Merolla Chiropractic

100 Bedford Street
New Bedford, MA 02740


Posts for: May, 2012

By Dr. Mike Merolla
May 22, 2012
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

This is very straightforward.  There are NO pesticides in chiropractic care. 

A chiropractic adjustment feels great and does wonders for your health. 

Plus, once the problem is corrected, mission accomplished.  No need for daily use, like a drug.

On the other hand…

Methyl salicylate, an ingredient in various pain relieving creams, was first registered in 1972 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a pesticide.  Visions of the sweetener Splenda!

What is methyl salicylate you ask? 

It is a chemical like aspirin. 

Where is it found?

It is added to many creams that cause the sensation of heat and are used to “help” sore muscles and back pain.

But wait!

You’re into the natural.  Anything with the name methyl salicylate would never pass YOUR lips or grace your skin.  But your government has made it confusing.

It is also allowed to go by the name “oil of wintergreen”.

Thank you FDA!

This could fool the most savvy of shoppers into thinking that it is an herb and ALL NATURAL.

Would you like a little more proof?

Consider the year 2007, when a 17 year old tracks star died from pain relief.  See:

By Dr. Mike Merolla
May 18, 2012
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: back   spine   discs   health  

Your spine is only about twenty-eight inches in length.  And that’s even if you’re very tall.  Of that length, about six to seven inches is made up of all the spongy discs (intervertebral discs) that are between the bones (vertebra).

Most people focus on the "bones".  Are my bones getting enough calcium?  Are they becoming weak and brittle?  Are they getting arthritis?  Is that a bone spur?  Is my backbone out of alignment?

But those spongy discs deserve some limelight and should get a lot of the credit.  

The discs are your back's unsung heroes, lending the spine shock absorption, mobility, and height. 

But discs need special care. 

As the years go by, they age and lose some of their water content.  They become less spongy and more "dry", lasting no more than 150 years.

That's right!  The discs of your spine can go about 50 years more than your typical octogenarian.

If you want your spine in good shape at 100, it is possible.  The design is there. 

But you need to realize what will speed up the shrinking process.

And these days, the biggest offender is a sedentary lifestyle.

If we go back 50 plus years, our workplace did not allow for anything sedentary.  There was mainly agriculture and industry.  Jobs where exercise was built right in. 

This is not to be confused with overuse syndrome seen on repetitive assembly lines! 

We are talking about work that was physical all day, but mixed in various amounts of walking, standing, lifting, carrying, and rest breaks. 

Now think about what you do for work.  It probably involves long hour of sitting or standing in one place, with the neck cranked to the side as you cradle a phone. 

It is these unchanging positions combined with the constant force of gravity that push down and compress your spine.

Think of a sponge in water.  If you squeeze it, twist it, bend it, water will be pushed out.  But then the motion of unsqueezing or unbending allows the water to soak back up.

But sitting or standing in one place results only in the water being pushed out.  There is no movement, no bending, and no turning to help return the fluids back into the disc.

So the discs of your spine just keep getting thinner, you get shorter, and pretty soon life's bumps and grinds add up to back pain, neck pain, and a pinched nerve.

But all is not lost!

There are ways to pump our discs back up.  The fastest would be to see the chiropractor.  Chiropractic adjustments and therapy such as intersegmental traction go a long way in helping the discs. 

Lifestyle changes can be made.  Custom made foot orthotics for individuals who stand, exercise balls to sit on, standing at work instead of sitting, wearing a phone headset.  At home decompressive activities such as traction or even yoga may be helpful.  Even something as simple as getting off the couch and tackling chores can make a difference.

Current trends are unhealthy to our spine.  We must figure out ways to pump our discs back up, regain their health, and our posture!

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Plan, which is an HMO, has come up with some eye-popping guidelines (at least to chiropractors), for the treatment of chronic back pain.  

According to this Pennsylvania based insurance company, you cannot have surgery for chronic back pain without trying three months of non-invasive care like chiropractic. 

The exact quote is that a person must have "tried and failed a 3-month course of conservative management that included physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, and medication."   Link:


Chiropractors have only been saying this since forever and it is a great start at overhauling our healthcare system. 

But the powers that be may certainly put up some resistance. There is quite a bit of money to be made on spinal surgery.  Let me throw up some numbers I’ve come across:

Anterior cervical (neck) fusion costs $44,000, cervical (neck) fusion: $19,850, decompression back surgery: $24,000, lumbar (back) laminectomy: $18,000, and lumbar spinal fusion: $34,500.

Decreasing the money spent on surgery could certainly get the attention of surgeons.  And they may not be happy.

Just ask Dr. David Spodick, a professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts.  He stated in the book Medical Dissent, “Surgery is the sacred cow of our health-care system and surgeons are the sacred cowboys who milk it.”

Still don’t believe me?  Let’s travel back to 1994 when the journal Spine published an international comparison of back surgery rates.  There conclusion: back surgery in the United States was at least 40% higher than in any other country and back surgery rates went up in the United States in areas where there were more neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons.  Link:

I know what you’re thinking; surely our health care system is interested in working with chiropractors for the better outcome of their patients.

Well, consider this.  In December of last year, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress was turned down by the American Medical Association when they tried to place an ad in their journal Archives of Internal Medicine.  At the same time they were turned down by American Academy of Family Physicians for the same ad being placed in their journal American Family Physician. 

What did the ad say?  Basically, let’s all work together for our patient’s.  Here’s a link to the actual ad so you can judge for yourself:

The bottom line at this point, change is coming, but perhaps a little too late for some back surgery patients.