What makes health care costs so high?

The cost of health care continues to skyrocket, with high monthly premiums, large annual deductibles, big co-pays, policy caps, and dwindling coverage. Worse yet, there is no end in sight. But what is it that makes health care costs so high?
A January 1, 2010 article in the Washington Post, written by Steve Case of the Case Foundation, points to the answer. 

Case says, “The truth is, our country doesn’t have a health care system. We have a sick care system. Our system isn’t primarily designed to keep us healthy; it’s organized to get us well when we get sick.”

 Take a hard look at our real underlying disease; the lifestyle choices we make every day that lead to more sickness and thus more cost. 

dinner 20partyNow, this nation does a pretty good (albeit, costly) job of getting sick people well when they get sick. But, we’re missing the larger question: What can we do to keep people from getting sick in the first place? The area that requires the greatest focus relates to chronic diseases. …by some estimates, chronic diseases account for more than 70% of the $2 trillion, spent on medical care in the United States each year,” or about $1.4 trillion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, “75% of all chronic diseases are preventable with good lifestyle choices.” That means with a focus on good lifestyle choices, annual health care expenditures could drop by more than $1 trillion!

So the real question becomes, do we continue with business as usual and just focus on treating sickness and disease after it occurs, or do we switch our focus to good lifestyle choices and preventing sickness and disease?

We all know the logical answer, but who is going to lead the charge for change? Case answers this question, by saying, “Americans can’t let the health care debate happen only around conference tables in Washington. We need to have discussions with our families around our kitchen tables. We are part of the problem and should be part of the solution. Helping pay the costs of healing sick people may be an important role for government, but doing what we can to avoid getting sick must be a commitment each of us makes to ourselves, our family and our community. …We can collectively benefit our nation by making smarter choices that don’t burden others with the cost of our sick care.”

Preventing chronic spinal conditions

According to a 2010 report by the Institute of Medicine more than half of all Americans complain of chronic or recurrent pain. The three most common complaints cited were headache, neck and back pain.

The good news is that for many, these complaints can be prevented. For over three decades the Cowan Chiropractic Clinic has helped our patients prevent chronic or recurrent spinal related pain by providing a sensible, proactive approach to spinal health and fitness that includes vertebral adjustments, targeted stretching, core exercise, massage therapy, and healthy lifestyle management.

How effective is this approach? A four year retrospective claims data analysis in the Archives of Internal Medicine published by the American Medical Association compared 700,000 health plan members with chiropractic coverage against one million members from the same plan but without a chiropractic benefit. The analysis found that chiropractic care reduced hospitalizations among back pain patients by 41% and decreased back surgeries by 32%.

Another recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that when chiropractic care and medications weredoctors 20uid 201600015 compared in the treatment of neck pain, chiropractic was almost three times more effective than medications with 57% of the chiropractic group reporting at least a 75% reduction in pain and 32% reporting a 100% reduction.

Chiropractic provides these favorable results by treating the underlying causes of spinal problems and not just covering up the symptoms. Covering up the symptoms with medications alone can allow a simple spinal problem to become a chronic or recurring condition.

It is a common misconception that pain should be a normal part of aging. It is true that there is wear and tear as the body ages but the rate at which the spine breaks down can be influenced. Chiropractic treatment focuses on slowing own spinal wear and tear.
A cornerstone of slowing down spinal wear and tear is maintaining spinal mobility. In a healthy spine it is mobility that keeps the discs and ligaments healthy and slows down the degenerative process. Various studies have shown that limited spinal mobility can lead to early arthritic spinal conditions including degeneration of the discs, joints, facets, and cartilage.

Degenerative disc disease and spinal arthritis are serious conditions. After spinal fusion occurs chronic and recurrent spinal pain is no longer correctable and many times requires risky invasive surgical procedures; procedures that may or may not be beneficial.

The chiropractic approach of being proactive helps to slow down spinal wear and tear and greatly improves your chances of living life free from chronic and recurrent headaches, neck and back pain.

Close 20up 20uid 201396896The spine and body function

Vertebral subluxations can cause other seemingly unrelated conditions to develop too.

The body has an innate ability to adapt to changes in its’ internal and external environment and as a result, maintain a good state of health. The major contributor to this process is the nervous system. The nervous system adapts the body to its’ environment by sending messages to and from the brain through the spinal cord and across a huge network of spinal nerves, coordinating body chemistry, digestion, sleep patterns, physical coordination, immunity, concentration, emotional balance and every other aspect of body function.
When vertebral subluxations are present, they can cause interference in the flow of information to and from the brain, and alter the body’s ability to maintain a good state of health.