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!

Some Common Sense on Bacon

BreakfastRemember when eggs caused high cholesterol?

Or eating late at night was going to make you fat?

The latest health scare craze is bacon.

Recently the World Health Organization (WHO) released a study that put bacon in the same cancer causing category as cigarrettes.

Yes, that is right, eating bacon is as bad for you as smoking cigarettes. Because that makes sense right?

Let’s take a look at the numbers behind the frenzy.

If you smoke cigarettes, your chance of getting lung cancer goes up 2500%. That’s a lot.

If you eat two slices of bacon everyday, your chance of getting colorectal cancer goes up 18%. That sounds like a lot.

Given the incidence of colorectal cancer runs around 5%, eating that bacon raises your chance to about 6%.

Look, I am not advocating that you eat bacon everyday. Let’s be sensible here.

While it is not OK to have a BLT everyday, having bacon every now and then is certainly nothing to stress about. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that the anxiety over eating a few slices of bacon every now and then, is more damaging then eating the bacon.

I’ll see you at brunch!

6 Pieces of Health Advice For College Students

As the summer winds down and college students start heading back to school, I want to share some time tested health tips that will help students with their studies:

  1. Get Your Rest. School is hard. Trying to study, write papers, and pay attention in class is tough when you are exhausted. Try a short 20 minute nap in the middle of the day. It will get you hours of clarity later on in the day.
  2. Drink Water. Dehydration is huge. Rule of thumb is to drink half of your weight in ounces. That means a 150 pound male would need 75 ounces of water per day.
  3. Exercise. Keeping yourself fit helps your body run with more efficiency. More efficiency means less time getting homework done. Less time getting homework done is a good thing.
  4. Mix in a Salad. While the double cheesburger pizza with a side of Kung Pao Chicken sounds like a good idea at midnight, it is not. With that said, things do happen. Today’s college caf is like a gourmet restaurant. Make great use of the salad bar, your body and brain will thank you.
  5. Practice Good Posture. Take a look around the classroom. See all those people slumped over their desks? Do me a favor and give them my card, they will need me soon. Good posture gives you energy and brightens your mood. These are good things. Don’t sit all slumped over and whatever you do, do not spend all of your time looking down at your phone; hold that thing up a bit!
  6. Visit Your Favorite Chiropractor When Home. What did you expect me to tell you! In all seriousness, periodic spinal checkups can help keep little nagging issues from becoming major problems.

Lastly, and this is not a health tip, have fun. College is an incredible time to learn, explore and make life long friends. Get out there and enjoy it!

Case of the Month April 2015

I have often said, both in the blog and office, that I have the best job on earth.

Recently I had a patient in the office that was hurting. Not only was their low back hurting, he looked like a pretzel as he was all twisted up.

After a thorough history and examination, I determined that he had a significant structural shift that was causing a whole host of secondary conditions. While the low back pain and leg pain were bothering him, it was the problem moving his bowels that was bothering him the most.

After the patient’s first visit, he walked out a little straighter than the when he walked in. While there was not an immediate decrease in pain, not unexpected, the patient was moving a little better.

The cool part is what happened two hours later.

The patient reported he had a bowel movement that, well let’s not get too graphic here, was slightly bigger than usual.

The bodies ability to heal itself never ceases to amaze me.

If we get the structure lined up and allow the body to do what it knows how to do, amazing things can and do happen.

 

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.

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

Looking for More Creativity? Start Walking!

I am a pacer. When I need to really think, I pace. I remember before a big high school hockey game that I was coaching, as the game got closer I started pacing as I was going through the different match ups and decisions I knew I was going to have to make. I was driving the poor athletic trainer crazy as he was watching me.

Turns out I might have been on to something!

It is well known that Steve Jobs was a big believer in walking while coming up with new ideas, even going so far as to have walking meetings. Same goes for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Recently, Stanford University did a study that confirmed you think more creatively when you go for a walk.

They took a group of students and over 4 different experiments they had them complete tasks when sitting and walking.

The results were staggering.

In 3 of the studies people were 81%, 88%, and 100% more creative when walking as opposed to sitting. In the fourth study, the subjects that walked were able to come up with one novel idea 100% of the time as opposed to the sitting group that came up with a novel idea 50% of the time.

Why is this…it appears that there is a causal pathway that extends from the physical act of walking to physiological changes to the proximal cognitive process. Got all that? Me neither!

In a nutshell, walking fires up the brain and allows you to break through some creativity barriers.

The study did mention that people were walking with a natural stride and that walking inside on a treadmill vs outside did not show significant differences.

Bottom line is simple…get off the chair and get moving! Your brain will thank you!

 

Case of the Month March 2014

We had an interesting case here last month. As always the names are changed for privacy.

Have you ever been upclose with a really good dancer and watched the move? I can’t describe it any other way than this…they just move differently than the rest of us.

Beth is a 15 year old dancer that hurt her hip while getting ready for a dance show.

Now, like most kids, Beth didn’t say much about it to anyone and tried to dance through the pain and as the pain got worse Beth’s dancing got worse.

After consulting with her trainer, the trainer recommended she come and see us.

Upon exam I noted that Beth had very little range of motion without pain in her lowback and her SI joint was locked on the right side. Beth rated her pain a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being unbearable.

I adjusted Beth’s SI joint and lower midback. After the first visit, Beth reported her pain was significantly better, now rating it a 4. What excited me was how much more fluidly she was moving.

Within 4 visits Beth reported she was completely pain free and more importantly, was moving with a grace that I could only dream of being able to move with.

What makes my job the coolest one on earth is seeing the smile on a young patient’s face as they get to go back to doing what they love the most.

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Exercise and Your Heart

I read something once that said, “You can’t out exercise a bad diet.” I have to be honest, that one surprised me a bit. Growing up I was always told, as long as you exercise enough, you can pretty much eat what you want, within reason.

Recently, the director of the Boston Marathon, a runner that has run in 130 marathons and several Ironman distance triathalons, was diagnosed with coronary artery disease.

Talk about a shock. How could someone in such good condition get coronary artery disease?

It turns out that while exercise will do wonders for your weight, blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol levels, it may fool you and your doctor into thinking your heart is healthier than it is. Particularly if you are eating a terrible diet.

As more studies come out, there is a growing body of research that running a large amount might (key word) actually damage your heart and arteries.

James O’Keefe, a Kansas City cardiologist and ex triathlete, believes that sustained endurance exercise can damage the heart and recommends no more than 20 miles per week at a modest pace.

To say that not all cardiologists are on board with this thinking is a slight understatement.

What everyone seems to be in agreement with is; as you get older, it is imperative that you continue to get your heart and arteries checked, especially if there is a history of heart disease in your family.

 

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Keeping Your Balance

Balance through movementLet’s be honest, how often have you given your sense of balance any thought? If you are like most of us, never right?

Did you know that falling is the number one source of injuries for people over 65? Every 17 seconds someone is seen in the ER for a fall. Every 30 minutes, someone will die from injuries caused by a fall.

I have to be honest, I didn’t know that until a doctor I know brought it up.

Want to know the good news? Chiropractic helps with balance. Please let me explain.

A region of the brain, called the cerebellum, controls balance by coordinating three systems: vision, inner ear and where you sense your body is, also called propriocepetion.

It also works with the spinal cord, for as we know, the nerves control the whole body and spinal cord is where the nerves for the body originate.

What does Chiropractic influence? That’s right the spinal nerves.

If you would be interested in a case of vertigo that we helped please read our January 2014 Case of the Month.

Let’s discuss some other things you can do to improve your sense of balance.

Get Moving
As you perceive that you are getting a little shaky, people start to get nervous and become sedentary. That is the worst thing you can do.

Go for a walk in a park. Alternate between pavement, trails and grass as the different surfaces will force your muscles to work harder.

Create Unstable Surfaces
Try standing on a couple of pillows at home. Once comfortable, stand on one leg while swinging the other leg in the air.

Once that gets easy, try closing your eyes. Add in upper body in by swinging your right arm and your left leg for 15 seconds, then switch to your left arm and right leg for 15 seconds. Repeat this cycle 3 times.

Strengthen Your Core
People often mistake the core for being your abs only. Your core actually consists of you abdominal muscles, your legs, both front and back, and your low back.

If you are looking for core work a quick Google search will give you more than you could ever want. Hiring a personal trainer is never wasted money!

Yoga
It is well known that yoga can boost balance ability as it increases flexibility as well as strengthening tons of different muscles.

The key to yoga, however, is the emotional component. Studies have shown that people are more confident in their body when they have done yoga.

If you or someone you know is having a hard time with their balance, have them give me a call. We may be able to help them more than they realized.