WHAT SUPPLEMENTS SHOULD I TAKE?

For those of you that know me, you know that I am a huge believer in taking high quality supplements. However, supplements are not for everyone. What I mean by that is supplements are not the place to start your health journey. Before we add anything to our routine or diet, we first need to look at what to take away. For example, if you are stopping by McDonald’s for lunch everyday, you shouldn’t be thinking about adding fish oil to your diet, you should first look at removing these unhealthy habits.

Before I recommend a supplement to someone, I make sure have consistently been meeting the following minimum criteria:

DRINKING ENOUGH WATER

Drinking enough water is arguably the most beneficial things that most of us can do. Americans are severely and chronically dehydrated! 80% of american report that they do not drink enough water. In fact, the average american drinks only 1.5 cups of water per day. Did you know that one of the first signs of dehydration is joint pain? Water is super important to normal human function. This is why water represents 60% of our body’s makeup.

EATING A MODERATELY HEALTHY DIET

Diet and eating habits are crucial to baseline health. Before we look at adding any kind of supplements we should look at how we can modify our diets to best serve us. Bottom line, most of us consume to many processed foods and way to many carbohydrates and sugar. The problem is that most of us are unaware of what our diets actually look like. I always recommend tracking your food intake over a two-week span. Only then can we honestly evaluate our current diet and execute proper strategies to make changes. There are so many amazing food tracking apps available to make this easier than ever.

Don’t over think this. If you google “best diet” you will find thousands of diets all claiming to be the one for you. And all of this information will contradict other information you read. Keep it simple. Avoid processed foods and sugars and eat high quality meats and vegetables.

DAILY EXERCISE

The last, and probably most obvious thing that we need to talk about is exercise. Exercise is a crucial part of our overall health. I have not found a single person that will debate this with me. However, a CDC study released last year found that only 22.9% of american adults are getting enough exercise. The standards for enough exercise in this study was “150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week”. Maybe 150 minutes seems like a lot to you, but that comes out to 30 minutes 5 days per week. What that could look like for you is coming downtown and walking your dog along the water for 30 minutes. It doesn’t have to be SoulCycle and CrossFit (although I do think those programs are awesome). In order to be consistent with exercise you need to find something that you enjoy doing. Experiment and try new things until you find something that fits.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Why do I recommend this? Let’s look at each of the things on that list. All of the things I listed above are essentially free and easy. I am a firm believer that if you are not willing to consistently do things that are free and easy, you will not do things that are costly and require effort. Until you are able to do these things consistently do not waste your time and money on purchasing supplements. Maybe this is the realist in me coming out, but it’s just human nature.

But, if you have taken a look at your life and removed obviously unhealthy habits, and consistently done the things I mentioned above, adding the right, high-quality supplements to your diet could be hugely beneficial.

Arizona's Current Bill to Help Fight Opioid Addicition - SB 1097

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

Drug abuse and addiction is a major issue in our country today. From 1999-2017, 700,000 Americans died from drug overdose. One area that is particularly alarming is the current abuse and addiction of opioid pain medication. In 2017 alone, over 47,000 Americans died from opioid drug overdose. Currently, it is estimated that 130 Americans die every day from opioid drug overdose. Needless to say, opioid overdose and addiction is a major issue that needs to be addressed. The state of Arizona is currently trying to combat this issue by adding chiropractic benefits to medicaid insurance.

WHAT IS SB 1097?

SB 1097 is a senate bill that would allow patients covered under Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) to get a prescription from a primary care physician for 20 visits per year. This benefit would be for those suffering from acute or chronic pain and would serve as an alternative to opioid pain medication. 20 visits per year is a great start and may serve a majority of acute cases, but some patients suffering from chronic pain may require additional visits. Arizona is thinking ahead and has added the caveat of providing additional visits at the patients discretion.

DO OTHER STATES OFFER THESE BENEFITS?

The idea of adding chiropractic care to decrease opioid pain prescriptions, and ultimately opioid pain abuse and overdose, is not a new concept. In fact, over 27 states offer chiropractic coverage under their version of medicaid. One of the best examples is Rhode Island. A study was done after Rhode Island implemented chiropractic coverage in their state’s version of medicaid. The results were absolutely mind blowing. First, they saw a 36% decrease in per-patient costs. This shows that while chiropractic care my involve more frequent visits, the total cost on the healthcare system is dramatically lower. Even more astonishing was that opioid pain use decreased by 87%! This is one of the clearest cases that proves how effective chiropractic care is at decreasing and eliminating pain. Lastly, they saw that opioid pain prescriptions decreased by 72%. All of these results compare those that utilized chiropractic care to those that did not (control group). Imagine the amazing results we would see with higher participation levels.

HOW MUCH WILL THIS COST THE STATE OF ARIZONA?

It is estimated that adding these benefits would cost the state $4.9 million. But overall, this avenue is expected to decrease overall spending of Arizona’s version of medicaid. If we look to the Rhode Island case study, we can expect to see up to a 36% decrease in overall costs. However, this relies on program participation.

KILLING TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE

This is an amazingly creative way for Arizona to fight two issues at once: healthcare costs and opioid pain medication abuse. It is amazing to think that expanding coverage and adding benefits could, not only give patients more options when facing chronic or acute pain, but could also fight two of the biggest problems facing our healthcare system today.

FINAL THOUGHTS

In my personal practice, I have witnessed first-hand the affects that just 20 principle chiropractic visits can have on a persons life. From my experience, patients that come in with a long time opioid prescription do not want to be on these medications. They are simply on these medications because they have not been offered an alternative method for controlling their pain. When I say chiropractic care saves lives, this is what I am talking about. Every single day, chiropractors all over the world help patients control and eliminate pain where the only alternative given was opioid pain medication.

The Movement is here. People are beginning to catch wind of the amazing benefits that chiropractic care can have on our communities. If you have chronic or acute pain and feel as though there are no alternatives to pain medication, or if you have accepted that nothing can help your pain, call a local chiropractor today.

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THE TRUTH ABOUT OPIOID PAIN MEDICATION

Let's start with the stats:

45 people die every day from opioid overdose. That's 16,425 people per year! And for every death, 30 people are admitted to the emergency room due to these drugs. That's nearly 500,000 people per year!

You would think these stats would cause health care providers to look elsewhere to help their patients. This could not be further from the truth! In the past decade, opioid prescriptions have climbed 300% and continue to rise. 

A scary fact? 1 in 10 teens admit to abusing prescription drugs. Most teens report that they believe taking prescription pain killers is safer than illegal street drugs. This also could not be further from the truth. A drug called Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin. In 2007, this drug alone was responsible for over 1,000 deaths. 

Have you heard the term gateway drug? The drug that most fits the bill is opioid prescription drugs. 86% of heroin users report using opioid prescription drugs prior to trying heroin. This is becoming far too common. The typical story goes: a doctor prescribes these drugs, the drugs run out, and then the newly dependent user looks for other ways to achieve the high. To be blunt, doctors that are liberal with prescribing opioid pain medication create heroin users. 

Let's talk about pain. Pain is often looked at as the "bad guy", but it should be celebrated as the true hero. You can think of pain as your body's alarm system. Pain is your body's way of saying, "something is wrong! We need to pay attention!" 

Imagine you are asleep in your bed at night. All of the sudden your smoke detector goes off. You would never walk through your smoke filled house to the smoke detector, take the battery out, and go back to sleep. This sounds obvious to us, but in reality, this is what we are doing every time we take pain medication. In this analogy, our bodies are the smoke filled house and the smoke detector is pain. 

Of course there is a time and place for these medications. I am not saying that we should live in pain, but (in most cases) there are better ways to handle it. Numerous studies have shown chiropractic to be very effective at managing chronic pain. In addition, chiropractic lacks all the negative side effective associated with prescription pain medication. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic pain, share this information with them!

I CAN WALK WITHOUT LOOKING AT MY FEET

Joints are one of the most neurologically dense structures in the human body. They are littered with nerve endings with the sole purpose of detecting motion and sending this information to the brain. These specific types of nerves are called mechanoreceptors and are vital to our everyday function. 

Can you walk without looking at your feet? Can you type without watching your fingers strike the keyboard? Can you operate the gas and brake pedal without having to look down to coordinate the movement? The answer to all of these questions is yes. This is due to the stimulation of mechanoreceptors in the joint. These mechanoreceptors are stimulated by motion and send this information to the brain to be interpreted. This is a special function in the body and is called PROPRIOCEPTION. PROPRIOCEPTION is a special sense that most people are unaware of. This sense (through the proper function of mechanoreceptors) allows us to know where our body parts are at any given time. 

What if you were to lose the sense of PROPRIOCEPTION? Imagine not being able to know where your feet were without looking at them. The only way you would be able to walk is by constantly looking down at your feet. The second you look up, the ability to coordinate this movement would be lost and would result in a fall or trip.

Is it possible to lose the sense of PROPRIOCEPTION? A global loss of PROPRIOCEPTION is very unlikely. However, diminished PROPRIOCEPTION localized to specific joints is very common. These mechanoreceptors that signal the brain that motion is occurring are dependent on joint motion. In other word, a joint must be able to move to signal the brain that motion is occurring. If a joint is fixated or "stuck" you are unable to coordinate movement effectively. The solution to this problem is very simple, get that joint moving again! 

It is for this very reason that all elite athletes utilize chiropractic care. Chiropractors focus on proper motion of the joints which in turn results in better coordination of movement. If you are Tom Brady, Michael Phelps, or Steph Curry, it is very important that you get the best quality of motion not only for peak performance, but for injury prevention as well. 

"That sounds great, but I'm not an elite athlete. I have a desk job."

Chiropractic care is not just for athletes. Imagine this sense of PROPRIOCEPTION in the elderly population. Coordination of movement in the elderly is arguably more vital than it is in elite athletes (At least the stakes are higher). Falls are the leading cause of death in people age 65 and older. In 2014, injuries resulting from a fall cost the health care system $31 billion. And as this population increases, this number is expected to double to over $60 billion by the year 2020. 

Chiropractors aim to keep joints mobile which significantly reduces the risk of a fall. When a joint is free to move, information floods the brain and increases the ability to coordinate movement.

In addition to this benefit, new research is emerging from a researcher named Norman Doidge. Norman Doide is the world's leading expert on neuroplasticity. His research found that when proprioceptive information floods the brain, it also stimulates the association pathways which leads to an increase in all senses. This means that a chiropractic adjustment causes better vision, hearing, and increased sensation of touch, taste, and smell. In other words, chiropractic allows you to perceive the world around you at a higher level.

And you thought chiropractors were for back pain...

 

LOOK WELL TO THE SPINE FOR THE CAUSE OF ALL DISEASE
— HIPPOCRATES

MY CHIROPRACTIC STORY

I wish I could say that I was a "chiro baby" that was adjusted minutes after birth, but my chiropractic journey started much later. I was a freshmen in high school when I injured my left hip playing football. It wasn't a "cool" injury where I got hurt making the game scoring touchdown or the game saving tackle. In fact, it wasn't even during a game. It happened during practice.

We were doing a conditioning drill called bear crawls. This is a challenging exercise where you run as fast as you can on all fours. On this particular day everyone had to make it across the finish line under a certain time or everyone would have to do it again. Obviously, I was inspired by my desire to not let my team mates down and was giving 100%. About half way through the drill, I felt a severe pain in my left hip, and I went down. The whole team (including myself) had to do the drill again because I couldn't finish in time. We did this about 10 more times before the coaches dismissed us for the day. 

For the next two weeks my hip was bothering me quite a bit. But then it started to feel better. The pain was no longer constant, but would bother me at some point every day. It was 2 months after the original injury that the pain began to worsen. My mother took me to see my primary care physician and she ordered an MRI to see what was going on. The MRI came back with clear reports stating that, as far as they could tell, there was no reason that I should be in that much pain. My primary care physician wrote a referral to a physical therapist.

For the next year I would go to the physical therapist weekly. I would walk in and I would hobble out. My hip was getting worse. It got to the point where my leg would give out randomly multiple times per day. I was no longer able to participate in sports (which to my high school self was the end of the world). 

One day my mother woke up with severe neck pain. She was supposed to leave for an international trip a few days later and was willing to try anything to get relief so she could enjoy her trip. A friend of her's recommended her to a chiropractor. Dr. Judith Wilson, owner of Wilson Chiropractic in Benicia, CA. My mother went every day leading up to her trip and by the time she left, was 100% out of pain. My mother continued care for several months before mentioning to Dr. Wilson, "My son has hip pain. Can you help with that?" To which Dr. Wilson responded, "Bring him in and we will see what we can do."

The next day I was in her office. It was the first time I had ever heard of or been to a chiropractor. She explained everything to me and, to be honest, I didn't understand it at all. But I was willing to try anything. She brought me back to an adjusting room and gave me my first chiropractic adjustment. The following day, my hip still hurt, but my leg did not give out one time. Over the course of about 8 visits my hip pain went away completely. That's when I knew I wanted to study to be a chiropractor. What could be better than helping people overcome ailments that they had accepted they would have to live with for the rest of their lives? I was in.

That was the beginning of my chiropractic story, but my passion only grew once starting chiropractic school. I had no clue how many different techniques and styles of chiropractic there was. I had never heard the amazing history behind the profession. I had never heard or read the 33 principles of chiropractic which is the philosophy surrounding the profession. It was no longer about neck and back pain. It was about total human optimization. Chiropractic became equal parts art, science, and philosophy. 

Chiropractic is more than my business or my job; it is my passion. My passion is to make our community a healthier place. I want to bring chiropractic to the forefront and teach people that chiropractic is more than a last resort or limited to neck and back pain. I want to eliminate the phrase, "no one told me chiropractic was an option." 

My chiropractic story continues to this day. The amazing results and testimonials we get in this office are indicators that we are on the right path. Slowly we are making our community a healthier place. We will continue to educate and inspire this community about proactive, preventative health care with the goal of reaching critical mass. 

Help us reach critical mass by sharing this information with someone you know. 

 

You never know how far reaching something you think, say, or do will effect the lives of millions tomorrow
— B.J. Palmer

STRESS

Our heart beats. Our lungs breath. Our pupils dilate. Our mouth salivates. Our stomach digests. Our tissues heal. Our cells recycle. Our eyes tear. Our brow sweats. 

What do all of these things have in common? These are all things that we do not have conscious control over. These functions (just to mention a few) are under control of what we call the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system acts unconsciously to regulate bodily functions. The autonomic nervous system is divided into two main divisions: sympathetic and parasympathetic. 

The parasympathetic nervous system could be looked at as the "rest and repair" part of the nervous system. This is generally the dominant part of our nervous system during "ordinary" situations. It is responsible for digesting food and harvesting the nutrients from this food to repair and build tissues. During this time, heart rate is slowed and blood pressure is lowered to conserve energy. 

The sympathetic nervous system is commonly described as the "fight or flight" part of the nervous system. This means that it prepares the body for stressful and emergency situations. Imagine you open the door to your room and you see a giant grizzly bear lying on your bed. Most of us will be overcome by the feeling of fear and focused on surviving the situation. Naturally, our body will do a number of things to "prep" itself to ensure survival. A few of these things include pupil dilation, increased heart rate, increased force of heart contractions, widened blood vessels, dilated airways, release of stored energy, sweating of palms, and increased muscular strength. All of these things increase your ability to survive this experience. 

The odds of you walking into your room and confronting a grizzly bear is very unlikely. However, the leading cause of sympathetic dominance today is stress. Most of us encounter stress multiple times of day whether it be a difficult conversation you have to have, running late to work, working against a deadline, or finances. These situations put you in "survival mode". Now your ability to problem solve or be creative are diminished which only leads to more stress. 

Another draw back of sympathetic dominance is the heavy release of a hormone called cortisol. While cortisol does have an important role to play in proper function of the human body, chronically elevated cortisol levels leads to a number of health concerns such as decreased quality of sleep, suppressed immune system, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, reduced libido, and increased insulin resistance which can lead to type 2 diabetes. 

Principled and regular chiropractic care has been proven to decrease sympathetic dominance which has a number of benefits such as lowering blood pressure, increasing quality of sleep, increasing immune system function, increasing problem solving, and increasing creative expression. 

Don't wait until a symptom appears to take control of your health. Get checked by a local chiropractor to ensure that your body is functioning at the highest level possible.

 

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CHIROPRACTIC AND IMMUNE SYSTEM FUNCTION

It is very interesting to look back on the history of health care and, in particular, chiropractic. Today when people think of chiropractic care they automatically think of management for back and neck pain. In fact, until very recently back pain made up only a small percentage of chiropractic patients. A majority of chiropractic patients into the 1950s were seeking care for infectious diseases. If you talk to an "old school" chiropractor that was practicing during this time, they would tell you that they were focused on treating patients with Polio. It was clear that chiropractic care increased the function of the immune system, but the mechanism for this was not well understood until very recently (1997). 

While in chiropractic school I read a book entitled "Flu" by Gina Kolata. This book documented the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. This book states that the Spanish Flu was the largest epidemic in all of recorded history. In fact, over the course of just 6 months, 100 million people lost their lives as a result of this virus. To put that into perspective, that is more people than were killed in all of history's recorded wars, COMBINED!

During this time chiropractic was still in it's infancy. The first chiropractic adjustment was given in 1895 making chiropractic around 20 years old at the time of this outbreak. However, Doctors of Chiropractic stood up to this large task at hand and took care of those infected. What they found was those that chose chiropractic management had 1/40th the death rate compared to those that chose allopathic, drug management. It is for this reason that chiropractors were licensed. It is very interesting that chiropractors were licensed due to their ability to manage infectious diseases such as the Spanish Flu. 

So how exactly does a chiropractic adjustment increase the efficiency of the immune system? In 1997 a study came out that proved when you mechanically stimulate a spinal ligament (as is done in a chiropractic adjustment) it sends a signal into the spinal cord which stimulates the brain. This study also proved that during this process it also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the function of our immune system. This is why those under regular chiropractic care experience a increase in immune system function. 

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CHIROPRACTIC PROVEN TO INCREASE NERVOUS SYSTEM FUNCTION

We have talked in great detail about how chiropractors are mislabeled as "back pain doctors". In reality, chiropractors focus on optimal nervous system function. We do this by locating and removing interference in nervous system communication called SUBLUXATIONS. Often times, the CAUSE of your discomfort or health concern is the result of a SUBLUXATION. When the brain can properly and efficiently communicate with the body, we see health as the result. 

MEASURING NERVOUS SYSTEM FUNCTION

We have amazing technology available to us today. One of our core values at The Movement Chiropractic, Benicia, is to utilize technology to its fullest to ensure the best results for our practice members. On of the tools we utilize in this office is a subluxation station. This tool allows us to perform a functional nerve assessment to accurately see how each of your nerves are functioning. This is important to us because we know that if the nerves are functioning well, whatever is at the end of that nerve will also function well. 

Below are two nerve assessments taken in this office on the same practice member. For reference, red is severe nerve irritation, blue is moderate, green in mild, and white is optimal. The image on the left is the scan taken on the first visit before any chiropracTIC care. The image on the right is the practice member's nerve assessment at the end of the active phase of care. We can see a huge functional improvement which results in a huge increase in quality of life and overall health of the practice member. This case is not unique. All of our practice members show significant improvement in nervous system function by the time of re-evaluation. 

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