Category: Chiropractic Blog

Oh, Nuts!!

How many times have I said that on the golf course?  More times than I care to count…so let’s use that expression in different way and speak about the crunchy, chewy and delicious food…the nut.

Nuts and seeds are amazing foods and are nearly always overlooked as being not only helpful but actually critical to gaining and maintaining good health!   It wasn’t even addressed or researched until the early 1990s when several large studies addressed nut consumption and found those who consumed them regularly (5 or more servings per week) were 35% less likely to die from heart disease!  Really? …from the nut?  Also, nuts have a significant cholesterol lowering capacity as well.  A huge compilation of studies was published in late 2015 which demonstrated each daily serving of nuts was associated with approximately a 5 mg/dl reduction in both total cholesterol and LDL (bad) fat in the blood!!  So eating a full serving of nuts daily can lower total cholesterol by nearly 30 points!  This is simply a remarkable finding.

At this juncture, most people are saying,”yeah, but if I eat all of those nuts I’ll get big as a house from all the weight I’ll put on!”  This simply isn’t true and nut consumption has been associated with a lower BMI, waist circumference and a lower likelihood of gaining weight or becoming obese. Now, of course, this doesn’t mean I sit down with 16oz of almonds at a time…but this has been demonstrated with eating 1-2 ounces of nuts each day.

Further, it’s remarkable to know that people eating nuts on a regular basis also enjoy greater longevity!  The risk of death from any cause for folks who eat nuts and seeds consistently is reduced by 27%  and in addressing heart disease only….the risk of dying from heart ailments of any kind is decreased by a whopping 39%!!

Among these other benefits, seed and nut consumption also reduce the risk of diabetes as both improve the glycemic of the diet significantly…thus, reducing insulin resistance which affords the beneficial protection!  Clinical trials have shown replacing carbohydrate foods with mixed nuts improves the HbA1c in patients with diabetes and the addition of pistachios to the diet was found to reduce insulin resistance in patients with prediabetes!

So one has to wonder…..does it get any better than the nut or it’s side kick the seed?  Eating them raw is the best means by which to eat them…or roasting them briefly ourselves.  Unsalted is also preferable and once you get used to them without salt, it’s very difficult to eat them salted again!  So please…eat up…nuts and seeds are great for you!

Exercise is Great for You….but Maybe not Your Sex Life!

 

“Everything in life can kind of be summed up in one word….balance!”  …So said a mentor of mine while I was growing up.  It took many years for me to begin to grasp the truth of that statement and now, it would seem, it applies even to the realm of physical exercise!  The expression “too much of good thing” holds dramatically true when it comes to physical exercise….particularly for men.

For many years, women were cautioned against over-training as it can readily lead to alterations in the menstrual cycle, miscarriages, general hormonal shifts and other symptoms.  Diminished training nearly always remedies the issue and normalizes the individual’s body.  But not so with men, who were often over-looked in this regard as it was thought the more a man can do, accomplish and push the more virile, strong and masculine you are!  WRONG!

Recent research from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill demonstrates that Mae West was off the mark when she stated, “Too much of good thing is even better”!  Too much of this good exercise thing leads to reductions in both interest/libido and actual engagement in relations.  Anthony Hackney, the professor of exercise physiology and nutrition at UNC, related they didn’t have clear understanding as to why, though they speculated diminished testosterone levels and simple fatigue lead to the decline.

So by all means move, move, move….it’s essential to health! But remember…too much of a good thing may easily lead to less of something better!

 

Arm and Hand Tingling & Pain….Can Chiropractic Care Help?

neck-and-arm-pain

 

In the hallways of our office, on the telephone and in the examination rooms one can often hear people making references to neck, arm and hand pain or pain accompanied by tingling and numbness.  Gratefully, most of these good people are commenting on how much better they feel or that the problem is resolved!  Unfortunately, many of them underwent long periods of time suffering and not getting the clinical assistance they need….as they didn’t realize chiropractic could help them!

Neck pain with associated arm and hand symptoms are extremely common.  Such problems come from many sources and our first job is to determine exactly where it’s coming from.  While problems of the blood vessels to the arms may be a cause, entrapped nerves in the arm itself or even a problem centrally in the brain….the absolute most common cause is irritation of nerve in the neck which then travels into the arm.  This can start from muscle imbalance causing irritation on the nerve, a joint moving abnormally or too little or even a slipped disc causing irritation in the neck and then on the nerve next to that disc.  Many of our patients have been told to use heavy pain killers, offered or received epidural spinal injections or been told to get spinal surgery before they arrive in our facility.  Depending on the individual problem….chiropractic care can absolutely help!

As demonstrated in an article in The Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, a 61 year lady with neck and arm pain received care from a chiropractic physician who had identified aberrant function of the joints in the lower neck area.  Following a course of prescribed care, she enjoyed full resolution of her complaints.  Fantastic!  Improving the function of the affected joints around the irritated nerve, thus removing the cause of the irrigation….provided her with the stable resolution she’d been looking for!

So if your spouse is telling you you’re a pain in the……….neck, arm and hand……a visit to a chiropractic physician for a consultation may be the best move to resolving it!

Dizziness and Chiropractic Care…Can it help?

dizzy-lady

So often we’ll hear our patients tell about issues and symptoms that have resolved and often the statements are accompanied with the comment, “I didn’t know chiropractic and spine care could help that?”  Such is the case with dizziness.

Anyone who has ridden too many rides at the fair or spun around in circles is familiar with the fairly awful feeling that can be described as dizziness or vertigo.  There are many causes of vertigo but the most common diagnosis rendered to those afflicted is  Idiopathic Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV.  A very long title to describe dizziness that comes and goes and it’s unclear what’s causing it.  Often, small calcium particles called canaliths are thought to be causing pressure on nerve endings in the middle ear which create abnormal signals to the brain.  Often, the condition is simply attributed to age…presumably occurring for no apparent reason. Many times medications are attempted to control the dizziness and the accompanying nausea or special maneuvers are attempted to dislodge the offending calcium bodies. Yet this is far from the entire story.

It is well established that the first two vertebrae in the neck, those just under the head, are responsible for creating nerve signals to brain which tell the body where it is relative to gravity.  When these vertebrae move normally, the healthy signals keep us upright and comfortable and able to walk and navigate normally.  Should abnormality of function in these upper neck spinal joints occur (vertebral subluxation), abnormal signals or diminished signal may result which then causes the brain to get faulty information….thus, resulting in dizziness.

A recent article published in The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research demonstrated just such a problem and full resolution of that problem with the application of chiropractic care.  As is often seen in our facility, a young lady, 33 years old, was suffering from dizziness of unknown origin.  She had present to an otolaryngologist (ENT) for medication and the maneuver described. Unfortunately, this wasn’t successful and she then visited a chiropractic physician who diagnosed upper neck/cervical joint dysfunction (vertebral subluxation) and prescribed a course of care.  She enjoyed full resolution of her dizziness with the care provided.  The problem was abnormality of the movement of the two vertebrae in the upper neck sending faulty movement information to the brain….and, as the doctor of chiropractic corrected those patterns of movement, the information to the brain normalized and the dizziness resolved.

So if you or someone you love is experiencing dizziness….a visit to a chiropractic physician just might have you also saying, “I didn’t know chiropractic helped that”!

Artifical Sweetners…A Downhill Slope to Obesity…Not at all What You were Told!!

splenda sucralose

 

So you thought that using that Splenda or Equal or Sweet n Low was going to help you enjoy something sweet without the calories, right?  That we could enjoy an upside…sweetness….without any of the downside….fat.  Unfortunately, it would appear that’s not the case.

Studies over a couple of decades have demonstrated that people who use artificial sweeteners gain more weight over time than those who don’t consume such sweeteners.  It’s an interesting finding and had many scientists and nutritionists asking “Why?” for quite a while.  Well, a new piece of research recently published in the journal, Cell Metabolism, is showing how that’s exactly the case.  Simply put, these sweeteners (and this study looked at Sucralose, the sweetener in Splenda) aren’t merely as inert or non-causative of any response inside the body.  It turns out that in the part of the brain where pleasure registers (That would be that great feeling when you’re eating that pie and say, “Yummmmm!”) there is also a mechanism that measures the amount of energy/calories associated with it.  What that means is if the amount of stimulation to the pleasure centers doesn’t match up to an amount of energy…it actually stimulates the hunger mechanism to increase the desire for more food!!

When test subjects (lab animals) were place on diets including Sucralose for a 5 to 7 day period and provided no foods with naturally occurring sugars.  Then they were given food that was naturally sweetened thereafter.  Wow….in the timeframe after the Sucralose use, they consumed 30% FEWER calories (less food) than when they were on the zero calorie artificial sweetener!!  Amazing!!

Professor Greg Neely, of the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Science and contributor to the research said, ” When we investigated why animals were eating more even though they had enough calories, we found that chronic consumption of this artificial sweetener actually increases the sweet intensity of real nutritive sugar and this then increases the animal’s overall motivation to eat more food”!    The bottom line to what he’s saying is that artificial sweeteners change how animals perceive the sweetness of their food and this is accompanied by a discrepancy between and energy levels…this then prompts an actual increase in caloric consumption.

This is incredible news!  People who are simply trying to lose weight, diabetics looking to control sugar intake (but will actually cause an increase in weight and, thus, a worsening of their diabetic presentation!) or people simply trying to be healthier by eating less sugar will need to rethink the use of such artificial sweeteners.

Maybe consumption of things artificial just isn’t such a great idea….

“What About Mary”? Facial Pain!

trigeminal-neuralgia-woman

 

Let’s call her Mary….a 74 year old lady who came to our office in pain:  A lot of pain.  The left side her face felt like it was burning all of the time…to greater and lesser degrees….and then there was the electric pain.  Shooting, sharp shocks searing right from her cheek bone to the center of her head.

Amazing pain…and Mary had been experiencing this to greater and lessor degrees for over 20 years.  Over the course of this period of time she’s seen more than 12 specialists and undergone numerous procedures.  She’s suffered many needles injected into her face, the side of her head and even in the roof of her mouth.  In Mary’s words, “I’ve been given more pills than there are in any Walgreen’s” and she’s undergone brain surgery on two separate occasions with an instrument know as a gamma knife.

Yet here was Mary….20  plus years later….still suffering.  She was experiencing symptoms from a condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia…an abnormal condition of the 5th Cranial Nerve (one of the 12 big nerves in the head).  Sometimes called a palsy or simply put…a nerve that’s not doing its designed purpose.  For this big 5th facial nerve, it would be providing normal sensation to one side of the face.  So if a man is shaving, he feels the pressure; if a woman is applying makeup, she feels the light touch of the brush; if a mosquito bites my forehead…I feel the sting. These normal day to day feelings are provided by this nerve but become abnormal and unsolicited with a condition like Mary’s….they become sharp, burning, electric, stabbing and searing pain WITHOUT anything to actually stimulate those feelings. Anything can then set off these very terrible pains…lack of sleep, brushing one’s teeth, chewing, smiling, shaving or any activity at all.  No doctors are truly certain of where it comes from and, as is clear in Mary’s case, know how to get rid of it.

Mary had heard from a friend that she had had very good results coming to our office for migraine headaches from which she suffered for ten years and was now headache free.   Her advice to Mary was, “What do you have to lose?”

Mary presented to our office and, after extensive evaluation, a plan of care was established.  Mary received corrective functional adjustment using an advanced technology, the Ultralign Technology, to alter the patterns of movement of the spine and other joints.  She received care to poorly functioning joints in her neck and even gentle care of several sutures or joints in her head.  Further, active forms of rehabilitation of the tissues of the neck was prescribed and initiated.  While progress was slow, some three months later, Mary could proclaim, “I’m 95% pain free for the first time in two decades…it’s miraculous”!  Now Mary is a wellness patient of the office and comes in simply to catch early problems before they ever create such issues again….and she’s had no resurgence since her initial corrective care.

Many people have conditions for which they may not no where to turn.  If this is the case for you or a loved one, call today. If we can help, we’ll tell you that…if we can’t, we’ll tell you that, too.

Chiropractic care…it may be just what this doctor ordered!

Pomegranates…Tasty, a bit Odd & Amazingly Healthful!

Pomegranate_ImageAsk anyone who enjoys Middle eastern foods, they’ll let you know pomegranate is found throughout nearly every dish they enjoy.  The fruit itself has both a sweet and tart character and it is this special flavor and unique texture, in conjunction with it obtaining super food status, that has increased its popularity remarkably in the United States in years of late.  The interior of the pomegranate is loaded with seed pods known as arils…clear, ruby-colored fruit that surrounds the crisp seed itself…all of which are edible!  Surprising to many people, the pomegranate fruit actually is one of the earliest fruits to ever be cultivated.  This richly red shelled fruit is even found throughout time in religion, art and culture…having mention in the Bible, Romeo & Juliet and the Greek mythological story of the seasons.

There is a very powerful anti-oxidant known as punicalagan which is the primary anti-oxidant of the fruit’s juice and is the source of over half of the anti-oxidant activity the fruit provides.  This anti-oxidant is both powerful and unique, helping to give pomegranate juice higher anti-oxidant activity than red wine, green tea, cranberry or grape juices or even acai juice.  Drinking the juice of the pomegranate has been shown in research to appreciably reduce oxidative stress (free radical damage) in healthy people.  There is a significant amount of research demonstrating that the potent antioxidant potential of pomegranate juice provides protection against heart disease, cancer and cognitive impairment.

Anti-inflammatory effects of pomegranate may render protection from cancer and other chronic illnesses and pomegranate has something called “anti-angiogenic properties”, which means prevention of new blood vessels to tumors thereby stopping their growth and development.  Since we’re using medical terms, let’s throw in another…”aromatase inhibitor”.  This simply means that like very few other foods (mushrooms being another) pomegranates contain this natural substance that slows or inhibits the production of estrogen which, in turn, can reduce the risk of breast cancer!  Men who have used pomegranate supplements or juice after prostate cancer have been shown to slow the increase in PSA after treatment.  As noted, brain function and memory have been evidenced to be positively effected by both pomegranate juice and supplements.  Supplements taken before and after heart valve surgery or coronary artery bypass prevented the associated post-operative memory dysfunction. People suffering with mild memory complaints performed better on memory task tests and displayed increased brain activation as measured by functional MRI after drinking pomegranate juice for a period of time.  Lastly, enjoying this tart fruit and its juice provides cardioprotective benefits.  The phytochemicals (plant chemicals) in pomegranates reduces damage/oxidation of LDL…which contributes significantly to plaques development in arteries.  Studies have also indicated blood pressure reducing qualities to this exotic fruit’s juice and even a reduction in plugged arteries!  In one study, patients with profound carotid artery blockage (the large artery leading to the brain), after drinking one ounce of pomegranate juice every day for a year, there was a 30% reduction in the plaque that caused the plugging!!  And of nearly equal significance, the study participants who did not take the juice actually had and INCREASE of plaquing of 9%!!

So while many people eat pomegranates because they’re unique and so very flavorful, there are tremendous benefits to regular consumption.  One precaution:  when you purchase pomegranate juice, be sure to buy 100% juice only which is not from concentrate to avoid added sugars.  So eat up…but wash your hands…or you’ll have stained fingers for a while!

Ultra-Processed Foods….A Caloric Nightmare in America

 

ProcessedFoodsWe all know what processed foods are…foods that go through a manufacturing process and have additives typically combined with the foods….but what is meant by “Ultra-processed foods”? Of real interest is the definition rendered in a study recently published in the British Medical Journal in which the researchers define them as “industrial formulations which, besides salt, sugar, oils and fats, include substances not used in food (culinary) preparations.”  Wow…they’re not even calling them foods but “industrial formulations”!  How many of our mothers called out in the evening, “Honey, come in for industrial formulations!”  It might be comedic if it weren’t so disturbing!  Substances included in these ultra-processed foods include flavorings, colorings, sweeteners and other additives that improve sensorial qualities….like emulsifiers to make something feel smoother in your mouth or processed sugar to make it sweeter than is natural.

In this study, the researchers used data collected on eating habits from around the country and from every stratum of the socioeconomic ladder and every race.  The purpose was an effort to unearth what exactly is being consumed by Americans as rates of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and obesity are at unprecedented levels and the link between food consumption and these disorders is now unquestionable. General categories of these Ultra-processed foods include reconstituted meat products (think bologna, pepperoni, hotdogs), packaged baked goods, packaged snacks including chips and crackers and the like, instant noodles as well as confectionary items and desserts.  What became ultimately disturbing in the findings was one very important conclusion from the data:  58% of American calorie intake is directly attributed to the intake of these “industrial formulations” we’re calling Ultra-processed foods.  Due to the very high content of sugar in these “foods”…they account for nearly all of the additional sugar calories from added sugars we consume!  The researchers, being austere, educated and a bit uptight in their presentation can’t express what they would like to….therefore, I’ll undertake to do it for them:  WOW!  When our country has states with greater than 35% obesity and other states with burgeoning diabetes rates greater than 10% of the people…we have a major issue.  Alarmingly, such ultra-processed foods are a major contributing factor to the problem.

In our society today, it can be difficult to take or make the time to prepare our own foods and meals from raw ingredients….but this is exactly what is needed to turn the tide we are witnessing.  Further, in these types of foods, the additives often require a chem-major from a university to pronounce them.  As one very lauded nutritionist says, “If your grandma never heard of it and you can’t pronounce it and it’s in the food…don’t eat it”!   These two simple but often difficult steps will take you light years ahead toward regaining or improving your health. When it comes to the foods we feed ourselves and our families…the KISS method has never been more true!

 

Sleep…Not Just a Luxury…It’s A Must!

sleep-deprived1

 

Many of us have heard the joking expression regarding a “Zombie Apocalypse”…..and we’re living in it!  Very recent research put out by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta) demonstrated more than 83 Million Americans are moving around the country on any given day without having obtained the minimal recommendation of sleep of seven hours per night.

There are two very interesting components to these observations:  1.)  sleep loss opens each of us up to markedly increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cognitive decline and other metabolic diseases and 2.) the split between those who do and those who do not get enough sleep was along economic, education and ethnic lines.

According to Dr. Anne Wheaton, an epidemiologist at the CDC, “People just aren’t putting sleep on the top of their priority list.  People know they need to eat right, get exercise, quit smoking, but sleep just isn’t at the top of their board.” She added, “And maybe they aren’t aware of the impact sleep can have on your health.  It doesn’t just make you sleepy but it can also affect your health and safety.”

In the research noted, which was published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report , more than 1 in 3 Americans is getting fewer than 7 hours of sleep per night.  The study addressed people from all 50 states with nearly one half million surveyed.  Oddly, sleep patterns were predictable in states and in regions….people in South Dakota receiving the most sleep with nearly 72% getting 7 hours or more and folks in Hawaii getting the least with only 56% receiving 7 hours or more.  By region….Americans in the southeast received the least amount of sleep and those in the Great Plains states receiving the most.

Interestingly, racial and educational patterns emerged also with married college graduates getting the most sleep and people either widowed, divorced or separated getting the least amounts of sleep.  Racially, there was again an interesting pattern with people receiving 7 hours of sleep per night:  66.8% of whites, 65.5% of Hispanics, 62.5% of Asians, 59,6% of Indians and Alaskans, 54.2% of Blacks and 53.7% of Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

What’s the most remarkable about the national patterns observed is that these geographic patterns for amounts of sleep  follow the same patterns for obesity, diabetes and death rates from heart disease and stroke.  Simply a remarkable finding but one which coincides with many a prior study demonstrating similar findings.  Even cancer prevalence is being shown to affiliate with sleep loss over any extended period.

So if you’re one of those terribly busy people who has made the statement, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”….that lack of sleep may just do that for you!  Sleep…it’s truly not a luxury but an absolute necessity if we hope to live healthier, more comfortable and longer lives!

 

More Prescription Drugs than Ever….Because We’re Too Big

Fat ladiesOver the course of the last several years, most of us have heard the statement, “I don’t like taking prescription drugs” or “I’m trying to find an alternative to a prescription”.  It may be possible that you’ve made that very exclamation yourself!  In spite of the growing frequency that you hear this said, the reality is….Americans are using more prescription drugs than EVER before.

A recent study by researchers at Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health shows that 59% of adults used a prescription drug in a 30 day period!  Findings from a decade earlier showed that number at 50% of adults….so an actual increase of 9% of our adult population!  Said another way in looking at those numbers, there was a 20% increase in the number of adults using prescription drugs in a given month.  Of equal concern was the elevation in the number of people taking multiple medications in a month.  The actual share of Americans who took more than five prescriptions meds in a month nearly doubled….to 15% of American adults.  This creates great concern due to the possible number of drug interactions that are possible with such a great number of medicines.  Anyone who has watched television knows the huge number of potential side effects with just one medication.  Now, take the side effects of five medications and have the television announcer mix them all together….you wouldn’t know what you were hearing!!  That’s also the problem in reality….no one really knows what potential reactions occur when that many drugs are combined.

“When we’re starting to see more and more adults using five or more drugs, it does raise a concern about the potential for drug interaction,” says Elizabeth Kantor, the lead researcher and an epidemiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

One potential cause of this significant escalation in prescription drug use is the significant escalation in the average American’s waistline.  Over the course of that same decade, the number of American’s classified as obese and over-weight rose to approximately 70% of the population!  “This might raise the question of how much of this increase in prescription drug use might be attributable to obesity, as we know that the prevalence of obesity has increased among adults in the US,” she added.  Among other diseases, obesity is directly linked to disorders such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and diabetes.  These are simply the most obvious where even dementia and Alzheimer’s, cancers and digestive diseases are associated with over-weight and obese body states.    Interestingly, it wasn’t simply medications to treat these disorders that emerged in the study.  There was also a significant increase in anti-depressants and muscle relaxers…so the rate of prescription dispensing increase is across the board.  It’s the cost in human suffering and loss of genuine life enjoyment that is of greatest concern; but there was a monumental elevation in the monetary cost, too.  From 2013 to 2014 alone, there was noted a 10.9% elevation in prescription drug cost….totaling nearly $374 billion in 2014!!  ($374,000,000,000 to actually SEE that number!)

Is there a quick easy answer that can be provided in the next two or three sentences?  ….absolutely not.  But it IS clear that weight reduction is absolutely critical to improve our personal well-being and eliminate much of the need for these medicines.  Often it isn’t even the quantity of foods but the type of foods that is our undoing.  Simple, unprocessed food that we prepare ourselves is ALWAYS the best option!  The great news is that the change is so very doable….and the power is in us already!  We are not stuck in a downward spiral of illness over which we have little control…we CAN change the direction of our health!!  Or better yet….never get off that course to begin with!