Medical Briefs - Soft Drinks, Low Back Pain, Shoulder Surgery, Dementia, and Sidelined USA

Lay off the Soft Drinks (Including Diet)!

In a study published this month in JAMA Internal Medicine, a study of nearly a half million Europeans found that greater consumption of sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks are associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality. Interestingly, consuming sugar-laden drinks increased the risk of death from digestive diseases, while consuming artificially sweetened diet soft drinks were positively associated with deaths from circulatory diseases. Participants who had lower mortality rates consumed no soft drinks per month, while those with increased mortality consumed 1-2 soft drinks per day.

Try PT First for Low Back Pain

Patients who see a physical therapist for their first medical visit to treat their low back pain are less likely to utilize or need opiates over the course of their back pain compared to patients who see their primary care provider first. In a study just published in the British Medical Journal Open, patients who first utilize physical therapy to address their back pain are 85% less likely to need an opioid in their first 30 days of care, and 73% less likely to fall into chronic opioid use in comparison to patients who visit primary care instead.

Get Thinking AND Moving to Reduce Dementia Risk

While it is always imperative to your health to stay active, the authors of a new study published in Neurology state that cognitive and physical activity begun in midlife can reduce the risk of some forms of dementia, even if the research subjects had never been active early in life. Starting up increased cognitive activity in midlife reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 46%, while adding physical activity in midlife reduced the risk of dementia and stroke by 53%.

Skip Shoulder Surgery - Try PT Instead

New clinical practice guidelines have been established by orthopedic surgeons advising against a common shoulder decompression surgery for non-traumatic shoulder pain that lasts for 3 months or longer. This commonly performed shoulder surgery has no better effectiveness than physical therapy, while adding risk to each patient undergoing the surgical procedure. The authors of the clinical practice guidelines advise, “Clinicians should not offer patients sub-acromial decompression surgery unprompted, and others should make efforts to educate the public regarding the ineffectiveness of surgery.”

Check out Sidelined USA

Medically disqualified athletes at all levels of play from middle school through professional levels of competition now have a new resource to assist them with the often difficult transition out of competitive play. Cade and his mom Christine Pinalto co-founded Sidelined USA to help these athletes who are no longer medically cleared to play sports find new passions to allow for social support and to help cope with the sudden life change. “Medical retirement” from sports can create difficulties ranging from grief and loss from the sudden loss of ability, identity crisis, mental health problems, loss of social support, lack of motivation, and difficulty in setting new life goals. The goal of Sidelined USA is to offer support, resources, and ideas in how athletes can still be involved with sports a new, non-competitive role. For more details and free online resources, check out