St. Louis Business Journal Features Dr. Ross Mattox as ‘Character’

June 7, 2019 -- Ross Mattox, DC, RMSK, instructor and lead chiropractic clinician for Logan University at CareSTL Health, was recently featured as a St. Louis Character in the St. Louis Business Journal, highlighting his work helping patients treat and prevent back pain and his passion for animals.

As stated in the article: “Through his work as a chiropractor at CareSTL, Mattox has helped hundreds of low-income patients escape both chronic pain and a dependence on opioids. Mattox tailors his care to alleviate back pain by adjusting patients’ lifestyle choices, whether it be quitting smoking or losing weight.

“Through those changes and chiropractor services that CareSTL provides, Mattox and his team empower patients to get back in the driver’s seat when it comes to their well-being.”

Read the full feature and watch the video here

Empowering Patients to Better Health

December 13, 2018 -- Through his work at CareSTL Health, a federally qualified community health center, Ross Mattox, DC, RMSK has embraced the opportunity to help patients change their lives.

One such patient is Monteal Paige. When she first visited CareSTL in hopes of alleviating severe chronic pain and multiple chronic health conditions, Monteal was a little over 300 pounds—a lot of weight for her 5’2” frame to carry. “Her situation is common for many of our patients, and obesity is the biggest impediment to getting better,” Dr. Mattox said. “It’s a vicious cycle. Patients hurt, therefore they don’t move, which causes weight gain and only exacerbates their pain.”

For patients like Monteal, chiropractic adjustments can of course alleviate pain, but real, lasting relief must come from major lifestyle changes. That can seem like a daunting task—one that takes hard work and persistence. Although habits can feel impossible to break, Dr. Mattox is doing what he can to ease the way. 

Along with his team of interns, preceptors and residents, Dr. Mattox has researched and compiled information for patients on getting affordable or free healthy food and exercise. They’ve put together diet plans tailored to low-income patients and assembled lists of area food pantries, as well as a packet listing every YMCA and community health center in the Greater St. Louis area. “Almost everyone has a reason why they can’t do something—it may be money or transportation or any number of other things,” Dr. Mattox explained. “We find ways around every barrier. For example, we included free community health centers and information on how to get to the centers via public transportation.”

The bottom line, though, is that patients have to be willing to put in the work. And Monteal was more than willing. She started going to water aerobics, an ideal exercise for overweight individuals since the pool reduces the weight and pressure on knees and joints. “Because almost all of our patients are obese and have some sort of joint pain, the No. 1 thing I push for is movement,” Dr. Mattox said. “When they push back, saying it hurts to move, I say, ‘OK, then get in the pool.’”

Monteal discovered she loved water aerobics and started attending multiple times per week. After a few months, she was such a regular that when the instructor called in sick, others in the class pointed to her and asked her to fill in. Now, she’s an official teacher. 

Monteal also worked on her diet. “Our goal is not to overhaul someone’s diet, because that’s not realistic and we’re dealing with people with limited resources,” Dr. Mattox said. First, patients are instructed to fill out a simple food diary for a week so their CareSTL team can understand their current eating habits. Not all patients comply with this request, but Monteal was a straight-A student, logging her meals for months. “I have a collection of her food diaries I keep on my desk to show to others,” Dr. Mattox said. Starting with this simple tool and with some sound advice from Dr. Mattox, Monteal’s diet gradually changed, with fruits and vegetables replacing fried foods. 

The results from these simple—but not easy—changes were astounding: In just six months, Monteal lost around 70 pounds. “We empowered her to do this, but it was all her,” Dr. Mattox said. “Now she comes in smiling and happy, and she didn’t used to be like that. It’s changed her life and gives me a great example to use when talking to other patients.”

Like so many other patients who are in chronic pain, Monteal simply didn’t know where to start, which left her feeling helpless and depressed. “We told her it was possible and showed her what to do, one day at a time,” Dr. Mattox said. “We taught her to take control of her own health, but she put in all the effort to do so. Monteal now weighs less, takes fewer medications, requires fewer doctor visits, has new friends through her exercise classes and is a happier person.”

Dr. Norman W. Kettner Published in Journal of Pain

November 13, 2018 -- Congratulations are due to Norman W. Kettner, DC, DACBR, DCBCN, FICC, chair of Logan’s Department of Radiology, whose collaborative research was published this week in Journal of Pain. 

The research explored clinical and neuroimaging responses of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) in chronic low back pain. It demonstrates reduction of pain, expectation of pain, fear-related movement and the corresponding brain imaging responses. 

According to the study, learning and memory (implicit) processes, such as habituation, sensitization and operant conditioning, are determinants of chronic low back pain. Perception of pain takes place when potential or actual noxious stimuli are appraised as threats. Maladaptive neuroplastic structural and functional brain changes evolve from these learning processes to initiate changes in pain perception. The reversal of these maladaptive brain changes reduces chronic pain. One method of achieving this is through SMT, which generates salient sensory and proprioceptive feedback that may disrupt the relationship between pain anticipation, fear and movement.

The research was partly funded by National Chiropractic Mutual Insurance Company and was a collaboration between Logan University, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine―a partnership between Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School―and Melrose Family Chiropractic.

The paper can be accessed here.

Chiropractic Grand Rounds Recap: Roberta Sclocco, PhD

November 9, 2018 -- This past summer, Logan welcomed Roberta Sclocco, PhD, to campus for a Chiropractic Grand Rounds presentation. Dr. Sclocco is a research fellow at Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Her presentation, titled “Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation Optimized Using Functional MRI” focused on the application and integration of advanced imaging techniques and brainstem neural science. This work is an ongoing line of research with which Norman Kettner, DC, DACBR, FICC and Chair of Logan’s Department of Radiology is a collaborator.

In an introduction to Dr. Sclocco’s presentation, Dr. Kettner explained the importance the vagus nerve plays in many major biological systems.

“The inflammatory reflex is a physiological mechanism through which the vagus nerve regulates immune function, inhibits excessive proinflammatory cytokine production and may provide a variety of biological, psychological and behavioral health benefits addressing the elements of the biopsychosocial model,” he said. “Vagus nerve signaling plays an important role in the regulation of feeding behavior, gut regulation, immune network interaction, pain modulation and metabolic homeostasis. Cholinergic signaling (inflammatory reflex) is known to alleviate obesity-associated inflammation and metabolic derangement and could be exploited for treatment of metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes mellitus and other obesity-driven disorders. “

Of particular importance to the current opioid epidemic, vagus stimulation has been shown to alter the pain memory process and free chronic pain patients from conditioned pain responses.

Dr. Sclocco describes her research as a merging of the head and the heart and an exploration of whether something useful can come out of integrating the two modalities. This research has employed subcutaneous stimulation of the vagus nerve (auricular branch) with 7 T fMRI to better understand the treatment and its underlying neural mechanisms. Click here to watch the full presentation.

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