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CHIROPRACTIC HELP #47: Life without medication
June 27, 2016

Life without medication

Life without medication is the subject of our 47th newsletter from Chiropractic Help.

The first, eight years ago, was on tingling in the arms and hands, and is still the most read back issue at the site; find them at the bottom of any page at Chiropractic Help.

The modern trend is to send out short weekly newsletters, or even daily clogging of your inbox. I put the question to you, some may may remember, and the overwhelming response was an occasional in depth and longer issue.

This one is no different; don't try reading it in five minutes. Rather come back later, although that usually means never!

I'm asking whether life without medication is fundamentally feasible or is it a lunatic question?

Let's be clear about one thing; I'm not talking about never taking medication, or taking drugs in a crisis of pneumonia or heart failure, or whatever. What we are discussing here is whether it should be considered quite normal that every person in the world is taking a prescription drug virtually every day for this or that; and maybe half a dozen.

Medication abuse in the West is rife; no question of it. And in particular the United States has only five percent of the world's population, yet is taking 75% of the world's prescription drugs; for example, just read any site on the subject of rebound headaches; they are actually caused by medication.

Yet the World Health Organisation states that the level of health is tops in Oman, the Netherlands lies at 19th, the United Kingdom at 24th, the United States 72, lowly South Africa at 182, and Zimbabwe carries the wooden spoon which is not surprising considering the despot at the helm.

These figures are slightly dated, but the principle remains king; taking a lot of prescription medication is no guarantee of better health; in fact it's highly likely to make you worse off, if only because it enables you to avoid the issues.

Life without medication

Is life without medication a pipe dream? Clearly throwing money and prescription drugs at our health problems is not the total solution; in fact it's often a hindrance.

When you look at the statistics, pain killing medication is at the forefront. The reason is fairly simple and straight forward; NSAIDs, or non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, cause havoc both with your intestines and your heart.

Fourteen thousand Americans die every year from an internal bleed directly caused by analgesics such as Brufin; yet more from strokes and heart disease; non steriodal anti inflammatory drugs are toxic when taken for an extended period. 

Iatrogenic disease

Iatrogenic disease is the third most common cause of death. Heart conditions and cancer top the list. By the way, are you regularly using saccharine? Consider what they are doing to your health too; artificial sweetener side effects include a very serious condition called glucose intolerance leading to diabetes. 

And most of that doctor-caused disease is from prescription medication; over 200,000 people die every year in the USA alone. Are you taking drugs every day? Beware because you may be about to add your name to the statistics.

Chiropractic too features in iatrogenic disease though the number of deaths is minuscule. Just ask your doctor what his malpractice insurance premiums are. Nevertheless we too need to take care, particularly of the dizzy patient.

What's disconcerting is that the chiropractic adjustment may help your vertigo, but it's one of the greatest areas where we must be careful. Ask first whether your DC is familiar with the Hallpark Dix test, and the Epley manoeuvres; that is my advice before a manipulation of the cervical spine for the dizzy patient.

A cheap and nasty solution

Prescription medication is often a cheap and nasty solution to your health problem.

  • You have a heart problem, but you can't stop smoking.
  • You have pain seemingly in every part of your body, but you refuse to face the reality of your crap diet.
  • Your blood sugar is raised but you won't seriously consider your obesity; it's easier to fiddle with your hormones by taking Glucagon.
  • You have insulin intolerance but refuse to weigh the artificial sweetener side effects.
  • You have lower back pain but couldn't be bothered with the discipline of two minutes of exercises every morning before getting out of bed; swallow a pill instead.
  • I could go on and on.

Instead, we choose the oft not-so-cheap but certainly nasty solutions to our health problems. We insist that life without medication is a pipe dream. We'd rather undergo operations, the potential deadly side effects of our medication and die than face the hard truths about our life style.

Selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors

SSRI's are commonly prescribed for panic attacks, depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders. Now it's true that for some folk these may be life threatening disorders; despite the horrific side effects of drugs like Citalopram, your doctor may feel that you have no option. I wouldn't argue.

But consider this interesting situation. A middle aged woman who suffers from stress and anxiety has been taking Citalopram for twenty years. She is a super fit long distance runner on a good diet, yet she has fractured her pubic rami.

Super fit runners on a good diet don't fracture their pelvis' without major trauma. Unless they are taking SSRIs for an extended period; the drug weakens the bones.

Are there not other better ways of facing and dealing with our problems, instead of taking medication? Safer ways because inevitably in the end the ostrich who puts his head in the sand will get eaten by a predator.


Except for a tiny minority who suffer from a missing enzyme preventing the break down of cholesterol, most of those who have significantly raised cholesterol need to look at their lifestyles rather than taking statins; they have simply awful side effects.

Okay, for a period, perhaps take the medication whilst you get your house in order, but then for heaven's sake do your level best to get off them.

But, stopping your lipitor whilst not dealing with your diet may be life threatening. There are three simple things you can do.

  • Have whole oats daily for breakfast; not the precooked baby food found in most supermarkets. Quaker oats recipes will explain it.
  • Eat an apple a day; any fruit probably. Apple diet gives the background.
  • Make your own quick hummus and enjoy it on a salad every day; it takes only five minutes to throw together and keeps for three to four days.

Couldn't be bothered? The life without medication is just too much trouble? Then alas you must just accept painful legs, loss of sex drive and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Get off statins safely is our recommendation.


Ritalin is a particularly nasty drug to give to your hyperactive and attention deficit child. Apart from introducing them to the concept that taking medication for the rest of your life is quite normal and will improve their health, Ritalin has some very severe side effects.

Have you considered your child's diet? If he having just cocoa pops for breakfast, refined bread and margarine for lunch, cookies and colas? Are they too having their minimum of eight coloured foods per day?

What about a school with small classes and more individual attention; even home schooling? Attention deficit Bernie will explain to you how I've managed a life without medication including Ritalin.

I'm presently enjoying a biography of Steve Jobs; if Ritalin was available forty years ago he'd certainly have been put on medication and there would be no Apple Macs.

Fosamax reviews

Fosamax is the standard medication used for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Yet there's very disturbing research proving that the drug actually weakens both the hip and the jaw. Life without medication should surely be first considered.

There may be a place for Fosamax, but have you first considered taking a walk every day and a long hard look at your diet?

For young women in particularly, smoking is a huge factor; add to that a sedentary life in front of a computer, and there's almost certain very painful osteoporotic fracture lying in wait in the future. 

Fosamax reviews explains why dentists are loath to pull teeth in women who have been on the medication; and the other risks, litigation and options. For nine out of ten women it's the not-so-cheap and nasty alternative to becoming more active and eating better.


And now for a look in my own chiropractic back garden. If you are needing more than 15-25 treatments for your spinal condition per year, then it's time to start thinking about exercise, changing your chair and computer station and perhaps even your bed; or a lift in your shoe. Has too much manipulation become your alternative to a healthier life style? That too has side effects.

I've recently had to speak very firmly to a young man who had a very severe slipped disc and sciatica, responded exceptionally well to chiropractic treatment, but is having warning signs again; he stopped the exercises once the pain and stiffness had ceased.

In fact, I myself need to be careful of being holy than thou. Three years I ago I had a very severe sequestered disc in the lower back simply because I wouldn't stop long enough for each episode to heal; I very nearly had to undergo surgery and was only saved by my very skilled partner. You can read about it at femoral nerve damage if you like; I eventually faced the fact that it was either two weeks of massaging bed rest or a major operation. And, yes, I did take NSAIDS for a few days.

Even very severe spinal conditions, given time and a skilled chiropractor, and some patience, more than I had initially, usually respond to conservative care.

An extremist view

Yes, of course, I'm being provocative; perhaps you have glaucoma and a life without medication is simply a pipe dream. Or for no known reason you have hypertension and there is no other option but drugs every day; the alternative is the high risk of stroke.

Maybe you sprained your ankle and needed 8 chiropractic consultations; then you were in a car accident, and needed another fifteen. A few months later you moved house and you suffered from a slipped disc and now you find you've needed 35 chiropractic consultations, and the year isn't yet up. Or you have a nasty scoliosis and the only way you cope is with a treatment every two weeks.

Of course there are exceptional cases. Life without medication is certainly not for all; but if you're having to take drugs daily, or having too many manipulations simply because of a refusal to change your lifestyle, then beware. As the Dutch love to trot out, those who will not hear, must feel.

"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains."

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Rousseau, one of history's most influential thinkers had a huge impact on America's Founding Fathers. In "Emile", the novel he described as his best and containing his most important writings is available for a small fortune on Amazon, or for free on your Kindle or tablet.

Whilst you're there, make sure you also download my best book, Stones in my Clog! It's not half as good, I fear, and will cost you $3.41. The price seems to change daily, though. But it is also my best book.

With many thanks to Dr Mardy for his Quotes of the week that brought me the Rousseau; it's the best free download I enjoy, and always read thoroughly. Google it.

Rousseau was no doubt thinking about political chains but there are others too. Psychological, too lazy to take a walk or do some back exercises, or faulty thinking; for example that sugar is terrible and worse fattening, but artificial sweeteners are quite safe and have no side effects. And, yes, that a life without medication is a "bridge too far."

Holland 2016

Speaking of Arnhem and clogs, I'll be doing a locum again this summer in Dordrecht; I am so looking forward to seeing old friends and perhaps some of my former patients.

Eight coloured foods

I've alluded to before, and will continue to do so, ad nauseum, because the words fall mostly on deaf ears, but there's very strong research that those who enjoy eight coloured foods most days have a 35% lower all cause of death. That's massive. Perhaps if we ate twenty we'd live for ever!

I've already had four for breakfast; freshly squeezed orange juice, a tamarillo, and a tomato and spinach eggs Florentine. How many colours did you enjoy this Sunday morning? Don't fuss with weighing and measuring or you'll become quite neurotic.

› Life without medication

Till next month, then... yours in better health.

Barrie Lewis DC and Bernard Preston DC!

PS. Feel free to forward this to family and friends, your chiropractor and even your medical doctor! You can support this site by purchasing one of Bernard Preston's chiropractic books. Dirt cheap on your Kindle, tablet or smartphone.

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