be prevented, and more than $5 billion in annual medical costs could be saved.

The report also predicts that healthcare costs from the treatment cardiovascular disease – most of which are preventable – will soar to $818 billion by 2030. I’ll give you a second to climb back onto your chair.

Obviously, a change in our country’s healthcare culture is not only necessary, but urgent. With that in mind, I wanted to explain what I feel is the future of healthcare – functional medicine, an approach to healthcare focused on disease prevention rather than treating symptoms after someone is already sick.

Continue reading

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

Research Confirms the Obvious: Healthy Food Saves Lives and Money

Natural Healthcare Center Long Branch “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

It’s a cute little saying that was first printed in the 1866 issue of the publication Notes and Queries. The original saying actually said, “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”

Thanks to a recent study, this rhyming proverb is now backed up by current scientific research.

According to a 2013 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) – The $11 Trillion Dollar Reward: How Simple Dietary Changes Can Save Lives and Money, and How We Get There – if Americans ate one more serving of fruit or vegetables each day – one half cup – more than 30,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease could be prevented, and more than $5 billion in annual medical costs could be saved.

Continue reading

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

What Happened to Truth, Justice and the American Way?

Child-pretending-to-be-a-super heroAs a kid in the 1970s, my favorite TV show was Superman. Every day, I would watch reruns of the old black and white show from the 1950s, and every year, I would dress up as Superman for Halloween.

The thing I remember most about this show is what Superman was always fighting for – truth, justice and the American way!

Truth has really come under the microscope recently with all of the political scandals going on in our country. I’m not a political guy, but I pay attention to what’s happening. It does make you wonder about what the truth really is.

When it comes to our health, the truth is no longer up for debate, but our country and our leaders don’t seem to want to accept it.

As Dr. Mark Hyman wrote years ago, the American healthcare system is based on the outdated notion that disease should be treated, not prevented. Our system doesn’t keep us healthy. It keeps us sick.

Continue reading

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

Understanding the Pyramid of Health and Why It’s So Important

If you have any familiarity whatsoever with Proodian Healthcare, you’ve probably heard me or someone from my staff talk about the Pyramid of Health. At the very least, you’ve heard us say something that indirectly refers to the Pyramid of Health and didn’t even realize it.

There’s a reason for this. The Pyramid of Health, pictured above, is at the core of everything we do. It motivates and inspires our thought processes and decision making. The Pyramid is what’s going through my head during every radio show, every blog, every speaking engagement and every appointment with a patient.

It’s the driving force behind all three components of Proodian Healthcare:

  1. Teach Me: Health literacy is the key to longevity. MyWellnessAtWork.com
  2. Treat Me: An integrated approach to health and wellness. NaturalHealthCareCenter.com
  3. Supply Me: An online store for pharmaceutical-grade supplements. PutBackWhatYouLack.com

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About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

Why Personal Responsibility Must Dictate The Future Of Healthcare

A couple of weeks ago, CVS made headlines when they decided to establish health-related rules for employees. Each employee would be subject to an annual exam to assess their weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass.

Refusal to participate would result in a yearly $600 surcharge on their health insurance premiums. CVS then kicked it up a notch by telling employees that they should “know their numbers” and “take action to manage them.” Finally, employees were ordered to quit smoking by May 1, 2014 or enroll in the company’s program to stop smoking. Failure to do so would result in fines and penalties.

While CVS has been widely criticized for penalizing negative behavior instead of incentivizing positive behavior, this could be considered a preview of sorts of what’s to come.

Continue reading

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.