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.

Are Fevers Good for You?

I had a mom in the office last week telling me that her 7 year old had a fever. I gave the child a high five and said that is awesome, your body is doing what it knows how to do.

To say the mom was shocked at my reaction would be a slight understatement. She wanted to know why I thought this fever was a good thing.

Let’s have a little physiology lesson today!

It is commonly accepted that 98.6 is a normal temperature. This number, however, represents an average. Some people are considered normal at 97.9 and some are 99.1. It is important to remember that.

Now what is a fever? A fever is a rise in the normal body temperature. This rise in temperature is typically due to  infections such as colds and gastroenteritis.

The question begs asking, why does the body feel the need to raise the temperature when you have an infection? In the most simple terms fever is positive evidence of an active immune system, working to help a ton of immunological processes work more effectively.

If the body recognizes that something is not right in the body, let’s say it is a minor infection, and raises the temperature to kill it off, does it make sense to try and suppress what the body is designed to do?

In fact if we do that, aren’t we just letting the infection stay in the body and get stronger?

Think I am crazy? OK, yes I am crazy, however, some pretty smart people agree with not knocking fevers down right away.

In 1980, Dr. Barton D. Schmitt, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, published an article about what he termed “fever phobia.” Many parents, he wrote, believed that untreated fevers might rise to critical levels and that even moderate and low-grade fevers could have serious neurological effects (that is, as parents we tend to suspect that our children’s brains may melt).

A group at Johns Hopkins revisited Dr. Schmitt’s work in 2001, publishing a paper in the journal Pediatrics, “Fever Phobia Revisited” Their conclusion was that the fears and misconceptions persisted.

Of course no one is suggesting that fevers cannot get dangerously high, however, less than 5% of untreated fevers ever reach 104.

When your child has a fever, watch how they are acting and call your doctor. Do not be surprised if the doctor takes a wait and see approach.

 

While you are making phone calls, call your chiropractor as well. More than likely your little person could use an adjustment as well…it does the body good!

 

 

 

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Fitness Apps

As the entire world seems to be going mobile, if you are looking to lose weight, get in better shape or keep track of your diet; do not despair. There is an app for that!

As new apps are constantly being introduced I would like to cover a few of the most popular ones when it comes to your health. Best part of all? These apps are all free!

 Jillian Michaels Fitness Motivation

If any of you have ever seen The Biggest Loser, you know that Jillian Michaels is a popular trainer with a great track record of getting people motivated to work out. Her app has easy to use videos that include stretching, calisthenics and free weights. There is also a section for running and tracking calories.

My Fitness Pal Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker

One of the cool things about this app is that it is Canadian Based. Not sure how many calories are in that Tim Horton breakfast sandwich? This app has an extensive database that you can search. This app works best when you use it as a food diary, exercise tracker and diet coach. It currently boasts a database of over 425,000 food. If you are looking to lose weight, this app will flag how many calories you have remaining in order to meet your daily goal.

7 Minute Workout by Bytesize

This app offers a high intensity workout anytime, anywhere for free! This app will have you moving with 12 30 second long exercises with 10 second breaks between them. The only requirements are you, a wall and a chair. Perfect for anyone traveling that wants to stay in shape.

 Map My Fitness

Congrats that you are out running, walking or hiking. Ever wonder how far you went? This fitness app uses your phones GPS and maps out all of your fitness activities. It can calculate distance, pace, speed, duration, elevation and more.

Sit Up Straight and Drink More Water App

OK so I haven’t created this app yet, however, I should! Poor posture is one of the underlying biggest reasons people end up in pain. Sitting too long slouched over your laptop is no way to treat your spine. And don’t even get me started with text neck! A perfect break from sitting? Walk to the water cooler and do one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself…drink water!

With all of the information available today, there really is no excuse for not working out and watching your diet. As smartphone technology gets better and better, the only thing holding you back is you.

Take some action today, and get the ball rolling!!

Football and Concussions

As a father of two football playing boys and a chiropractor, I have always been nervous about how much impact the boys were receiving to their heads when playing football. After looking at a bunch of different helmets I concluded that Xenith Football helmets offered superior protection to everything else on the market.

Apparently WGBH agrees with me as well.

League of Denial is a recently released documentary that Frontline produced and PBS released. In this documentary Frontline takes a look at what the NFL knew and when they knew it in terms of concussions. Frontline produced a document that in 1999 shows the NFL knew that football and dementia are linked.

Located in Lowell Ma, Xenith has developed a football helmet that is on the cutting edge of shock absorption based on an adaptive energy system that utilizes shock absorbers.

Please take a look at the video below and if your son is considering playing football or is already playing football, please consider having him use a Xenith helmet.

Lastly, if your son or daughter has had a concussion have them see their chiropractor. In my 16 years of practice, I have seen hundreds of kids post concussion and just about every one of them has said they felt significantly better after getting adjusted.

5 Things Successful People Do Before 8 AM

I have to admit, I am a sucker for lists…27 ways to workout better…the 3 things you must know about the President…8 ways to save for retirement.

I don’t know what it is about them but if you write a list I am probably going to read it!

With that said, I came across one of my favorite list articles and thought I would share it with you, with my twist on it.

The 5 Things Successful People Do Before 8 AM:

1. Exercise. This is a no brainer. Honestly, short of your doctor telling you not to do it, there is no reason you aren’t doing something everyday. Do it in the morning…you are MUCH less likely to blow it off.

2. Map Out Your Day. Another way to say this is; begin with the end in mind. What do you want to accomplish today and map it out. Hint: start with excericse!

3. Eat a Healthy Breakfast. I am not a huge eater in the morning. If and when I eat in the morning it is always protein based. That bagel, donut or danish will spike your blood pressure up, however, what goes up must come down. To avoid the 10am sugar crash, eat more protein in the morning.

4. Visualize. Much like #2, mental time in the morning is critically important. Add in a minute or two of meditation and see how much your mood improves

5. Make Your Day Top Heavy. Take a look at your list, and do the most unpleasant task first! Trust me, you will be empowered by this. Plus it won’t be hanging over your head all day, sapping energy from you

Bonus!

6. Drink Water. Get in the habit of drinking water by starting first thing in the morning. Two glasses before 8am gets everything lubricated and helps control hunger.

7. Go see your favorite chiropractor. What did you expect me to say?

Sunburns and Sunscreen

As someone whom is, shall we say, pigment challenged I am fairly close to an expert on sunscreens. Nothing and I truly mean nothing ruins my day more than not having sunscreen on and feeling my skin burn.

This is the first summer that new federal rules require the sunscreen companies to include more information on their labels. If a company wants to say their sunscreen is “broad spectrum”, they must block both UVA and UVB, two of the more harmul types of rays the sun produces. In order to be considered broad sprectrum the SPF must be at least 15.

If a sunblock is not “broad spectrum” it will only prevent sunburns, it will not provide protection from UVA and UVB rays.

Products that boast high SPF levels — claims critics contend are misleading and dangerous — will still be allowed. The FDA says it has no evidence that sunscreens with an SPF above 50 provide any greater protection than those with a lower SPF, but declined to ban the higher ratings, saying more study is needed.

The issue with the higher ratings is that people are more likely to no reapply the sunscreen often enough. A study also showed that people thought they could stay in the sun for longer periods of time if they used the higher SPF. This is a huge mistake!

Apparently Europe has different chemicals in their sunscreens that are much more effective than the American ones. Unfortunately the FDA has not approved these chemicals and appears to be dragging it’s feet in the approval process.

The agency’s new rules for sunscreen labeling prohibit manufacturers from claiming sunscreens are waterproof or sweatproof — claims not backed by science. If a sunblock is water resistant it must state when you need to re-apply for max protection. Currently there are only two options; 40 minutes of 80 minutes.

 

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If You Don’t Get Adjusted Your Organs Will Shut Down

Scare tactics.

Do I believe that Chiropractic is awesome…no doubt. Have I seen it help with a laundry list of problems, like asthma, back pain, bed wetting, ADHD and even high blood pressure? Yes.

Has chiropractic found a cure for these symptoms/conditions? No.

Then what have we done? We helped a stuck spine get moving and as a result the body was able to help itself. Now I am pretty sure you don’t want me to explain to you in painstaking detail as to why this is…you will have to take a slight leap of faith here for the sake of time.

Nothing infuriates me more than a current or new patient coming into my office and telling me they met one of my colleagues. In the process of this meeting, the chiropractor does some form of a scan and proceeds to tell the person that they have a severe subluxation that is compromising their nervous system and putting their organs in danger.

Really…organs in danger…c’mon…who comes up with this stuff.

Chiropractic is wonderful and I have seen it first hand help some people who were at the end of their rope. It doesn’t need to be cheapened with this marketing scare tactic.

Are people healthier when their spine is moving well and there is less stress on the spinal nerves, unquestionable. For the people that are only coming in every now and then for pain relief, are their organs in danger? No.

Many if not most of my colleagues are wonderful doctors. Watch out for the wackadoos…while they are the minority, they seem to be awfully vocal.

Heart Attack on a Plate Anyone?

In a capitalistic society, do companies have any societal obligations or is it just a balance sheet driven world?  Let’s say a company is selling the absolute most un-healthy product you could imagine.  Is there any obligation to society to not produce this product?  What if you know you can sell millions of them and make your shareholders a boatload of money?

Can we have it both ways?  Can we be about capitalism and social obligations?

This post could go in a million different directions but I want to focus on an article that I saw in the Boston Herald today.  The article is on a company that we will call UnFriendly’s, UF for short.

UF has decided to produce a product called the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Burger Melt.  It is described as an Angus burger between two grill cheese sandwiches…what??  Here is the nutritional info for this monstrosity:

  • 1,500 Calories

    Concord MA chiropractor
    Eat a few of these grilled cheese burgers and your arteries will look like the one on the far right.
  • 97 grams of fat (38 saturated)
  • 2090 mg of sodium

Now the FDA has a guideline of what the average diet should look like:

  • 2,000 calories
  • 65 grams of fat (20 saturated)
  • 2,400 mg of sodium

As you can see, one of these grilled cheese/burger combos takes up almost all of the sodium for the day, 3/4 the calories and more than the recommended fat by almost 35 grams.  Now don’t forget this is only 1 burger…you still have the rest of the day to eat.  If you combine this with fries and one of their famous shakes, take a look at how this breaks down:

  • 2710 calories
  • 149 grams of fat (55 saturated)
  • 3880 mg of sodium

This blows the FDA guidelines out of the water, again, this is only 1 meal!!!

So, now that we have talked about the product, lets take a minute to discuss the choices.

Do we have a choice on whether or not to eat this?  Of course we do.

Should we have people telling us we can’t eat it?  Of course not.

Should we have people warning us that this is crap and making the companies publish the nutritional info?  No doubt.

The last question is this…should a company care about the people that it is producing this product for?  There is no doubt there is market demand for this…that is why they produced it.  Does that make it right?

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Marijuana May Cause Cancer

There has been a long held belief that marijuana, while known to cause certain conditions, did not cause cancer. A ruling from California and a latest study are challenging that belief.

The state of California recently added marijuana smoke to the list of chemicals that regulators claim causes cancer. A spokesman for the state said that says the state agency found marijuana (cannabis) smoke contains 33 of the same harmful chemicals as tobacco smoke. Where many studies have shown that tobacco smoke damages DNA in a way that boosts risk for lung and other cancers, until now, it’s been unclear whether cannabis smoke could do the same.

Quick physiology lesson. Cancer is any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division. See when a healthy cell DNA divides everything is cool, when a cell DNA divides abnormally, there is now a problem.

A recent study by Scientists at the University of Leicester contends that marijuana (cannabis) smoke alters DNA, the genetic material located in cells of the human body. Some forms of DNA damage can lead to cancer.

Using newer chemistry techniques, researchers showed that a dangerous chemical, acetaldehyde, is now found in marijuana smoke. It was previously thought that it was only found in tobacco smoke. In a lab setting this chemical caused DNA damage.

The discovery suggests that marijuana smoke may be as harmful, or perhaps even more toxic, than tobacco smoke. In fact, study researchers say that smoking three to four marijuana cigarettes a day causes as much airway damage as smoking 20 or more cigarettes a day.

The state of Massachusetts recently “decriminalized” marijuana. If you get caught with less than an ounce, you get a fine, much like a building code infraction. Where I work with an eclectic group of people, including a lot of 18-24 year olds, I asked them if this decriminalization would make it more likely they would smoke pot.

For the most part people said they wouldn’t change their habits, based whether or not it was decriminalized. These same people did believe, however, that smoking marijuana was not that bad for you.

If you smoke pot or have a friend, child, etc., make sure they take a look at this article. They may be doing more harm to themselves than they think.

The findings of the study I mention above appear in this month’s issue of Chemical Research in Toxicology.

Are You a Real Doctor?

 

Every now and then I get a patient who asks me the above question.  My answer is usually very succinct and revealing, “Depends.”  

Wow, that just clears it all up doesn’t it?

The real answer is, it does depend.  What is your definition of a doctor.  According to Webster a doctor is a person skilled or specializing in healing arts, one (as a physician, dentist, or veterinarian) who holds an advanced degree and is licensed to practice.”

Hmm, that sure sounds an awful lot like what I do.

Another one I get, usually right after I was treating someone in the kind manner that I am known for, “Did you really go to school for this?”  No, you would be amazed at what you can learn from youtube these days!!  Of course I went to school for this.  As a matter of fact here is a breakdown in hours of my science education vs that of an MD, tell me if you can see a difference:

Subject

Chiropractic Schools

Medical Schools

 

Hours

% of Total

Hours

% of Total

Anatomy

570

40

368

31

Biochemistry

150

11

120

10

Microbiology

120

8

120

10

Public Health 

70

5

289

24

Physiology

305

21

142

12

Pathology

205

14

162

14

Total Hours

1,420

100

1,200

100


 As you can see our basic science training is virtually identical.  The MD’s spend more time in public health and we spend more time in anatomy and physiology.

As we both go along in school they take courses that are more medical in nature and we take courses more chiropractic in nature.  According to the Center for Studies in Health Policy, we will take 1975 hours in chiropractic science course work.

Hopefully this will answer those questions as to whether or not we received our training from the back of a matchbook cover 🙂