Thursday, September 10, 2009

Do you suffer from neck pain or back pain?

video

As much as I talk about pain being a poor indicator of health and how your body's ability to function dictates how healthy you are, it is still a very big problem for thousands of people in this country. Every day, millions are reaching for a bottle of aspirin or Tylenol to relieve some type of pain. Most don't even know that they are poisoning their bodies at the same time and setting it up for failure further down the road.


Take aspirin for example, we are taught to take it for aches and pains. You should even take one a day as you get older to show your heart that you care about it. Right?!


Did you know that your aspirin is causing your stomach and intestines to bleed everytime you take it? They fail to leave that part out of the commercials. Or how about your liver and kidneys? They have to filter everything out of your body.


Being that ALL medication is processed as a poison (because that's what it is) in your body, it will cause damage to either one or both. As a matter of fact, Tylenol is now reported as the number 1 cause of liver disease. You cannot assume that something is not dangerous to your body because you buy it at the grocery store without a script.


Here's something else I bet you didn't know: you don't suffer from a deficiency of aspirin or Tylenol! I usually get a few chuckles when I make that statement so feel free to insert yours here. Your pain does not come from not having a high enough level of pain killers or antiinflammatories in your system. Pain is a perception of the brain or signal.


This means if an area of the body loses its ability to function then at a certain level your brain decides, "Hey, I guess I better tell him/her about it." It then throws out a signal to you, preferably where the problem is, so that you can correct the problem. Sometimes the brain gets the location right and sometimes it does not. This is because less than 10% of your nerves actually deal with pain, everything else is function.


Let me translate. By the time you are feeling pain, then something else has already lost its ability to function properly somewhere else. So how do I know that? (Glad you asked)


All nerves exit from the spine and every single cell, tissue, and organ in your body is hooked up to a nerve. Every nerve controls more than one thing. Part of the nerve goes to control a group of muscles and the other part goes to organs and tissues. If you have pain, then something is not functioning properly. The nerves exiting that part of the spine are now affected, which disrupts the messages being sent to whatever parts of the body it controls.


For example, lets say you have a job where you work at the computer a lot. Now you notice that your neck is starting to get tight on a daily basis and some pain actually starts to creep in from time to time. The nerves exiting that part of the spine also go to control areas of the brain, your eyes, your nose, your sinuses, your throat, etc. All those areas are not allowed to function as well as they normally would.


Now I am not saying that you will also have problems in all those areas. What I am saying is that now you are set up to have problems in those areas. Let's say with no stress on the neck your sinuses can function at 100%. Now let's throw a little stress in there and a couple of misalignments and now they can only function at 75%. Who do you think is more likely to get a sinus infection - sinuses functioning at 100% or 75%?


I get asked all the time what the deal is with chiropractic. Why shouldn't we just take Advil or whatever else? My response is that we look at the body differently than most MDs. We try to find an area of the body that is not functioning properly, which is causing problems (symptoms) there or somewhere else, and restore normal function. If you go to your RD (that's regular doctor), they will ask for your symptoms and prescribe medication to correct those.


So let me ask you this? What makes more sense, addressing the cause of the problems or the effects of the problems? In which scenario do you think a reoccurrence is least likely? This is why pretty much all the research you can find on the effectiveness of chiropractic says we are just as good or better than medication.


The more things you can improve or problems you can solve without drugs or surgery, the longer your body will last you, and the more you will be able to enjoy it later in life.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Obama's Health Plan Won't Matter

Being that I am a health care provider, it seems like everyone wants to know what I think about the possible reformatting of our health care system. I have given it some thought and I have come up with an answer. But before I give it to you, I must first say this.

There absolutely needs to be some kind of change in the system we have or it will continue to spiral downward and get more and more out of control. However, change does not mean better it ONLY means different.

So now my answer to the question…..it doesn’t really matter. Before anyone gets upset, let me clarify.

When I say it doesn’t matter, I mean in relation to helping out the health crisis this nation finds itself in today. The World Health Organization has us listed around 35th (+ or – 2 spots) on the healthiest nations in the world. We are number 1 in emergency medicine (what medicine was to be used for) but way down on the list for chronic, preventable diseases.

Let me ask you some questions. How many people have health insurance? I think we can all agree that most people have some form of health insurance. When are you allowed to use your health insurance? If you are thinking “when you are sick,” then you are right. When do most people go to the doctor? When they are sick or have problems, and in the mean time, do nothing until they have another problem.

You see, we currently have a sick-care system and sick insurance – NOT health care with health insurance.

We have been brainwashed for several decades now that your health is all about how you feel. If I’m not in pain/sick, then everything is good. When pain/sickness is present, now there’s a problem. When it stops hurting, the problem is fixed and all is good once again.

This just simply is NOT how your body operates. We are not machines with nuts and bolts. We are dynamic, biological systems that are constantly assessing, compensating, and adapting to the environment we are in. Unless you can think of the exact moment you experienced trauma when your pain began, then it is something that has developed over time. Even then, the scar tissue left behind from an injury will cause that area to prematurely decay if not payed attention to.

Until we adopt a system that puts more emphasis on the prevention of health problems, we will always have a messed up system. You can’t wait until your car breaks down before you decide to take care of it and expect it to perform at a very high level. We all get that with our cars and our teeth, so why do we not get that about our health.

The health care crisis in this nation has little to do with the presence or absence of a health insurance policy. The crisis originates with the thought process currently used with respect to our individual health. The government is not going to get you or your children healthy. The insurance companies are not going to get you or your children healthy. We’ve been following there lead for several decades now with vaccination, drugs, and surgeries and look where it got us.

Obviously each individual case is different, and I would never say that we don’t need any of those things. In the right circumstances it is greatly needed. If I break my arm or my appendix ruptures, don’t come at me with some herbal paste to rub on my skin. Get me to a hospital first for some pain medication and possibly surgery. After things are stabilized then I’ll probably check out your herbal remedy.

The overhauling of our system needs to start with changing our out-dated ideals of health and use some of the research we’ve been spending billions of dollars on over the last 20 years and start applying it. Then we need to develop a system that encourages the individual to be more responsible for their own health. Until that happens, we will always end up right where we are at today.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Studies show millions of US kids are lacking in vitamin D


When I came into work this morning and pulled up my homepage on the internet, one of the top stories was entitled "Studies: Millions of U.S. Kids Lacking Vitamin D." I immediately clicked on the link to read the article. The first two paragraphs are as follows:


"Millions of U.S. children have disturbingly low Vitamin D levels, possibly increasing their risk for bone problems, heart disease, diabetes and other ailments, according to two new studies that provide the first national assessment of the crucial nutrient in young Americans.


About 9 percent of those ages 1 through 21 — about 7.6 million children, adolescents and young adults — have Vitamin D levels so low they could be considered deficient, while an additional 61 percent — 50.8 million — have higher levels, but still low enough to be insufficient, according to the analysis of federal data being released Monday."


This is a HUGE problem and kids are being set up for failure. Parents in general are taking a back seat to their children's health. It is assumed that they are getting all the vitamins and nutrients they need in their Poptarts, school lunches, and happy meals.

According to the article, about 70% of children have insufficient amounts of the super important vitamin in their bodies. You think we have health problems now?! Just wait and see what happens if nothing is done to correct this problem. Heart disease, cancer, viral infections, and so on will go through the roof.

I am not trying to point a finger at anyone and say you stink as a parent. I'm only trying to raise your awareness of a very serious problem that could easily go overlooked and have damaging effects to your child's health. I have 3 kids of my own and never really thought about this vitamin until Dr. Mercola started touting it's importance recently, so I'm preaching to myself at the same time.

I'm sure by now you're thinking to yourself, "So how do I make sure my child is getting enough of the good stuff?" I'm so glad you asked.

First, we need to turn off all the video games and cartoons and get kids outside playing. It's not the playing part for the vitamin D but the sun exposure. Your body will naturally make the vitamin when your skin sees the light of day. In fact, one theory behind why the flu is more prevalent in the winter is because of dips in the general populations vitamin D levels from keeping skin covered up.

Getting kids more active will have a lot of positive health benefits besides boosting their vitamin D levels. It will also help their bodies develop neurologically, promote a healthier immune system, and help prevent type 2 diabetes. Of course, regular exercise for kids does a lot more for their body then just those few things. I just wanted to hit some highlights.

Second, you need to find a high quality Vitamin D supplements for your kiddos. I say high quality because that is important in the world of supplements. In general, vitamins and herbs are still very loosely regulated. Brand X in the grocery store doesn't always make sure that what they have in their pills match what the label says on the outside and the vitamin in said pills aren't always of a good absorbable form of whatever you are taking. If you don't take the time to know who you are buying your supplements from then you are literally urinating or pooping your money away.

I would also like to point out that there is no 1 company that is the "best" with a secret formula to get you more vitamin D. There are several companies that produce quality vitamins. The company I recommend is web-based because I can't find any brands in the grocery stores that are reliable.

I hope that I have raised the awareness of at least 1 person. Have an excellent day!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

5 myths of vaccines


"Vaccines: Top 5 myths about childhood vaccines" was the title of an article on the front page of MSN Health. I just couldn't pass this up.


Now before I get started I'll throw out my disclaimer. This will only be for information purposes to try and get you to think outside of the box a little and make informed decisions when it comes to injecting your child or yourself with anything. I am not telling you whether or not to vaccinate your child - only you can make that choice. (and YES, it is a choice)


The reason I am writing on this because "they" call it the 5 myths. According to my trusty iPhone dictionary app., the definition of myth is "an imaginary or fictitious thing; an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution." So let's take a look at these 5 "myths" (I think I've already used up my quota for quotation marks and I'm just getting started).


Myth #1: Vaccines aren't necessary


This myth is anything but a myth. In fact, it couldn't be any farther from a myth and closer to the truth. The only way vaccines would be completely necessary would be if our body could not code an antibody for whatever illness we are being vaccinated against. Your body is more than capable of killing off any infection you are told to vaccinate against. Your immune system has the ability to code for several trillions of antibodies for diseases we haven't even discovered yet. In fact, your immune system can code for more antibodies than your own DNA would allow for. In order for this statement to be true, then all children who do not get vaccinated would surely acquire the sickness and die because the body would not be able to defend itself from such a powerful infection like those "they" want you to vaccinate against.

Myth #2: Vaccine side effects are dangerous


This one is very puzzling to me. Why did "they" set up special government funds that pays millions and millions of dollars every year to parents whose children were permanently or fatally injured from a vaccine. But here lies the thought process of the system. Your little boy or girl is a necessary sacrifice to ensure "herd immunity" or higher public health. If their side effects are so minor, then why do "they" make it so hard for the public to get a true list of side effects.


Myth #3: Vaccines cause autism


I guess this one is a partial truth. It's not the vaccine causing autism but the mercury they use to preserve the mercury that does the damage. I personally know 2 families with children who were fine until receiving a round of vaccines containing mercury and soon developed autism. Mercury is one of the most dangerous neurotoxins known to man. I don't care how many methyl groups you add to it. IT'S TOXIC! Do not be fooled that they have removed mercury from the vaccines. They have only lowered the amount in them. All the stats show an exponential growth in autistic children right along with the increased use of mercury containing vaccines. Just because the vaccine makers haven't produced research to show a definite link, and why would they, doesn't mean there isn't a connection. It's like the OJ thing. No definite connection was ever made but most people know he was at least connected to it if not guilty of committing the act. All they have to do to silence the accusations is inject newborns and toddlers with mercury and observe for any side effects. They won't do that research because they know it's not safe.


Myth #4: Vaccines are given too early


This one cannot be called a myth because they are given too early. There is a much less lower risk of adverse reaction with delayed vaccination. We're talking about injecting newborns with mercury, aluminum, animal parts, formaldehyde and much more. You can't tell me that it's not dangerous to do that to a body with little or no immune system to defend itself. It's also safer to break up the shots into single shots and not all at once. MMR is the equivalent of taking 3 different vaccines. It's a lot easier for a young immune system to defend itself against 1 vaccine at a time than 3 to 6.


Myth #5: It's OK to skip certain vaccines if you have safety concerns


This one down right makes me mad. Here's the translation: You don't have a choice parents! Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.........oh yeah.....and...WRONG! This multibillion dollar industry would love for you to believe that you don't have a choice on whether or not you want to all vaccines, a few vaccines, or no vaccines. You always have a choice. These are your kids, not theirs. 2 of my 3 kids have never been vaccinated against anything and my oldest stopped at age 2, and none since. Guess what?! They are all healthier than most of the kids we know. The two that have been adjusted since birth and no vaccines have never had ear infections. My oldest had ear infections all the time before we stopped vaccinating and adjusting him. I"m not saying vaccines cause ear infections. I'm saying when you give the support an immune system needs to be healthy and not drug it the first chance you get, the better it works.


Here are the 3 real myths about vaccines "they" want you to believe:


#1 All vaccines are totally effective
#2 All vaccines are safe
#3 Vaccines are mandatory, you have no choice


I have no problem when my patients tell me that they vaccinated their children. Far be it from me to tell anyone what's best for their kids. All I ask is for parents to make educated decisions.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My question to Dr. MD and Mr. Pharmaceutical

I was searching for ingredients on a supplement I heard someone started taking and realized that the company does not advertise the ingredients on their website. HUGE RED FLAG!!!!! You better know who you are buying your stuff from because no vitamin company has to put in their pills what they say are in the pills! That is my public service announcement for the day...

Anyways, that's not why I'm writing.

As I was scrolling down websites, I clicked on a blog that supposedly had the ingredients listed somewhere. Going down the page to find it, I came across a post that was about why vaccinations are good and why we should continue to "stick to the schedule" to preserve public health. I'm sure you can all hear me rolling my eyes even as I type that.

I couldn't help but think, "What public health?" I don't know what country they live in, but the one I live in is not getting healthier and healthier! We, collectively, are getting sicker and sicker. My question to them is very simple:

Why should we continue to follow down their path if it is not making us healthier?

The medical model we live, and die (ironically), by has been in place for about the last 50 years. The AMA and pharmaceutical companies have brainwashed the public and instilled unnecessary fears in our minds to the point that if we sneeze, we need to take something; if our child's temperature goes up a degree or so, we need to run them to the doctor's office.

A major foundation in our medical model for public health is our vaccinations. A majority of us and our kids have been vaccinated routinely for the past 40+ years. So if they are a key component of us being healthy, then why have we not gotten healthier over the last 40+ years? We are the highest medicated society in the world, so why are we not the healthiest? We have the best doctors and surgeons here, so why do our preventable, chronic, degenerative disorders keep increasing as time goes by?

Does health come externally (medicine, vaccines, etc.) or does it come from within (immune system, proper nutrition, etc.)?

I know that I don't have all the answers to the United States health problems. But looking at the track record of how things are going following their model, I want more for me and, most importantly, my family.

The table is now open for discussion...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Truly Inspirational

As I sit here in my office today answering emails, I came across a forward from my favorite mother in the world. Yes, I know she is my only mother, but she is still my favorite. As long as she tells me I'm her favorite (and only) son, then I can tell her she's my favorite mom.

I was glad to see that it was not a long storybook forward that I have already received a thousand times before. The message was simple "Do not judge a book by its cover," and a link. I noticed it was a YouTube link, so I had no idea what to expect. Once I clicked on the link, I immediately realized that it was an excerpt from the show Britain's Got Talent. Mainly because of the huge billboard that could be seen.

Earlier this morning on the way to work, I caught the tail end of a conversation from good ole' Kidd Kraddick about some lady on a talent show that shocked everyone when she sang. Allegedly, she has only sung for her cats in her house until that moment.

She came out on stage in a very plain outfit and definitely did not have the body that would turn many heads upon entering the room. During the brief interview when she revealed she wanted to become a professional singer, you could actually hear the crowd laughing at such a ludicrous dream for her. Surely, this 47 year-old woman was out of her prime and out of her league. Obviously, this was just another cruel attempt for some producer to have a new butt for their jokes.

From the first note sung, the crowd screamed with applause and the look on the judge's faces were of total shock. I, myself, even thought that this had to be fake somehow. This angelic voice could in no way, shape, or form belong to the woman who stood there on TV. As I sat here listening to the clip, the room must have become very dusty or full of allergens because my eyes began to water. How wrong was I to make preconceived judgements about someone and whether or not they could do something? This 7 minute clip should be a prime example as to why we don't judge people before we know them because sometimes, just sometimes, we might be wrong and miss out on something beautiful.

Please take 7 minutes out of your day to watch this clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What is healthcare?

I was listening to educational stuff this morning when a couple of big questions popped in my head that I thought I should start a dialogue with. For you English nuts, I believe I just ended a sentence with a preposition and I should not. OK.....

What is health care and, for that matter, health insurance?

If I ask that to an audience, someone almost always answers, "It's for when you're sick."

If health care and health insurance is only to be used when you are sick, then where does the health come in? Should it be renamed to sick care and sick insurance?

If most MDs are only trained in sickness, then why do we rely on them to manage our health?

What are you doing to prevent your body from breaking down physically, mentally, or nutritionally?

If we waited for our cars' engines to make funny noises before changing the oil, then how "healthy" would our cars be?

If we waited for a toothache to go to the dentist, then how healthy would our teeth be?

Should I wait until my body breaks down before I choose to seek help? If so, would it cost more money to fix a broken down body or maintain a healthy one?

I really look forward to any comments on this one....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Beef, it's what's for dinner! (cue the music)


Yesterday, when I loaded MSN as I often do, I noticed a story on the front page entitled "Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Lifespan." Then, as I'm sitting at home last night and the evening news comes on I hear the anchor say, "Up next, maybe all that red meat isn't good for you after all." Now I thought I should definitely write about this since the media seems to be freaking out about it.


I find it amusing when a "new study" is published that says exactly what wellness professionals have been saying for a long time and the media acts like it's some new revelation. I saw another article on MSN's front page a couple of days ago that said, "New Study Shows Being Overweight Shortens Lifespan." Of course, my first reaction is, "No way!" in the most sarcastic tone possible.


It is true that too much red meat is not that great for your health. Red meat is pro-inflammatory. In my opinion though, the biggest problem with red meat is all the junk they feed to the cows to bulk them up and fight infections. I'm referring to hormones and antibiotics. This could also lead me into my "We are not cows so we should not drink cows' milk" speech, but I'll save it for another day.


Now before we all denounce beef and all the deliciousness it has to offer, hear me out. Beef is very good for you, but like all things, it should be eaten in moderation. We were created as omnivores, which means we are meant to eat plants and animals. Red meat is very nutritious and contains B vitamins that are very difficult to get and absorb from other places. There are also other essential vitamins and minerals in it as well. Please exercise your googling abilities to check for all its components.


Eating a normal portion of red meat 2 or 3 days a week is moderate enough. The healthier the cow was that gave you your meat, the healthier your meat will be for you. Grass-fed beef is very good, only it has a higher price tag. I am also intrigued with why produce and meats that have cost less to produce cost more in the store. Anyways. I hope this has calmed some fears. Just take it easy and you'll be just fine. Throw in some chicken or fish from time to time (not pork).


As always I look forward to your comments...

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Dr. Rob I think I need a new mattress!"


Today is going to be short and sweet as I know most of you have shorter-than-normal attention spans on Monday mornings. I myself think the weekends are much to short and am never happy to hear the alarm go off early Monday morning.


So, this is a fairly common concern people share with me either before we start care or soon after we start care. Pain in the neck, back, and/or hips in the morning upon waking. The complaint could also be just general tightness. Although in some cases a new mattress would be very beneficial, it is usually not the culprit here.


The biggest problem here is positioning!


Most people do not consider the positions they are sleeping in at night. If you stay in a static (meaning not moving) position for as many as 8 hours, poor positioning of yourself can most definitely either cause problems or aggravate any problems that may already exist. The trick to sleeping correctly is maintaining the most normal alignment for your spine and joints as possible.


The two positions are laying flat on your back or lying on your side with a thin pillow between the knees to prevent them from crossing over and torquing. For a little more comfort on your back, adding a thin pillow behind the knees to cause a slight bend will relax the muscles in the lower back. The worst possible position to sleep in is on your stomach and 1 or both arms above your head. Another big no-no is sleeping on multiple or very thick pillows.


Usually, when my patients correct their sleeping habits, they are able to have more restful sleep and do not wake up with those little aches and pains. This is a much cheaper alternative than buying an expensive mattress. Now sometimes, you just need a new one but most of the time it's the positioning. I know it's hard for some of you to accept it is the user and not the equipment. I have added a photo illustrating proper sleeping positioning to further drive home the point.


As always I look forward to hearing your comments...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Sorry doc. I can't come see you today. I'm sick!"

I normally hear that statement from time to time, but this year it seems as though that phrase is thrown my way much more often. 2 thoughts immediately come to mind. First, why the heck are so many people getting sick this year compared to others? Second, how ironic is it that a patient says they can't come see the doctor because they or their kids are sick?

As I sat in my chair this morning, my mind began to wander. I began to think about the first question in particular. It seems like people are getting sick left and right at a much higher rate than usual. Now, I haven't done any formal research, that is strictly an observation. Why are people, in general, getting sicker and sicker? Why has this past year seem like the worst it's been in a long time? I have a theory with a very simple explanation.

Are you ready? My answer can be given in one word...............STRESS!

I know most of us blow off stress because everyone has it, but this is some really serious stuff. This past year has been filled with nothing but stress for all of us. The economy, the stock market, layoffs, etc. Pick your poison because there's plenty to go around. All this on top of our normal every day stuff we deal with. All of this stress adds up.

Our bodies are designed to cope with stress through the use of certain hormones. Back in the day when we were cruisin' through the forest looking for food and a tiger jumps out, our body should immediately pump out stress hormones that divert blood and oxygen away from your gut and out to your muscles so you can fight off or run away from it. Once you are removed from that situation then your body is supposed to stop producing them and all goes back to normal. Your body is only designed for short term exposure to these hormones.

Fast forward to today. Now we are working 50 to 60 hours a week, paying bills non-stop, helping the kids with homework, coordinating after school activities, maintaining relationships, maintaining our houses and cars, and dealing with all the new problems the bad economy has brought on each of us. Hopefully by now you are seeing how stressed out our bodies are.

So what does that have to do with our health? A LOT!

Our bodies are chronically producing the stress hormones just so we can make it through each day. This spells bad news for several systems in the body. There is definitely too much of a good thing here.

Recently, there was a bandwagon for cortisol with respect to weight loss. Cortisol is one of the main stress hormones in the body. Over exposure to it has a looooooooong list of side effects. It can cause high blood pressure, lead to type 2 diabetes from messing with your bodies ability to regulate blood sugar, cause hormone problems as it interferes with estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, cause trunkal obesity, and depresses the immune system. Those aren't all the side effects, just some of the major ones.

It's funny because that list actually describes the general population and the problems we are seeing more often. Oh yeah, high cholesterol is in there as well.

So let's bring it home. The collective "we" have greatly increased our stress level this past year and one of the first things that most people cut out are those things we do to improve our health. I'm talking about gym memberships, vitamins, and organic fruits and vegetables. So stress levels go up and healthy things go down. Even if we don't stop the normal healthy things we do, the scales are still tipped on the stress side because of all the new stuff.

The more stressed your body is, the easier it is to get sick. Getting sick now costs you more money because you have to take time off work and pay for doctor visits, and pay for medications. Now when the company looks over their list of employees they have to lay off, will they be more inclined to keep someone who uses all their sick days and then some plus all the insurance claims leading to a higher premium to the company, or will they keep the employee who rarely uses their sick time and never goes to the doctor? I'm just trying to be real and not rain on anyone's parade.

It is very important now, more than ever, that you keep your body healthy. You have to find ways to tip the scale back in favor of health to counter balance the stress and its affects.

A lot of my patients have told me that they missed the flu while the rest of their family passed it around. Some that did get sick have told me they only felt the affects for a day or so while others were down for a week or two. It's no accident that people under regular chiropractic care get sick less often. Your immune system is a direct extension of the nervous system and there is no point where one ends and the other begins.

The theme here is if you do not incorporate changes to your lifestyle to counterbalance the stress in your life, you will begin to experience a downward spiral of health. Be sure to drink at least 1 quart of water a day for every 50 pounds of body weight, eat your fruits and vegetables, do some type of exercise continuous for at least 20 minutes, and by all means get adjusted from time to time.

As always I look forward to your comments....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We are all insane!!!

I was thinking this morning about how often I hear people complaining about how the medicine they take causes other problems in their body, or how it seems like taking medications only lead to taking more medications, or how the medicines they take don't really fix any problems but just address symptoms. Then it hit me - we are all insane.

Why do I say this? What could I possibly be talking about?

A definition of "insane" is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. This means you cannot take the same approach with a situation and expect anything other than the same end result.

So what does this have to do with medicine?

I had a patient tell me that they were tired of taking their child to the doctor every time they got sick because all they did was talk for a couple of minutes, look in their nose, look in their ear, and write a prescription for an antibiotic. So I immediately respond with "Well what did you expect him to do?" I think this kind of surprised them because they looked surprised. I wasn't trying to be rude, but I did want to raise their awareness to their approach. Even though this parent did not want more meds for their child, they still sought the advice from someone who is only trained to give more meds.

Medical doctors are trained in sickness and how to treat conditions with medications. That's it. They aren't trained in nutrition, they aren't trained in vitamins and herbs, and they aren't trained to strengthen immune systems or improve wellness. A few doctors do take the initiative to learn independently on these topics, but as a whole they are not taught this in school.
So, back to the question I asked before. Why do we expect something different when we visit the MD? If your back hurts or you have headaches, why would you go to see an MD if you really don't want to take drugs or have surgery? That is all they have to offer. If a conservative approach is what you seek, then a conservative practitioner is where you must go.

I get it all the time when someone says they have been having back problems and it's really starting to get worse. They don't want drugs or surgery but they want to go see their MD before they do anything else. Guess what I find out next time I talk to them? They were only offered the solution of drugs or surgery and occasionally physical therapy.

Now I am not telling you that your family physician is the devil and you should run away from him/her. MDs are very important when they are needed. Medicine is very important when it is used properly. For the general population however, most problems we experience can be handled conservatively. And by that, I mean without drugs and surgery.

Take my nutritional counseling program I offer for instance. I use blood tests to see exactly what is out of balance in your body nutritionally. The panel I run is more comprehensive than anything I have seen brought in by my patients that their MD ran. The reason is because, as a chiropractor, I know that everything is connected, which means problems in one area can cause problems in another or just because one area looks good doesn't mean the whole is good. I want to see pretty much the entire picture of your body. Based on the findings, we come up with a specific regimen of supplements for about 2 months, then we retest and compare. You wouldn't believe the results we see when we just give the body what it needs and see what it can do with it. I encourage you to check out some of the case studies on my website at http://www.back2healthwellness.com/.

If you live in the Dallas area, then I would love to be your portal to more conservative treatment. If not, I am willing to at least help you find someone in your area that can help you. More than likely you are going to have to take the initiative to go a conservative route because MDs aren't trained conservatively so they simply don't know how to refer you properly.

Sorry, I got off track there for a second.

I think part of the problem is that we have been brainwashed to think that most of the body's normal immune responses to sickness or infections are bad. If you get a fever, you better kill it. If you start coughing, you better stop it. If your nose starts making a bunch of snot, you better dry it up. These are all normal healthy responses to fighting, killing, and removing infections from your body. It drives me up the wall how some parents stop their child's immune system from killing an infection normally and then wonder why they are sick all the time.

For this I use the analogy of a weight lifter. When a child is born, his/her immune system is a scrawny, weak little thing. In order for it to get stronger, it has to work out (fight infections). Which leads to a very crazy thought that IT'S OK FOR YOUR KIDS TO GET SICK! That is the only way for their immune system to get stronger so they don't keep getting sick. Back to the analogy. Let's say you are going to start working out to get stronger. You start with very light weights to warm up. Now it's time to start adding more weight to build those muscles. As soon as the weight feels a little bit heavy, Mr. Universe comes running in and grabs the weight and does the reps for you. Every single time it even gets the least bit heavy, he comes running in.

Now how strong do you think you are going to get if your muscles never get stressed? If someone is always lifting the bar for you, don't you see how this does nothing for building stronger muscles. They have to be stressed and broken down in order to build more muscle and get stronger. The exact same thing is true for your immune system. If every time your immune system is stressed you start drinking NyQuil or popping pills to break fevers, then you are not allowing your immune system to complete its workout. You are preventing it from getting stronger, or at least delaying its ability to get stronger.

I say all this to raise your awareness. I am guilty of all the same things as you. I have to fight the same tendencies as you. Most of us consider ourselves "healthy" because we minimize our problems probably as a natural coping mechanism. Use a little sanity next time your health is stressed. At minimum, don't tell yourself you don't want to take medicine or have surgery and only consult a physician who can offer those solutions.

I look forward to reading your comments....

Monday, February 2, 2009

Part 4: This is the big finally!

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! I know you have been eagerly awaiting my final installment on "What is Chiropractic?" and why it is so important for you. So here we are. I must admit I have really enjoyed writing on this subject. I think it's always good to refresh yourself on why you do what you do and how you are able to impact others. So without further delay, here we go!

A very quick recap on what we have already talked about:
1. We were designed to be self-healing and self-regulating organisms
2. We have an innate intelligence within our body to tell it what to do and when to do it
3. The nervous system is the master system within the body through which our life is expressed

This brings us all the way down to 4 which is there is a condition known as a subluxation, or misalignment, which puts pressure on the nerves and interferes with your nervous system diminishing your body's ability to express life. So what does that mean?

As I explained in an earlier post, every single cell, tissue, and organ within the body is hooked up to the nervous system in some form or fashion. Your brain is in constant communication with these areas or at least it should be. I like to think of the nerves as telephone lines or computer wires used to transfer information back and forth. Some of you may have heard it described as the brain/body connection. It is absolutely essential for this connection to be maintained in order for you to live a normal healthy life.

Now before I go on, I feel I need to restate that the definition of health is NOT the absence of sickness. If you are assuming you are healthy because you are not sick right now, then you are on a very slippery slope down that will lead to bigger problems later on. Not doing anything to always improve your health is like a couple who never communicates or does things to improve their marriage and assume things are OK because no one is complaining right now. How long will that relationship last, and how good do you think that marriage would be? Your health is the exact same way. The definition of health is your body functioning at its optimal level physically, nutritionally, and psychologically/emotionally and not the absence of symptoms or sickness. That means health is trying to reach as close to 100% function in all 3 of those areas.
Your health is equal to how well your body/organs/tissues/cells are functioning. Your symptoms are merely a warning sign that things have gotten so bad your body wants to bring it to your attention.

So back to the subluxation....

How do we get these subluxations? Well, there are 3 stressors that can cause a subluxation within the body. These are physical, chemical, and emotional stressors. Most people only focus on the physical aspect with regards to chiropractic but the other two are equally important as well. This falls in line with the "everything is connected" concept. Nothing in your body is in its own little box so if something bad happens to it, no other part of the body is affected. Any stress in any part of the body causes stress in another part of the body.

The most common physical stresses we think of is car accidents or major sports injuries. Yes these are very stressful to the body but I think they are less than the years of small physical stresses built up over time. Things like sitting in front of a computer all day, everyday, sleeping on your stomach, carrying a backpack full of books or a purse on one shoulder, or poor posture. It's the little things that we do everyday that we don't think about that add up over time that get most of us. Sure some people have been in major car accidents or whatever but most people have not.

I find it funny when patients come in the office because probably 70% of the time the space for previous car accidents is left blank. In my consultation, about 90% of those people have been in car accidents they just didn't think it was a big deal. According to research, a 5 mph fender bender can be enough of an impact to cause problems in the spine. Just think about two 2500 pound vehicles colliding. Your body has to absorb some of that impact because of inertia if nothing else. Research has also shown that it only takes pressure equal to the weight of a dime to impede neurological impulses, or messages being sent through the nerves. It doesn't take much.

I've also been told, "Well, I went to the hospital, they took X-rays, and they said I was fine." First off, they aren't looking for alignment at the hospital. The "you're fine" can be translated into "We didn't see any broken bones or tumors." Secondly, X-rays can only show bones and not soft tissue damage. Lastly, the rad techs and even doctors at the hospital are not trained in chiropractic and assessing alignment of the spine and its importance.

A very important physical stressor that is almost always overlooked is the birthing process. Yes being forced through the birth canal is stressful on the baby and not just the mommy. Not only is the process stressful, but you have some guy waiting to pull and twist your head and neck as soon as it's visible. This is done to an infant that doesn't even have the strength to hold up its own head. The big reason we don't think about this is because the baby doesn't come out yelling "I hate you!" or "See what you've done to me!" or "Let me pull and twist your neck around doc and see how you like it!" To help you make the connection here, yes I do suggest children get checked for misalignments regularly.

So let's move on to chemical stressors. This can mean a lot of things. How about not drinking enough water and too much of everything else. When I say drinking water, I mean only water and not tea, Propel, or whatever else you substitute for water. In Texas, you should be drinking about a quart for every 50 pounds everyday. Water is required for cells to carry out their normal functions and dehydration causes them to be sick and eventually die. Eating processed foods is another in the negative column. If you read the ingredients and can't pronounce the words, then it's probably synthetic and not good for your body.

Another poison for our body is medicine. This includes both perscription and OTC meds. Yep, that's right. None of it is good for your body. That is why they are taken in dosages and come with a very long list of side effects. There is NO such thing as safe medication. Do a little digging and you'll find out that more people die from adverse reactions to Tylenol than AIDS each year in the US. We're talking thousands of people taking Tylenol the way it is meant to be taken and end up dead. We don't get headaches because God didn't put enough aspirin in us when we were created, and we don't get acid reflux because we were born with a deficiency in the purple pill.

The last stressor I would like to talk about is psychological or emotional stressors. As you are sitting there reading this take a second and think of someone or something that ticks you off for a second. Just thinking about it you can start to feel your blood pressure rise and your muscles tense up. Now I want you to stop and think of something that makes you very happy. Almost immediately you can feel your body start to calm down and relax. This very quick exercise is a very good method to see how what you think about can affect your overall body. In fact, one of the newest areas of research is called psychoneuroimmunology. That is a fancy word that means your immune system is intertwined with your ability to function neurologically (brain & nerves) and psychologically. So that means if something negative is hurting one area, then the other areas are affected negatively as well.

Sometimes you hear chiros claiming to heal or cure everything under the sun. This simply is not true. We don't heal or cure anything. Only your body can heal itself the way God designed it to. However, chiropractic adjustments do promote healing because we improve the body's ability to function neurologically. The adjustments act as a facilitator. Again, I am not claiming to cure anything. All I'm saying is we help the body function better which allows it to take care of itself the better the way it was designed to. There are special circumstances where too much damage has been done and the body requires help. A sneeze or cough does not fall under that category by the way.

Anywho. I hope you have learned something from my 4 part series and understand a little better what we chiropractors are about. If you're wondering whether or not you and your whole family need to see a chiropractor, then the answer is "Yes!" Taking care of your spine is more important than brushing your teeth because teeth can be replaced. It's also just as important as eating healthy or exercising regularly.

Friday, January 16, 2009

This Is HUGE!!!!

I was browsing the health and fitness section of MSN this morning when I noticed this title on the front page: "Cholesterol Levels May Not Measure Cardiac Risk." When I read that, I assumed it was some article being sarcastic. Surely no one actually paid for a study that would discredit a multi-billion dollar industry like lowering cholesterol. By golly, that's exactly what someone has done.

Before I get into this, I would just like to state that I and many of my chiropractor colleagues across this nation have been making that statement for a long time. Not in those exact words, but I tell my patients that no one has ever died of high cholesterol. Many people who I treat for peripheral neuropathy are on cholesterol lowering medications because they don't fit into the box that "Mr. Pharmaceutical" has created. Obviously having very high levels of the "bad" cholesterol is not healthy and there are natural ways to lower cholesterol.

These guidelines they keep coming out with to give doctors on who should be on cholesterol meds is almost a joke. Basically, if you are over 40 and have blood they are recommending the meds. Even if you are normal and anyone in your family has suffered from heart disease, then you are likely to receive a script for it for "prevention". Taking medicine is not prevention! Do not be mistaken. All medicine is toxic to our bodies. Prevention is eating healthy, exercising, getting adjusted regularly, drinking water, anything that helps your body achieve optimal health by functioning at it's highest level physically, nutritionally, and emotionally.

If you're thinking, "But what about in emergencies or crisises?" Yes, in those emergency situations medicine is super because it prevents the alternative. That is what medicine was designed for. I'm talking about chronic conditions. If you take medicine for anything you have 2 problems instead of 1. First, you still have the problem you are taking the medication for because it doesn't fix problems, it only covers up symptoms. Second, you get a very long list of side effects to come along with it. Which by the way, will lead to more medication later on down the road.

Back to the article! This is not just some obscure article in an unknown journal. This article is appearing in the current issue of the American Heart Journal. It says that in their nationwide study (not the insurance company) they found that nearly 75% of those individuals treated for heart attacks had cholesterol levels that would suggest they were not at high risk for cardiovascular trouble. It goes on to say that this information might require doctors to reevaluate their current recommendations for prescribing statins.

I just had a scary thought. What if instead of using common sense and saying, "Hey, maybe we were wrong and cholesterol levels aren't as important as we thought," they did the complete opposite and decided that there box to fit people in is even smaller. So instead of recommending cholesterol lowering medications for those with LDL 130 and above, they change their guidelines to say now we think everyone with LDL 100 and above should take it.

I am very interested to see what comes of this. Will it get swept under the rug? Will it lower the amount of statins prescribed? Will guidelines get changed? Will nothing change? Only time will tell. Until then, I'll just keep on caring for my patients and try to make this world a little healthier one body at a time.

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's Electric! Boogie woogie, woogie!


Now, today I will teach you about the "Electric Slide." This is a super fun line dance that can be used at almost any party to break the ice and get people on the dance floor. If you aren't a good dancer, that's even better. Learning these few steps can quickly raise your dance floor cred to a higher level.
Just Kidding!!!! Haha

I'm not really going to be teaching you a dance move. I am using this title because today I will be talking about the most important system in our body, the Nervous System. Now that is one thing that chiropractors and RDs (regular doctors) can absolutely agree on. Remember we first talked about how we were designed to be self-healing, self-regulating organisms. Then I taught you that our bodies were also created with an innate intelligence so it knew what to do and when to do it without us telling it to. Now we are moving on to how we are able to express life and how this innate intelligence tells our cells, tissues, and organs what to do.

Now let's all close our eyes and go back to biology class in middle school or high school, depending on how good your memory is, and remember sex ed. class. For most of us, we start out with 1 mama cell and 1 daddy cell which come together and form the baby cell. That baby cell immediately begins to divide. The 1 becomes 2, the 2 becomes 4, the 4 becomes 8, and so on and so on. After a couple of weeks of cellular division, the body is ready to start creating it's systems. The very first system formed during the development of the baby is your central nervous system (CNS). So what's the big deal with that???

Well, it's only THE most important system within the entire however many trillions of cells that make up our body. Your CNS acts as the computer system for the body. In fact, every single cell, tissue, and organ in the body is connected to the CNS. It is estimated that our brain receives and processes about 28 billion messages a day. Now that is a lot of email! My tiny consciousness can't even begin to comprehend sending and receiving that many messages at all, let alone in a single day.

Once your CNS is formed then the rest of your ogan and tissue systems are formed under its control. It is so important that it is the only system almost entirely enclosed in bone. The skull protects the brain, and the vertebrae (spine) protect the spinal cord. I hope you are beginning to get a sense of how important your CNS is to life.
I often here about the necessities in life being food, air, water, and shelter, but we can't stop there. Your nervous system is a requirement for life as well. You can survive weeks without food, days without water, and minutes without a heart. However, the instant your brain is dead, so goes you. In coma patients, there is always hope for life until the brain is dead. Once your nervous system goes, that's it. I often wonder why biology classes and the medical community in general does not try to educate the public more on a healthy nervous system. Especially with information we now have from research.
Did you know that your immune system is now considered to be a circulating extension of your nervous sytem? About 50 years ago, doctors said there is no connection between the immune system and the nervous system. In the 70's, they came back with new research and changed their stance to say there MIGHT be a connection between the immune system and the nervous system. Again in the late 80'2 or early 90's, they changed their mind again and said that there IS a connection between the immune system and the nervous system. Finally, around the year 2000 they stated that research shows there is no distinction between where the nervous system ends and the immune system begins because the two are intertwined.
This is what chiropractors have been saying since 1895 when the first patient was adjusted because of hearing loss. Did you catch that I said hearing loss and not neck pain??? If you have a healthy nervous system, then you are giving your body the best chance at being healthy as well. Granted you need more than that as true health comes in a trinity: physical, nutritional, and emotional/psychological. We'll talk about that later.
Everything that makes you who you are is because of the nervous system. All five of your senses and the reaction you make to those senses being stimulated are governed by your CNS. Your thoughts and feelings, the ability to love and laugh, and the ability to wave a finger at someone who just cut you off on the highway is all made possible through the CNS. A poorly functioning nervous system, leads to poorly functioning tissues, which leads to sickness and disease of those tissues, which leads to symptoms.
Here's a big clue to your health and I bet most of you just read through it without even noticing. Your symptoms are always the last to show up, and they only show up after tissue(s) have become damaged or are functioning poorly. I am VERY confused why we choose to govern our health by the presence or absence of symptoms. Maybe because the multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry only has the ability to patent and affect that. Living this way is like deciding whether or not you are wealthy because you aren't just poor. Or you are filled with joy because you are just not sad. Or you are a 10 because you are just not ugly.
The only reason we have symptoms is because we allow our bodies to lose its ability to function to the point it loses its ability to compensate and has no other choice but to send us a signal to let you know what your are doing ain't working or the stress is more than it can handle. If you stimulate the nervous system and improve its ability to function, then these tissues can start healing. The first sign of the healing process is the reduction or the resolution of the symptoms because functioning of that area is being improved. But the healing doesn't stop there, that's when it is just beginning! The more regularly you work on it, the more "in shape" it becomes, and the higher your potential for health goes up.

There was actually an MD by the name of Henry Windsor who tried to disprove our theory in chiropractic. He wanted to show the world that these crazy quacks didn't know what they were talking about. He decided to get 200 cadavers and perform autopsies on them. First, he found the diseased organ in the body. Second, he found the nerve that was innervating that organ and traced it all the way back to the spine so he could, once and for all, show that the health of the spine had no connection to the diseased organ. Much to his surprise, we were RIGHT! Not only did degeneration of the spines corrolate with the diseased organs, but he also found that the more diseased the spine was, the more the organ was as well.
The earlier you can switch your thinking from "health = # of symptoms" to "health = how well I am functioning," the better off you will be. The number of medications we consume increases each year. If medications helped us get healthy, then wouldn't we be the healthiest nation in the world??? Do some of your own research, and you will find that is very far from the truth. I often here people complain about having to spend $50 or $60 a month on basic vitamins to improve their health. Go ask senior citizens how much they spend on perscriptions every month and doctor bills total. That can easily top $400 to $500 per month.
What about quality of life? Who do you think has a higher quality of life? Someone taking 4 or 5 different vitamins everyday or someone who has to take 4 or 5 medications? Obviously there are some conditions which do require medication. But a vast majority of these chronic conditions could be prevented with attention to a healthy body.
So what's my point??? A healthy body starts with a healthy CNS that tells the cells, tissues, and organs how to work, AND directs any nutrients/vitamins you take where to go.
I realize this post was pretty long, but I have not even begun to scratch the surface on the nervous system, how important it is, what it does for us, and a wider range of other topics that could be addressed in more detail at a later date and time. Today I will leave you with the wise words of a man most people know. His name is Thomas Jefferson. One of his most famous quotes is as follows:
"The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."