Food Choices

The state of New York recently required any restaurant with more than 15 locations to post the calorie count of the food on the menu.  Categories include: calories, carbs, proteins, fats and saturated fats.  Hopefully it includes trans fats as well.

I can’t tell you how much I applaud their efforts for here in Massachusetts we don’t have this law yet.

 There is a restaurant right around the corner from my house that shall remain nameless, let’s just say it has two numbers in its name.  Every couple of months I would call the corporate headquarters and ask them for a copy of the nutritional information of the food they serve.  They keep promising that it will be on the website soon.  It is now 3 years and it still has not been added.  What do they have to hide?  

After doing some research I found other websites that had taken their food to go, and tested it in a lab and reported on the nutritional info.  To say it is horrifying would be an understatement.  If a person goes into a restaurant and orders a hamburger and fries they know they are not eating healthy.  What about the person who orders a salad and thinks they are doing the right thing, or the person that orders Chicken, Broccoli and ziti?

You may be surprised at some foods that on the surface sound healthy, however, once you look a little closer you realize how poor some of these choices are.

Lets look at the nutrition info on 3 choices at our local restaurant.

Steakburger w/ Fries:  1440 calories, 80 grams of fat

Wild Bleu Chicken and Spinach Salad 1270 calories, 82 grams of fat

Chicken Broccoli and Ziti Dinner:  1880 calories, 94 grams of fat.

Now if I told you that the Steakburger and fries would have the least amount of fat you would have said I was crazy.

 THIS is why they need to disclose to us the nutritional info.  People see chicken, broccoli and ziti and they think they are doing the right thing.

Please call your local representatives and ask them to consider backing this bill, our very health depends on it.

USA Today Article

That noise you just heard was me falling out of my chair!  The main stream press has done a nice article on kids and chiropractic that you can read here.  What impresses me most about this article is that a medical doctor recommended chiropractic care to a mom.  This was unheard of even a few years ago.

There is an old saying in chiropractic:  As the twig is bent so grows the tree.  Think about how many times a child will fall while learning to walk, run, ride a bike, or climb a tree.  My daughter plays hockey and she probably fell a half dozen times in an hour last night.  All that force must go somewhere!  Is it unrealistic to think that kids could misalign their spines?  

If I had a nickel for everytime I have heard, “I wish I met you 20 years ago” I would be driving a Ferrari!   People are beginning to realize that their spinal misalignments started when they were children, not just when they started shoveling.

More articles like this will certainly open peoples eyes to getting your childrens spine checked at an early age.

Shoveling

snow-dogs

It is winter in Concord MA and we are running almost 2 feet above normal snow level!  This leads to a lot of time spent doing one of the worst things possible for your low back:  shoveling.

The absolute worst position you could put your spine in occurs when you shovel.  Bending forward at the waist, while also bending to the side is a perfect storm for disaster.  When you bend forward a majority of the weight in your spine is placed on the front half of the disc.  When you add a side bend into that, the weight is now on 25% of the disc.  Add in the fact that you are throwing some weight (snow) your back will eventually end up hurting.

What you do next is very important in how this is going to end up.  Swallow some painkillers and keep going?  You may be setting yourself up for some serious pain down the road.  If the pain is telling you to stop, you should listen.  Ignoring this may lead you to a much more serious problem than just muscle soreness.   The last thing anyone needs is to herniate a disc while rushing to get their driveway cleared.

If you must shovel, please keep these important points in mind:

  •  Properly warm up your legs, back and shoulders through stretching
  • Shovel with your knees bent, making sure to use your legs whenever possible
  • Start with a light amount of snow
  • Drink plenty of water, even in the cold you will sweat
  • Take frequent breaks

While we are oftentimes in a rush to get the work done, taking frequent breaks will give your body the best chance to handle this difficult task.

Ice is Cold

Here in the northeast, we are getting buried by snow. Not only is there a ton of snow on the ground but the forecast is for temps in the low teens.

Patients in my office are getting a double dose of cold, for we ice most of out patients after they get adjusted and stretched. People always ask, why ice and not heat.

If we look at basic first aid, everyone is taught the RICE principle when injuring an area. R stands for rest; I for ice, C for compression, and E for elevation. This principle is typically applied for the first 48 hours and then heat should be applied.

Now for an extremity this is great advice, however, for the spine I believe that it is best to stick with ice and ice only, please let me explain why.

When you examine a spine you will see nerves coming out of each side of the spine. These nerve roots pass through two small holes called foramen. When your spine misaligns, swelling is present in those holes, placing pressure on the nerve roots that exit them. We know through studies that pressure on the nerve roots causes the nerves to function less than optimally. This pressure could easily cause pain, numbness, tingling etc,.

If we don’t reduce this inflammation, the nerves never get a chance to work to their potential and you never get a chance to feel as good as you deserve.

Next time it is below freezing outside and even colder in my office you will know that at least the cold in the office is trying to accomplish something!

Are Insurance Companies Penny Smart

I recently had a patient hurt himself.  He called me for an exam and possible treatment, however, was dismayed to hear that his insurance would not cover the visits.  Since he was in a considerable amount of pain, he went to the ER, his primary care physician and a specialist.  Total cost of all those visits:  over $9,000.

One week after seeing all his docs, he was no better.  At this point he came into the office, we agreed on a fee, and got to work on getting him better.  After his first visit he was 75% better, leaving the office stating that he had not been able to breathe this well in a few weeks.  By the third visit the patient was released from care 100% better.

Total cost to the insurance company would have been less than $300.  Most health insurance companies put huge restrictions on chiropractic care.  Yet they will gladly pay and pay and pay when a patient goes into a hopsital or doctors office for diagnostic tests.

Imagine the money saved if 60,000 chiropractors had this type of case 3 times per week.  $4,700 x 3= 14,100 dollars per chiropractor per week.  Now take the roughly 60,000 chiropractic offices in the country and the number jumps to $846 million per year.  Not a bad number.

I often ask patients how many insurance companies they have had over the last 10 years.  It is not unusual for that number to be 5, 6 or even 10.  I then ask them how many spines they have had in that time period.  Of course the answer is 1.

You only have one body, it is not up to the insurance company to take care of it.  If you don’t have insurance or your coverage is very limited, please talk to your chiropractor if fees are a concern.  You may be surprised at what he or she has to offer.

Sleep…..It Does the Body Good

 With the holidays rapidly approaching, we tend to get busier and busier.  Since we cannot add more hours to the day, many of us choose to decrease how much sleep we will get.

 Whenever one thinks of health, you must begin with sleep.  Sleep is when your body gets to recharge, not just physically but also mentally.  When you sleep your blood pressure drops, your heart rate drops, and most importantly your brain gets to recharge. 

 Just about everyday in my office a patient will ask, “Doc, should I get a new mattress and how should I sleep?”  Since I am far from a mattress expert I asked Steve, owner of Siesta Sleepworks in Acton, the first question.  “The first sign a person needs a new mattress is they can see a body impression.  The second sign is when you stop getting a restful night sleep and you toss and turn all night.”  Steve also offered the following advice when you have decided to get a new mattress, “Try a bunch of different mattresses when you go into a store.  Everyone has different tastes and it takes some time to find the one you will be happy with.”

If we are sleeping a decent amount, we will spend between 25% and 33% of our life sleeping.  Once you have determined if you need a new mattress, you now must take into account your sleep position.  Sleeping on your stomach is the worst position in terms of spinal health.  In order to sleep on your stomach you need to turn your head left or right to breathe.  Now doing this for a few minutes is no big deal, however, 6 to 8 hours per night for many years, is going to lead to neck and shoulder problems.  Stiffness and pain are very common reports from stomach sleepers.

The ideal positions for sleeping are either on your side or on your back.  When sleeping on your back you want to choose a pillow as thin as is comfortable.  A pillow that is too thick will jut your head forward placing undue stress on your neck and shoulders.  When sleeping on your side you need to choose a pillow that keeps your head in a neutral position, in other words not tilting either up or down, while lying on your side.

How long you sleep is just as important as how you sleep.  Although everyone is different, the ideal seems to be 6.5 to 7.5 hours.  Interestingly enough, sleeping more than 8 hours may actually be very bad for you.  Morbidity, obesity, and depression are all associated with people who get both too little sleep and too much sleep.

 Changing sleeping habits can be very difficult.  If you are a stomach sleeper and want to change, start out on your side with a body pillow.  If you wake up in the middle of the night on your stomach, flip to your side again.  Give this a couple of months and soon enough you will be finding yourself spending more time in a  good sleeping posture.  You neck and shoulders will thank you.

 

 

Bummer About Ginkgo

In case you missed the news today, it has been widely reported that a study on Ginkgo Boloba and Alzheimers (AZ) did not turn out as favorably as hoped.  It had been hoped that by taking GB, you could prevent or delay the dementia that is associated with AZ.

3069 people had participated in the trial.  Just about 1/2 were given GB and 1/2 were given a placebo.  Neither the people or the doctors doing the testing knew who was taking what.  A double blind study, as explained prior, and the number of participants lends a lot of credibility to the study.

There is some question if the study followed the exact GB protocols.

As with any study, one does not mean anything is cast in stone.  There is another study going on in France with 2800 participants.  I think it is safe to say the GB community is certainly looking forward to a favorable report.

Are You Last?

How often do you put yourself last?  Time after time I see a client who is dashing in after soccer, before ballet, and on their way to the grocery store.  Oftentimes they will rush into the office, lay down on the table, get their adjustment, and skip out before I can even say hello, never mind good-bye.   I always wonder, how stressed out must this person be?

As a father of four, with a super human wife, I completely understand how hectic life gets.  I try and help people realize that slowing down is not such a bad thing.  Sitting on ice in my office, while cold, is oftentimes the only part of someones day that is relatively sane.

Making time for yourself is crucial to your health.  Even the finest tuned race cars need down time.  You cannot keep pushing without something breaking down.  Trying turning off the radio while driving, grab a book and a comfy chair, how about a walk at lunch from your office, or how about scheduling that massage you have been putting off.

Your body doesn’t need much, just a couple of minutes a day for itself and you will see the effects for years to come.

PS. Need a massage therapist leave me a comment and I will set you up with a wonderful one, I have been seeing her for a couple of years and she is great.

How Exactly Does Chiropractic Work

In an attempt to keep this super simple please allow me to tell you a story.  You are outside watering the lawn with a typical water hose.  While the water is flowing out, someone places something heavy on the hose back where it comes out of the spicket.  The result is decreased water flow.  Make sense?

That is the essence of chiropractic.

We take the pressure off your nerves so that they flow properly.

It is pretty well known that the brain controls the body.  In order for that to happen, the brain must communicate through the nerves.  These nerves originate in the spine then branch out all over the body.  If there is a misalignment in the spine, pressure gets put on the nerve and much like the water hose, the flow decreases.  With this decreased nerve flow, whatever is connected to this nerve; glands, organs, or muscles, will not work at its peak.  

Chiropractors are trained to detect these misalignments and put them back in place to relieve the nerve pressure.

Let's start here

Thank you for reading my blog.  My goal is to keep you informed, entertained, challenged, and depending on my mood, maybe be even fired up.  I will update this site often with news from the fields of chiropractic, medicine, nutrition, or anything I might think you are interested in.  

Since this blog is for you, I encourage you to leave me comments, ask questions or make suggestions for topics.  I cannot promise to always agree with you, however, I think we can have some fun with this.