chiropractor

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.

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. 

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

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. 

 

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

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!

WHY CHILDREN NEED CHIROPRACTIC CARE

A majority of our practice members are actually children. Often times people are confused by this. Why would you adjust a newborn? What does an adjustment on a baby or child look like? Babies don't have back pain, why would they go to a chiropractor?

TRACTIONAL FORCES TO THE NECK DURING BIRTH

A common misconception is that babies are born as healthy as they will ever be: a blank slate. But this is not the case. The birthing process is very traumatic. A scientific study was completed to see how much trauma a baby went through in a routine vaginal birth. What they found was astonishing! They found that during the process of birth, the babies neck will undergo anywhere from 20-60 pounds of tractional force. As the babies head crowns and is exposed, the head is put into rotation and laterally flexed before applying a "pulling" force to expose the shoulder. This amount of force is more than enough to cause severe subluxations. The most common subluxation during the birthing process is a misalignment of the top bone in the neck, called the atlas. 

When I first saw this study, the amount of force was hard for me to grasp. What I did was compare the amount of force on the babies neck to that of an average adult. If this amount of force was applied, proportionally, to a 160 pound adult, it would be equivalent to 1,200 pounds of tractional force! 

WHAT DOES AN ADJUSTMENT ON A BABY LOOK LIKE?

An adjustment on a baby or child is very different than an adjustment on an adult. When adjusting a baby we do not thrust to make the adjustment. We instead use something called sustained contact. After identifying the areas of the spine that need to be adjusted a sustained force is applied to the vertebra in the direction of correction. The amount of force used is comparable to the amount of force you would use to check a fruit for ripeness or the amount of force you would feel comfortable placing on your eyelid. These adjustments are so gentle, often times babies sleep through them. 

WHAT CONDITIONS HAVE YOU HELPED WITH?

When I talk about adjusting newborns and children, people almost always ask, "what have you been able to help with?" A few common things that we have seen in newborns over and over again in this office are breast feeding issues, colic, and ear infections.

Breast feeding issues are very common. Often times we see a child that can easily feed on one side, but has problems when switching to the other side. The reason for this is very simple: the baby cannot easily rotate their head in both directions. This is because the atlas is responsible for 80% of the rotation of the cervical spine. The atlas also happens to be the most common misalignment during the birthing process. Once the proper biomechanics of the atlas vertebra are restored, the baby can then rotate their head in both directions and feed on both sides.

Colic is an interesting term used for newborns. It is most commonly used to describe a baby that is generally irritable and fussy. In fact, most issues with colic are due to digestive issues including constipation or gas. Again, we look to the nervous system to find the cause of these issues and again we come to the atlas vertebra. There is a very important nerve in our body called the vagus nerve. This nerve wanders through the body from vital organ to vital organ including the digestive organs. The vagus nerve travels through a structure called the carotid sheath which passes just in front of the atlas. When the atlas misaligns, it puts pressure on this structure and can cause a number of issues including colic. And for all of us that have had children, colic sucks. Colic leads to the baby being uncomfortable and not sleeping which leads to the parents not sleeping. Often times people get upset when I tell them about this because, "no one ever told me that a chiropractor could help with colic! We just suffered through it!"

In an earlier post I covered the issue of ear infections in great detail. Again, we look to the atlas as the cause of the problem. Children already have Eustachian tubes that are oriented in a more horizontal position than adults. This leads to the ears not draining efficiently. In addition, the misaligned atlas causes issues with a muscle that controls the draining of the ears called the tensor veli palatini. These two factors together create the perfect conditions for an infection of the ear to take place. As a child that suffered from chronic ear infections, this is a topic that I am very passionate about. Every child should be checked and adjusted to reduce the chances of getting an ear infection.

TAKE ACTION AND SHARE THIS INFORMATION

In our office we have a saying, "as the twig bends, the tree grows." This means that healthy kids grow into healthy adults and vice versa. We take our children to the primary care physician for "wellness checks", and we take them to the dentist to get their teeth checked, why not take them to the chiropractor to have the most important structure, the nervous system, checked?

Give your children the best start in life and set the example of proactive health by taking them to the chiropractor. Don't wait until something is wrong to go to your chiropractor. Prevent these things from ever happening by being proactive! 

 

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

EAR INFECTIONS

As a child I had chronic ear infections. My mother would take me to our primary care physician and I would get prescribed an antibiotic. Eventually the symptoms would subside and I would discontinue the antibiotic treatment. Like clockwork, the ear infection would return as soon as the medication was stopped. Eventually, the medication lost its effectiveness and I had "tubes put in my ears". This method also proved to be ineffective. As a result, I had reoccurring ear infections until about the age of 13. At this time the ear infections ceased due to the more vertical position of my Eustachian tubes. 

Years later, while in chiropractic school I was listening to a lecture by Dr. Dan Murphy about ear infections. He said a number of interesting things that have stuck with me. One of these things is that most ear infections are viral infections causing antibiotics to be very ineffective and do nothing more than disrupt the normal balance of gut flora which leaves the child with a weakened immune system. He also said that chiropractors are best suited to treat ear infections to get a true lasting result and prevent them from returning.

Nearly 100% of children will have an ear infection by age 5. For some, ear infections may develop into a chronic, reoccurring illness. This is very uncomfortable for the child and may result in long term conditions such as balance problems and hearing loss. In additions, millions of dollars are lost each year due to parents missing days at work. 

WHAT IS OTITIS MEDIA?

Otitis media is the medical term for an infection of the middle ear. More often than not, this infection is the result of a virus. This occurs when the child's ears are not able to drain effectively causing the perfect, unsanitary environment for the viral infection to thrive. Children are already at a disadvantage because, at this age, the Eustachian tubes are oriented in a more flat position making it difficult to drain the ears effectively. As we age, the Eustachian tubes become more vertical which results in better drainage of the ears. This is why ear infections are very common in children and very rare in adults. 

ATLAS MISALIGNMENT AND EAR INFECTIONS

Most people can voluntarily make their ears "pop", but few know the mechanism of how they do this. When you do this, you are contracting a tiny muscle called the tensor veli palatini. This muscle is responsible for allowing the Eustachian tubes to open which balances air pressure and allows for mucus buildup to drain into the throat. This muscle is very important our children's health relies on its proper function.

The most common reason for this muscle not functioning properly in children is a misalignment of the top bone in your neck, called the atlas. This misalignment is commonly caused during the birthing process. During the birthing process the child's head is rotated and laterally flexed before applying a tractional force to expose the child's shoulder. This tractional force has been documented anywhere from 20-60 pounds of force! This is more than enough force to misalign the atlas vertebra. This misalignment creates what we would call mechanical disafferentation which is a fancy way of saying an interruption in the signals normally sent to the brain created by motion and movement. When looking at otitis media, the motor nucleus of the fifth cranial nerve is of particular interest as it is the nerve that supplies and controls the tensor veli palatini muscle. Once the normal mechanical movement of the atlas vertebra is restored, proper nerve flow is also restored and allows the tensor veli palatini muscle to function as it should. This allows the ears to drain as needed and significantly reduces the risk of an ear infection. 

DON'T WAIT! BE PROACTIVE!

All the time I have parents come into the office with a child that has a current, active ear infection. Of course we are able to get positive results, but the pain on the child's part and the missed work days on the parents part could have been avoided by not waiting until the child was sick to seek chiropractic care. Chiropractic care is proactive and preventative which means that we can avoid discomfort and potentially harmful symptoms by ensuring that the nervous system is functioning optimally. 

If you can share one piece of information, share this: 

  • Chiropractic care is very effective with ear infections. 
  • Don't wait to get your child's nervous system checked. 

 

 

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