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.

To Truly Reform Health Care, We Need to Change the Conversation

the high cost of chronic illness It happened again in Washington.

After spending seven years pointing fingers and the past few weeks trying to craft legislation that would appease various political factions, our elected officials failed in their attempt at “health care reform.” That’s in quotes because the American Health Care Act, much like the Affordable Care Act, had little to do with reforming health care. It had everything to do with reforming health insurance.

Think about who was involved in this process – politicians, health insurance executives, big pharma, and plenty of lobbyists.

Where were the doctors and researchers? Did anyone bother to mention the chronic illness epidemic that’s responsible for seven in 10 deaths each year and 86 percent of our nation’s health care 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 Bogus Food Marketing Claims Finally Losing Steam?

Food MarketingIf you see “organic” in a product label, there’s a good chance it’s not organic. If you see “natural” in a product label, there’s an excellent chance it’s anything but natural.

These are just a couple of issues that the Federal Trade Commission seems to have on its radar as a crackdown on bogus marketing claims may finally be underway. In 2016, false advertising suits challenged marketing claims made my makers of oatmeal, fruit juices, deli meat and other products, according to Advertising Age.

In fact, Quaker Oats was sued when pesticides were found in its oatmeal even though it was marketed as “100% natural.” The lawsuit says the claim was false and misleading. Gee, you think so? 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.

Had Enough of GMOs? Wait ‘Til You Hear About Gene Editing.

Gene Editing Food manufacturers have been using genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, for years. A GMO is a plant, animal or other organism that had its genes modified in a science lab, typically by having the genes from another organism’s DNA artificially forced into it. This is usually done to make crops resistant to herbicides and pests and enable crops to produce their own pesticide.

More than 35 countries have banned genetically modified crops and more than 60 countries require GMO labeling on food products. The U.S. finally got around to requiring GMO labeling in 2016. Sadly, the vast majority of crops grown in our country are GMOs and are present in most processed foods. Soy, corn, cotton, canola and sugar beets are common examples of genetically modified crops.

There is no health benefit, but GMOs have been linked to infertility, immune problems and gastrointestinal issues. Actually, the Alliance for Natural Health recently reported that studies have shown that GMOs with Monsanto’s Roundup could eat holes in your stomach. By the way, this product has also been linked to liver and kidney problems, fertility issues, tumors, fatigue, paralysis and allergic reactions. 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.

The Only Way to Stop the Unhealthy Blame Game

billion-dollar food companies play the blame game as a way to run up profitsWhen I hear big food manufacturers and lobbyists deflecting responsibility for the chronic disease epidemic around the world, I’m often reminded of childish playground conflicts. You know, the almost instinctive responses from kids when they’re busted for doing something they know is wrong.

I didn’t do it! It wasn’t my fault! He started it! She made me do it!

With kids, it can be kind of funny, at least when nobody gets hurt and the damage isn’t too severe. After all, kids will go to great lengths to avoid punishment, whether that means blaming someone else or trying not to get caught altogether.

When billion-dollar food companies play the blame game as a way to run up profits by selling unhealthy products that make people sick, there’s nothing funny about it. It’s tragic. 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.

How CityWell Continues to Change Lives

CityWell city of Long BranchAny reader of my blog or participant in one of my seminars knows how strongly I feel about the need to get away from the “sick care” model that reactively treats people after they become ill.

If we’re going to reverse the worldwide chronic illness epidemic, we need to adopt a “health care” model that focuses on keeping people well. Every individual needs to become educated so they’re capable of making better decisions on a daily basis about proper nutrition, exercise, and stress modification.

There is no greater example of this approach than the CityWell Municipal Employee Health and Wellness Program, a free resource created to help City of Long Branch employees and their dependents achieve and maintain a state of wellness and live a wellness lifestyle. As Health Educator for CityWell, I’m proud to say that the program has already exceeded expectations in terms of both participation and outcomes. 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 if There’s NOT a Doctor in the House?

Doctor in the houseMy wife, Stacy, and I were out enjoying a nice dinner a couple of months ago when a look of horror came over Stacy’s face. A man behind me passed out and fell backwards, and the back of his head slapped against the table, knocking him unconscious.

Fortunately, this was not a life-threatening situation, although he did have a concussion. I was able to provide emergency care until the ambulance arrived. The folks at the restaurant were very appreciative and gracious and bought us dinner.

A few weeks later, Stacy and I were sitting at the corner of a bar, having dinner. It was already late and we didn’t want to wait for a table. This time, Stacy screamed. 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.

Emails Expose Coke’s Attempt to Deflect Blame for Obesity

Crushed Soda CanIn September, I wrote that Coca-Cola was attempting to change science and buy a new “truth.” This post came after it was revealed that Coke was funding the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN), which claimed that good health is more about exercise than nutrition.

I asked the following question of the folks at Coke:

“Do they think we’re so stupid that we would believe research funded by Coca-Cola is anything but a desperate attempt to reverse declining sales of Coca-Cola products?”

In a development that should surprise nobody, emails acquired by the Associated Press prove that Coca-Cola was more than a little influential in the activities and messaging of the GEBN. 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.

Do You Want Your Child Learning about the McDonald’s Diet in School?

McDonals in schoolsYou may have heard about the Iowa school teacher who ate nothing but McDonald’s’ food for 90 days and lost 37 pounds. He created a video that went viral, wrote a book, and appeared on a bunch of TV shows.

He was also hired by McDonald’s to be a brand ambassador. That means he goes to schools around the country to teach children about good nutrition. He has already spoken to kids from nearly 100 schools.

Oh boy. Where do I start?

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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.

The New Coke Sales Strategy? Buy a New “Truth”

Cokes new marketing tacticsAt what point does the truth become so watered down, cloudy and overrun with hype that it is no longer the truth? Has it gotten to the point in which we allow billion-dollar corporations to redefine what the truth is?

For years, soda makers, fast food companies and other purveyors of unhealthy “food” have tried to shape perceptions about their products. They don’t want people to believe their products cause chronic disease, even though scientific studies have proven this to be the case.

So what do the folks at Coca-Cola do? They use their money and influence to try and change science.

It was announced last month that Coca-Cola is funding the Global Energy Balance Network, which is trying to prove that exercise is more important to good health than nutrition.

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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.

FDA Orders Drug Makers to Strengthen Warning Labels

photo of scattered ibuprophen

For many too many Americans, pain killers are part of the daily routine. We pop a pill or two in the morning and another pill or two at night to deal with everything from chronic back pain to arthritis to menstrual cramps. We use these drugs to reduce a fever, even though the body naturally raises its temperature to kill the virus.

Drugs may provide temporary relief from pain, but they could also be killing you, and killing you quickly.

Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the makers of non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen to update their warning labels to include the following language:

The risk of heart attack or stroke can occur as early as the first weeks of using an NSAID. The risk may increase with longer use of the NSAID. The risk appears greater at higher doses.

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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.

The FDA Drags Its Feet Again, But We’re Not Standing for It

caloriesThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is at it again.

A few weeks ago, I expressed my outrage that it took decades for the FDA to finally ban trans fats despite mountains of evidence that trans fats are unsafe. It took another year and a half to make the decision official, and the FDA is now giving food companies three years to eliminate trans fats.

But the hits just keep on coming.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the FDA is giving grocers, convenience stores and other establishments that sell food more time to post the number of calories contained in each food product or menu item.

The rules, which apply to any food outlet with 20 or more locations, was announced last year after being delayed for several years, thanks the ever-present food lobby. Now, the deadline is being pushed back to December 1, 2016.

Apparently, we can look under the hood of a car and see a comprehensive list of what’s inside the car before we buy it, but we can’t do the same when it comes to food that we put into our bodies.

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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.

How Many People Died While the FDA Did Nothing about Trans Fats?

Trans fat banI was in college when I first learned about the health risks associated with trans fat, or partially hydrogenated oils. That was 30 years ago.

Since then, scientific study after scientific study has revealed a direct link between trans fat and obesity, heart disease, cancer memory loss and other illnesses. Advocacy groups have been trying to get trans fat banned for about 25 years.

Yet food manufacturers weren’t even required to include trans fat information on labels until 2006.

And just last week, the U.S. Food and Drug and Administration finally announced that partially hydrogenated oils, the primary source of trans fat, are not “generally recognized as safe” and ruled that food manufacturers could no longer include it in food products.

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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.

Don’t Assume You’re Being Healthy by Choosing Chicken

organic chickenWhen we go to the grocery store or out to dinner, and we want to purchase something healthy, the natural tendency is to look for chicken. Unfortunately, a deeper look into that chicken will usually show it’s far from healthy.

Did you know that the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the green light for chicken raised in the U.S. to be sent to “certified” Chinese facilities for processing, and then sent back to the U.S. for consumption?

Aside from an awful food safety record in China, where more than $1 million in meat from rats and other small mammals has been sold to the public as lamb, no USDA officials will be onsite to inspect those facilities.

But you’ll avoid that chicken because you can just check the label, right?

Wrong.

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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.

What You Should Know about New Dietary Guidelines for Cholesterol

new cholesterol guidelinesThe Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a federal panel run by the Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Agriculture, recently changed its 40-year guidelines related to the consumption of cholesterol.

More specifically, the government is no longer warning people that consuming food with too much cholesterol – excess dietary cholesterol – is a bad idea. Previously, this was thought to increase the amount of cholesterol in blood.

The folks in Washington are finally listening to doctors who understand the human body.

The panel now sees no direct relationship between dietary cholesterol consumption and blood cholesterol. Of course, evidence that has existed since the 1950s contradicts the claim that cholesterol found in food has a significant effect on blood cholesterol levels.

Dietary cholesterol comes from animal-based foods, like meat, eggs, dairy and seafood. Plant-based food has no cholesterol. However, the human body produces all of the cholesterol it needs.

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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.

Another Super Shameful Money Grab

American FLag Football Helmet on Grass with Dollar Symbol CloudsSuper Bowl 49 is in the books. Tom Brady and the Patriots are champions again. Seattle coach Pete Carroll will spend his offseason being second-guessed for his play call at the end of the game.

And the NFL, its top players, NBC and many celebrities continue to make money off of products that make people sick.

Pepsi returned to sponsor the halftime show. Coca Cola talks about making people happy and glosses over the fact that soda has been directly connected to chronic diseases that obviously make people unhappy.

McDonalds took a similar approach by offering free food to people in exchange for kind or happy acts. I must say that it’s refreshing to see that more and more people are passing over McDonalds and sodas in favor of healthier alternatives.

Leading up to the Super Bowl, I heard about Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter attending a 50th anniversary party for Gatorade, a sports drink that’s loaded with sugar, sodium and other harmful substances. Taylor Swift is now shilling Diet Coke. 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.

Rutgers Research Shows Acupuncture Can Treat Inflammation

acupuncture long branch new jerseyAcupuncture has been used in China for thousands of years to restore and maintain good health by improving blood and energy flow, stimulating the body’s immune system and activating our natural healing powers. Although the effectiveness of acupuncture has been scientifically proven, the acceptance of acupuncture has been extremely slow in our country.

When you look at the American health system, which focuses on treating disease with medication and surgery instead of preventing disease through a wellness lifestyle, it’s easy to see why the medical establishment has been reluctant to embrace acupuncture. It doesn’t fit in with their way of thinking.

I hope new scientific evidence produced by researchers at Rutgers University, added to the mountain of evidence that already exists, will motivate them to change their way of thinking, especially as it relates to acupuncture.

The research established a direct connection between a form of acupuncture and relief from sepsis, an inflammatory disorder that can develop after an infection. Sepsis most commonly occurs in hospitals, claiming approximately 250,000 lives in our country each year. In other words, people don’t die from the infection. They die from sepsis.

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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.

A Blow to the Poison Peddlers?

Blow to the Poison Peddlers

A few weeks ago, I pointed out what should be painfully obvious – poison peddlers continue to dominate Super Bowl advertising and promote products that are killing us. I also referenced a new study from JAMA Internal Medicine that revealed a single serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage per day – I’m looking at you, soda – increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Apparently, that study caught the eye of some responsible lawmakers in California.

A bill is being proposed that would require sugary drinks sold in California to have health warning labels like the ones found on a pack of cigarettes and a container of alcohol. This label would state:

STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.

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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.

What Is Government’s Role In Protecting Us From Harmful Substances In Our Food Supply?

Last week, we discussed the importance of personal responsibility in controlling healthcare costs. Healthcare reform – like it or not – will give companies the ability to lower healthcare costs by creating healthier workplaces. Personal responsibility will dictate the future of healthcare.

I heard a story from Bloomberg News that made me look at this situation from another angle.

Bloomberg released its Waistline Index, which examines weight gain around the world over the last 30 years. Not surprisingly, Americans are above the worldwide average of .35 pounds per year. Brazil and Mexico are right on our heels.

  • United States: .64 pounds
  • Brazil: .62 pounds
  • Mexico .54 pounds

This isn’t the most disturbing part of this trend. What’s really disturbing is the direct correlation between fast food expansion and weight gain.

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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.