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.

 

HELP US CREATE A HEALTHIER COMMUNITY BY SHARING THIS INFORMATION WITH SOMEONE YOU KNOW!

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. 

HELP US CREATE A HEALTHIER COMMUNITY BY SHARING THIS INFORMATION WITH SOMEONE YOU KNOW!

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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SEGMENTAL PAIN INHIBITION

Imagine a situation in which you are hammering a nail into a board. You have the hammer in one hand while simultaneously supporting the nail in the other. You wind up and swing the hammer which misses the nail and strikes your finger. 100% of us will react in the same instinctual way (if you don't believe me, try it for yourself!). We will yell (perhaps uttering some words I will not document here) and shake your hand back and forth vigorously. Why do we all have this instinctual reaction? The answer lies in the amazingly beautiful physiology of our bodies.

Our bodies have a number of mechanisms in place to either create or inhibit the sensation of pain. One of these ways is through a mechanism called "segmental pain inhibition." In this form of pain inhibition, pain is decreased based on motion. This is why, in the above example, we respond to the pain by shaking our hand. The motion created in the joints of the hand is creating an inhibitory response to the pain. The reverse is also true. If a joint in our body is fixated and unable to move, the body cannot use this form of pain inhibition. 

In chiropracTIC, we are identifying the vertebra in your spine that is fixated and misaligned. Often times, there is pain in this area. The reason is because that joint is fixated preventing segmental pain inhibition. Once the normal biomechanics of the joint is restored, the body is then able to utilize this form of pain inhibition. This is one of the reasons that a specific chiropracTIC adjustment can lead to a decrease in the feeling of pain. 

 

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THE SIXTH SENSE

Can you name all of our senses? We have sighthearingsmelltaste and touch. But few know that we have a sixth sense that we use all day, every day. Lets do a quick demonstration of this sense. Take one hand and hold up 3 fingers, place this hand behind your back. You can't smell, hear, see, taste or touch this hand, but you know that it is behind your back and that you are holding up 3 fingers. This is something called proprioception. Proprioception is your body's ability to know where every joint is in space at all times. 

Our bodies are able to use this sense through specific receptors that live in every one of our joints. When the joint changes position, it sends a signal to a part of your brain called the cerebellum. This part of your brain contains over 50% of the cells that make up your brain. It is responsible for balance, movement, and coordination. The cerebellum passes this information to a part of the brain called the thalamus. You can think of the thalamus as a relay station. The thalamus takes information and sends it to the appropriate part of the brain. 

This pathway is reliant on proper mobility of the joints. If the joints are fixated, the informational cascade does not take place. Chiropractors ensure that the joints are moving properly which results in a heightened state of proprioception. This prioprioception is important for a number of reasons. 

PROPRIOCEPTION AND FALL PREVENTION

A major fear for the elderly population is falling. A fall can lead to serious injuries and create a cascading effect of health concerns. It is important to do everything we can to avoid injuries from falls. Mobile joints in our feet, legs, and spines are very important to preventing falls. Without the appropriate information entering your brain simple tasks such as going up or down stairs, stepping of a curb, or bending over to pick something up can become very difficult. If these joints are mobile, they will send information to the brain that can prevent serious injuries. 

PROPRIOCEPTION AND ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE

 Athletes depend on this pathway to perform skilled tasks. There is a reason that every one of the 32 NFL teams utilize chiropracTIC care. Not only does it improve performance by increasing body awareness, it also prevents injury. All athletes from cheerleaders to dancers to football players can benefit from specific chiropracTIC care. 

TAKE ACTION NOW

If your joints are not moving properly, your body is not operating at the highest level possible. Don't wait to take action. Set the example of proactive health care by getting your spine and nervous system checked. 

 

HELP US CREATE A HEALTHIER COMMUNITY BY SHARING THIS INFORMATION WITH SOMEONE YOU KNOW!