An Acid That You Want to Know About

Palmitoleic Acid could become a household word in the near future. Why you ask? Please let me explain.

In a small study at Ohio State, 16 adults, all of whom had metabolic syndrome, were fed the exact same diets, which changed every 3 weeks for a total of 18 weeks. The diet started with 47 grams of carbs and 84 grams of saturated fat each day and ended with 346 grams of carbs and 32 grams of saturated fat.

The diets included a consistent 130 grams of protein and added up to 2500 calories per day.

346 carbs is significant as this is what a typical American eats per day.

Average weight loss during the study was 22 pounds…not too shabby!

Where does Palmitoleic acid (PA) come in? Interestingly, as the participants were transitioned from a high saturated fat to a high carbo diet, the PA increased.

Increased PA levels in the blood have been linked to obesity and put people at a higher risk for inflammation and if you have been hanging around with me long enough, you know that I think inflammation is one of the biggest things we should be aware of.

High PA levels are also linked to diabetes, heart disease and prostate cancer, amongst other things.

Jeff Volek, a professor at Ohio State, states, “People believe ‘you are what you eat,’ but in reality, you are what you save from what you eat. The point is you don’t necessarily save the saturated fat that you eat. And the primary regulator of what you save in terms of fat is the carbohydrate in your diet. Since more than half of Americans show some signs of carb intolerance, it makes more sense to focus on carb restriction than fat restriction.”

While this study is small, it certainly puts out some food for thought (see what I did there!!!) about the relationship between carbs and weight gain.




The $950,000 Baby

BabyYou know how new parents all think their kids are priceless? It turns out there may be a price tag after all for that little bundle of joy.

Try $950,000 on for size!

A Canadian woman, who was six months pregnant, went to Hawaii for a vacation. They checked with their doctor and after he cleared it, they bought medical insurance that would cover her while she was in the states in addition to the insurance that they already had in Canada.

As luck would have it, Mom’s water breaks, and out comes the baby, 3 months early, while they are in Hawaii!

Here is where it get’s interesting.

Between the hospital and neonatal care, the bill was $950,000.

The couple, having not one but two insurance policies, thought they were all set.

They were not.

The US company agreed to pay $12,000 citing the pregnancy as a pre-existing condition?!? The Canadian insurance company agreed to pay $20,000.

The Canadian couple is on the hook for the remaining $918,000!

Moral of the story…if you are traveling out of the country check in with your insurance company to see what may and may not be covered.


Fall Cleanup

Fall in the NortheastIf your yard looks anything like mine, it is covered with leaves.

The last couple of weeks has brought in a slew of patients that have hurt themselves doing yard work and I always ask them the same thing … did you warm-up before you started?

I should take pictures of the looks that people give me!

Yes, you need to warm up before you rake leaves, just as you would any endeavor where you are going to use your body.

Let’s breakdown the mechanics of raking leaves. Lots of twisting, typically bent forward, and typically only raking in one direction.

This is a recipe for disaster.

If you want your structure (spine) to treat you right, you must treat it right.

Bent forward and turning is the absolute worst thing you can do to your spine. Doing it cold, without warming up, and you might as well drive straight to my office as soon as you are done!

There is a better way.

First off, stretch.. it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, think basic calisthenics. Make sure you include your shoulders, back, and legs. Don’t forget about the legs!

As you are getting limber, make a plan. Do you have proper rakes, gloves, tarps, bags etc.

If you are raking, remember to keep your posture upright. No bending and twisting. Also, remember, you have two hands, use them! Rake one direction, the rake the other direction. This ensures that you are rotating in both directions and not just in one.

Are you bagging the leaves? If so, make many little piles to pick up so you have to take a break and walk from pile to pile. Are you dragging the leaves to an area? Make sure you don’t overload the tarp to the point that you can’t pull it with ease.

Can you mow the leaves with a bag attachment?

Once you start working, please remember, take frequent breaks. These leaves do not need to be picked up in the next hour. Take your time, your body will thank you!



Case of the Month July 2014

Car Accident

Have you ever been in a fender bender? Ever notice how sore you are afterwards?

I have a patient that we will call Pat. Pat was involved in an auto accident recently where she was driving, stopped for traffic and a car hit her from behind going close to 40 MPH.

After the accident Pat reported loss of hearing, headaches, vision problems, neck pain, shoulder pain and arm pain. Needless to say Pat was not feeling good and went to the hospital to get everything checked out. Once cleared from there Pat came to see me in the hopes that I would be able to help her.

I discovered that her neck and midback were completely stuck and swollen, not uncommon after a bad auto accident. Her range of motion was limited to almost zero in every range with extreme pain in every direction.

I got to work by adjusting Pat’s thoracic and cervical spine. After the adjustments, I had Pat do range of motion exercises, posture specific stretching and iced both areas. Within one week, Pat was reporting that she was feeling much better. What I was the most excited about was the 50% improvement in range of motion. 50% in one week! (Yes I know, but for me it is the little things.)

As the weeks went by Pat reported that she was moving and feeling better than she had in a long time, even before the accident. The coolest part of all of this was her focus level.

Prior to the accident Pat told me she had a hard time focusing on tasks for any period of time.

Within 3 weeks Pat felt she was getting more done at work in a shorter period of time. Talk about the brain body connection! When you remove the interference from the body, the brain knows what to do!


Contest of the Month July 2014

Maggie from Westford won our contest last month. She answered the following three questions correctly.

  • Where are the smallest bones in the body? …The ear
  • What substance is lighter as a solid than a liquid? …Water
  • The ice cream cone was invented to hold what? …Flowers

Maggie wins a $25 gift card to Brine’s located in Concord Center.

Now onto this month’s questions:

  1. Which food is more efficient at waking you up than caffeine?
  2. If you wanted to sail the Sea of Tranquility how would you get there?
  3. What is special about 111,111,111 x 111,111,111?

This month’s prize is a $25 gift card to Main St. cafe in Concord Center.

Send us the answers by email, or commenting below.

Good Luck!


What Do You Mean You Aren’t Treating My Pain?

What is your first thought after you have thrown your back out? Typically something like, “How did I do this or what did I do?” Does that sound familiar?

Sadly, a large percentage of people walk into my office with some form of pain. Most people tell me that they have tried everything else before chiropractic and I am their last hope before heavy duty drugs or surgery. (No pressure on me right!)

As with most chiropractors that I know, I get to work on examining the spine and trying to locate the areas where the spine is not moving as well as it should. The area where the spine is not moving as well as it should can be referred to as a subluxation Here is a dirty little secret about chiropractic…we really aren’t treating the symptoms!…we know that if we reduce the level of subluxation in the spine, the body will heal itself. How you may ask? Great question. Let’s have a little anatomy review.

Everything in the body is run by the brain. The brain communicates with the body via the spinal cord and nerves that exit each level of the spine. In order for us to be able to move, each level of the spine, called a vertebra, moves independently of the other vertebrae.

This is where the issue can arise.

When we get our spine out of shape, or subluxated, the spine no longer moves as it should. The official wording is it has lost its proper juxtaposition to the one above or below it. This results in the nerves at this area not working the way that they should. Picture a dimmer light switch. Turn the juice down and the lights get dim…turn the juice up and the lights shine bright.

To keep it simple, chiropractors help take the pressure off the nerves allowing everything connected to them to run with more efficiency.

What are the results of this? For one you are healthier. Did you know that people who use chiropractic as their primary form of health care had 60% fewer hospitalizations, 62% fewer surgeries and used 85% fewer pharmaceuticals than HMO patients who received traditional medical care. This was all done with an average of a 93.6% satisfaction rate.

Most times, the patients’ symptoms will get better as well. Did we treat the back or neck pain per se? Not really, what we did was identify where the spine was not functioning at an optimal level and work with you to get it back to a functional level. Once that is done, for the most part, the body knows what to do.

More on this topic to come!

Dr. Oz

What is your opinion on Dr. Oz? Do you even know who he is?

Quick history lesson. Dr. Oz is a personable cardiothoracic surgeon that first appeared on TV in 2004 on the Oprah Winfrey show. He was an almost instant hit and today has his own show that is watched by lots of people.

In case you have not been keeping up with Dr. Oz news (and honestly why would you?), he recently found himself in front of a group of Senators that were taking him to task for his language when promoting weight loss items. Check out the video.



The gist of the video is Dr. Oz went to Congress to ask for help in slowing down the scam artists that were misconstruing his words in order to sell bogus products. What ended up happening is Dr. Oz got called on the carpet for all of his flowery language in supporting products that are suspect at best.

At the end of the day, there are no super duper secret formulas and pills when it comes to your health. Drink plenty of water, eat clean and get plenty of exercise will go a long way towards getting and keeping you healthy.

When someone is pitching you that they have the greatest immune boosting, fat burning, energy increasing product, do your homework and look at it with a very skeptical eye.


Booing a 12 Year Old

Ok, so this isn’t exactly a chiropractic blog, too bad!

As a father of four and longtime coach you begin to think that you have seen everything there is to see in youth sports.

I was recently at a 12 year old baseball game when I saw something I have never seen before…a group of adults booing… at a 12 year old baseball game.

Please let me set the scene.

My son’s team is in Fitchburg at a baseball tournament on a beautiful cloud free Sunday morning. The game is well played by both teams with my sons team trailing heading into the last inning. As luck would have it, my sons team scores three runs and takes the lead heading into the home team’s final at bats. The opposing team has one runner on with two outs when their best hitter comes to the plate. My sons coach calls time and walks out to the mound to instruct the pitcher to intentionally walk the batter.

After the first pitch I can hear what sounds a little like booing, however, I am convinced that I am not hearing this correctly, for who boos anything at a 12 year old game?

The second pitch comes in and the booing is now unmistakable, most of the parents from the other team are booing loudly. At this point our pitcher has a bewildered look on his face as it is obvious that he does not understand why they are booing.

When the third pitch is thrown the booing is now louder than ever. The 12 year old pitcher is visibly upset that this is occurring. As the pitcher goes to the mound, he turns and walks away and begins getting emotional. The umpires recognize this and do a fantastic job huddling around him and attempt to get him calmed down.

While this is going on, I got to thinking.

Why would someone boo anything at a youth event? Is the outcome of this event so important to you that you feel the need to try and “get in the head” of the opponent?

Is it possible this was all in fun? Maybe, and I have to give props to one of the parents, he came over and apologized when he realized the effect it was having on the player.

Maybe I am wrong here, however, I really don’t care about the wins and losses. After having attended literally thousands of youth sporting events, the outcomes just don’t matter to me. Think back to your son or daughters last season. Remember the third game they played…do you remember the score? Exactly, no one does!

Here is what is important to me…that my children try their best, be good teammates, treat both other teams and officials with respect, be willing to be coached, be held accountable, be willing to learn from mistakes, be humble, be gracious and most of all have fun with their friends, both old and new.

Now, do I think that everyone deserves a trophy? Not even close. I like that we keep score. The world keeps score and it is good for the kids to learn that in a safe environment.

I also don’t think they should win every game. How boring would that be? Oftentimes you will learn more from the losses than you will the wins, both in youth sports and life.

If I can offer any advice to a parent that is really caught up in all the wins and losses. Please remember to enjoy this time, you only get one crack at it and I would hate for you to miss it while stressing out worrying about if Johnny’s team can win their travel soccer game. I can assure you that Johnny will have forgotten the score of that game by the time he is done with his after game ice cream. You did stop for ice cream right?

Do you have any youth sports stories you want to share? Please comment below and we can discuss.

I am Addicted to Online Reviews

I am an online review addict! There I said it! Sometimes I will read reviews of products that I have no intention of ever buying. I will even read reviews of products that I have already bought to see if I agree with the reviews.

I should probably get some help for this!

In all seriousness, it got me thinking about online reviews for people like me, your dentist,  massage therapist,your orthopedic surgeon or even a therapist.

While I have read reviews for everything from a toast to a TV, I have never looked at reviews for doctor or therapist.

With all of the above providers, word of mouth is almost always the way that people find out about different providers.

But, what if you were new to town? Or maybe your family and friends don’t know someone in the area of expertise that you are looking for.

Should you base your decision to see someone based on their online reviews?

As a sole practitioner, should I be encouraging people to leave reviews about my practice?

Would a string of positive reviews make you more likely to see someone? What about a string of negative reviews, would that discourage you?

I would be very interested to hear what you have to say about online reviews and how often you look at them when deciding how to pick a doctor, dentist or therapist.

Please consider leaving a comment below and we can discuss online reviews.



Stress and Business Travel

I was envious this morning as a patient was telling me about all of the upcoming business trips he had coming up. As someone that works in a business that requires almost no travel, I may have a distorted view of reality of what business travel is all about.

When I asked my patient if he was going to have any fun on his trips, he gave me a look that could be described, at best, as odd. “Kevin, you don’t travel much do you?”, he asked. “It is absolutely miserable, I am twice as stressed out traveling than I am in any meeting.”

That got me thinking. Was it him or is business travel that stressful? Harvard Business Review tells me it is that stressful.

As someone that does not need to travel, I have always questioned if it was really necessary. According to an Oxford Economics survey, the Return on Investment of traveling is between 400% and 2000%

Maybe I should start traveling!

Now as they say, nothing in life is free. The cost of this great ROI is quite often stress on the traveler. The study identified the four most common areas of stress in travelers:

  • Delayed or lost baggage
  • Poor internet connections
  • Medium and long haul economy flights
  • Airport delays or layovers

What all of these issues really create is lost time. As the day to day office work accumulates stress levels rise. An international survey found that some managers, faced with a week or more of emails, would simply delete them all upon returning to the office.

Try a few of these tips to see if you can help yourself out:

  • Always have a go bag packed. You know what you will always need on a trip; phone charger, toiletries, etc… buy extras of everything and leave these in your travel bag
  • For men, a wrinked tie is a bad look…roll it up tight and put it in a toilet paper tube…no wrinkles
  • Beat jet lag with excercise, hydration and sunlight.
  • Download 30-40 emails to your laptop, take the time in flight to answer them … less work waiting for you on return is less stress!

While individuals can find their own ways to destress (hello, chiropractic!), companies can contribute in ways as well.

Ask your company about any of the following and see your stress levels shrink a bit:

  • Allow for work from home day after long trips
  • Paying for a spouse if the trip requires a weekend stay
  • If luggage lost, allow employee to purchase enough of a wardrobe for a day or two
  • Pay for access to business class lounges if you don’t automatically qualify

I think that everyone can agree that stress is very real and when a top executive is not working or is working at less than optimal firms lose money. If we can get everyone on the same page of reducing this stress, everyone will win.

Chiropractic is fantastic at reducing stress in the body. Consider seeing your chiropractor for an adjustment after business travel. Your body will thank you for it!