One of the Best Things You Can Buy Yourself

Everyday I get asked a question, “Doc, what can I do to help myself at home?”Exercise Ball

I have to tell you, I LOVE that question.

See, coming to see someone like me is like entering into a partnership. I help you in the office, you help you at home.

As you can probably imagine, it does not always work out that way. You get home with the best of intentions and then work needs something, dinner needs to get made, and before you know it, it’s 11:00 and you wonder where the day went. Before you know it you are back in my office a few days later telling me that you felt good for a day or so but now it is back. My goal is to give you a simple solution that you can do at home in a short period of time.

The number one thing that you can do at home is work on your core.

Now there is a common misconception is that the core is only abs. While the abs are part of it, your core is made up of: abs, legs, buttocks and low back.

If you want to get serious about protecting your spine and preserving all of the awesome work that I do, yes I know how that sounds, then I strongly recommend that you consider buying yourself an exercise ball. Take a look at this one from Amazon. Exercise Ball -Professional Grade Anti Burst Tested with Hand Pump- Supports 2200lbs- Includes Workout Guide Access- 75cm Balance Balls

As for sizes, 65cm is the norm for most people. Smaller people can go with the 55 and larger people can go with the 75. If you need help deciding, let me know and I will help you pick the proper size.

There are not many body parts that you cannot strengthen on an exercise ball. From stability work for your core, to stretching muscles, to strength and flexibility, the exercise ball is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can buy.

While you are getting the ball, I would strongly recommend a Core work out book as well. This book, also sold on Amazon Balance Ball: Core Cross Train comes very highly recommended.

If you are not sure about what this ball looks like, or want to try it out, stop by the office and you can try mine.

The moral of the story is, the more we can do at home, the more we can protect our investments in the most important thing in the world …. you!

The Worst Position To Put Your Spine In

Bending in a fieldHere in the Northeast, halfway through January we thought we were going to have a mild and easy winter.

Mother Nature had other ideas.

In a short period of time, we got a record amount of snow. Truly a crazy amount.

With all of this snow came the inevitable shoveling, an activity that is not the best for your low back to say the least.

Now that the snow has cleared, people are starting to think about gardening and once again shoveling may come into play.

Here is my issue with shoveling…the worst position that you can put your back in is bending forward and twisting or side bending.

Please allow for a brief anatomy lesson.

As a chiropractor, I work with peoples’ structure to maintain proper weight distribution within their spine. We strive for 50/50 weight distribution between the right and left with 50/50 distribution from front to back.

When we bend forward, the weight shifts to the front of the spine. When we bend to a side, the weight shifts to that side. The body is designed to handle those singular movements.

The problem comes in when we combine the two.

When we bend forward and twist or side bend, all of the weight goes onto 25% of the spine. This creates tremendous pressure within the discs of the low back.

Eventually that pressure has to go somewhere and more often than not it results in a shifting of the structure which then leads to a whole host of secondary conditions, with back pain being at the top of the list.

It may also lead to the disc breaking open, also called a herniation, and that has another whole host of secondary conditions, with sciatica being at the top of that list.

As you get older, you must limit the amount of time you spend bending and twisting. The sad reality is as we age our discs dry out and can handle less pressure. The more we bend and twist/side bend, the higher our chances are of shifting our structure or worse, blowing out a disc.

If you have been spending a lot of time in less than ideal positions, email or call us and we can discuss strategies to help you stay upright and pain free.

 

 

Are You Taking a Weight Loss Supplement?

Runner crossing a metal bridge at sunrise during morning traininIn a quest to stay or get slimmer, many people will take a weight loss supplement.

Do you really know what you are taking? What if I told you that one of the substances could me a close cousin to amphetamines?

Take a look at the ingredient list of a weight loss supplement like Jet Fuel t300, a weight loss supplement easily found on Amazon or in places like the Vitamin Shop. If you read the ingredients list you will see lots of really big words. Two of the words you may see are Acacia Rigidula.

More than a year ago, the FDA concluded that products labeled as having Acacia Rigidula, a perennial shrub found in south Texas and Mexico, instead contained a synthetic chemical cousin to amphetamines called BMPEA.

Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and lead author on this study states, “Acacia Rigidula is code in the industry for a potent synthetic stimulant, they are using the name as a cover.”

BMPEA has not been studied in humans, however, in dogs and cats it has been shown to raise blood pressure and heart rates. The World Anti Doping Agency classifies it as a doping agent due to its close relation to amphetamines.

Amphetamine use has been shown to trigger stroke, heart attack or even death according to Dr. Cohen.

While the American government has not taken formal action yet, Britain and Canada have both spoken out about the product, with the Canadian government recalling products like Jet Fuel Superburn.

If you have any questions about supplements you are taking please feel free to contact us and we will work with you to look at all the ingredients.

Mediterranean Diet and Aging

VegetablesHave you heard of the Mediterranean diet?

If not, please allow me to give a quick synopsis.

The Mediterranean diet consists of eating mostly fruits, vegetable, poultry, whole grains and select fats. If you picture the typical food pyramid, red meats and sweets are at the top, meaning you should limit those. The base of the pyramid is fruits, veggies, whole grains, olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs and spices. The base of the pyramid represents what you should eat the most.

Red wine is also allowed in small amounts, 5oz for women and 10oz for men, per day.

A common misconception in the Mediterranean diet is that bread is not allowed. That is not true. Whole grain bread eaten either plain or dipped in olive oil is definitely included.

Now how does this link to aging?

In a study that followed 4,600 women, women who stuck more closely to a Mediterranean diet were found to have longer telomeres. Telomeres are a biomarker of aging found at the end of each chromosome in the body. Think plastic tip on shoelaces.

The longer the telomere, the longer the longevity. Shorter telomeres are associated with chronic age related diseases and early death.

Are the researchers on to something? Only time will tell, however, there is no doubt that a healthier diet will leave you feeling better.

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!

 

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.