Schaffstall Chiropractic

As autumn’s outdoor temperatures begin to moderate, many of us look forward to opportunities for vigorous cardio respiratory activities that we put aside in the heat of the summer. It's much easier to hike in the spring and fall, even in the peak afternoon hours, because the sun’s intensity is less harsh.  

Hiking is tremendous fun and is a wonderful form of vigorous exercise for the entire family, including the youngest through the oldest.1 Hiking combines both cardio respiratory and strength training activities, which train not only your heart and lungs but also the large muscle groups of your legs, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the gastrocnemius/soleus muscles of your calves. However, hiking is not like other forms of exercise. As you cannot really do a hike gradually, it's important to have acquired a good level of fitness before you begin to hike. Also, hikers need to be prepared and take along specific supplies. When you hike, it's best to expect the unexpected, and certain basic supplies are critically necessary.

In terms of fitness preparation, beginning hikers should be able to walk four miles at a brisk pace.2 This will allow you to hike a two-mile trail at a modest incline, covering a total of four miles out and back. Doing such a hike a few times will then provide the preparation needed for increasing your hiking distance. Hiking preparation also includes strength training. In a comprehensive strength training program, you train all major muscle groups once a week. This is done by performing "split routines" such as training chest and back, shoulders and arms, and legs on separate days. Your comprehensive strength training program works synergistically with your cardio respiratory exercise. Doing one form of exercise benefits the other activity and the result is substantial improvement in your fitness levels. The overall result is that you are appropriately prepared to hike.

Regarding supplies, every hiker needs a backpack. Your backpack will contain a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, a two-liter water bottle, some trail mix and protein bars, a GPS-capable phone, a map and compass (as low-tech backups to your phone's GPS), and a lightweight rain slicker or waterproof poncho. Each of these items is necessary for a safe and enjoyable hike. You don't want to run out of water or snacks. You don't want to get sun burnt or rained on. And you certainly don't want to get lost. By Murphy's Law, the supply that you neglect or forget to bring is the one you will need on that hike. The best policy is to always be prepared.

With appropriate preparation, hiking will provide you and your family years of enjoyment of the natural world and will enhance your health and well-being for years to come.


1.     Gutwenger I, et al: Pilot study on the effects of a 2-week hiking vacation at moderate versus low altitude on plasma parameters of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in patients with metabolic syndrome. BMC Res Notes. 2015 Mar 28;8:103. doi: 10.1186/s13104-015-1066-3

2.     Walker JR, et al: U.S. Cohort Differences in Body Composition Outcomes of a 6-Month Pedometer-Based Physical Activity Intervention: The ASUKI Step Study. Asian J Sports Med 2014 Dec;5(4):e25748. doi: 10.5812/asjsm.25748. Epub 2014 Dec 1

3.     Hartescu I, et al: Increased physical activity improves sleep and mood outcomes in inactive people with insomnia: a randomized controlled trial. J Sleep Res 24(5):526-34, 2015

This feasibility study was conducted to further the development of a line of investigation into the potential effects of spinal manipulation/manual therapy (chiropractic care) on cervicogenic dizziness, balance, and neck pain in adults.

Dizziness is a common problem that can often lead to disability or psychologic distress in middle-aged and older adults.1-3 A subcategory of dizziness is cervicogenic dizziness, characterized by symptoms of sensations of excessive motion, imbalance, or spinning associated with neck pain and stiffness.4 Cervicogenic dizziness is thought to be caused by abnormal sensory afferent stimulation in the cervical spine.5 Presently, there is some evidence to advocate the use of spinal manipulation (SM) or other manual therapy (MT) techniques for this condition.

A large effect size was calculated for the SF-BBS. Most patients demonstrated improved balance, and some showed reduced dizziness and neck pain after 8 weeks of chiropractic care.

1. Yardley L., Owen N., Nazareth I., Luxon L. Prevalence and presentation of dizziness in a general practice community sample of working age people. Br J Gen Pract.1998;48(429):1131–1135. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

2. Colledge N.R., Wilson J.A., Macintyre C.C., MacLennan W.J. The prevalence and characteristics of dizziness in an elderly community. Age Ageing. 1994;23(2):117–120.[PubMed]

3. Sloane P., Blazer D., George L.K. Dizziness in a community elderly population. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1989;37(2):101–108. [PubMed]

4. Wrisley D.M., Sparto P.J., Whitney S.L., Furman J.M. Cervicogenic dizziness: a review of diagnosis and treatment. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2000;30(12):755–766. [PubMed]

5. Brandt T., Bronstein A.M. Cervical vertigo. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2001;71(1):8–12. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Over $80 billion are spent each year on drugs to relieve heartburn, acid reflux, bloating, gas, irritable bowel, constipation, diarrhea and other digestive disorders. These symptoms of abnormal digestive are becoming increasingly more prevalent in our society. Science and research have shown that chiropractic care offers a powerful solution to this modern-day epidemic.

The nervous system controls digestive function from several different regions. The vagus nerve which courses out of the brain stem and runs near the atlas bone innervates all the major organs of digestion and functions to stimulate the digestive process. Other major areas controlling the pace of digestion include the sympathetic nerves coming out of the thoracic & lumbar regions and the sacral parasympathetic nerve fibers. Spinal misalignment in any of these regions can lead to neurological compromise and altered digestive function.

Wellness oriented chiropractors search for the location of such spinal misalignments termed `subluxations.` A specific chiropractic adjustment realigns the altered regions and restores nerve supply to the deficient organs. This approach honors the body's innate ability to heal and works to harmonize this incredible life force in order to enhance organ function & quality of life.

Several studies have demonstrated the power of chiropractic adjustments restoring optimal function in individuals with digestive disturbances. In a published case study, a young woman had been afflicted with IBS symptoms once or twice a week for 5 years. After one adjustment she noticed an easing of symptoms and within a short time all her digestive problems disappeared. When the report was published 2 years later she was still symptom free.

A 2008 study demonstrated how effective chiropractic care is for infants with digestive disturbances. Researchers chose three infants who were experiencing infrequent bowel movements from once a week to once every 3 or 4 days. Parents of these infants had tried several different laxatives and other procedures recommended by their medical staff. They had also followed specific dietary changes and the use of cod liver oil and mineral oil without any results.

The infants began wellness oriented chiropractic for periods ranging from three weeks to three months. According to the study author Dr. Larry S.Arbeitman, D.C., ` All three experienced almost immediate improvement. By the end of the study all three had bowel movements at least once every day.`

Subluxations within specific areas of the spine can prevent the bowel from functioning properly. Throughout the years it has been common place to see instances of people of all ages who have not had a bowel movement for days experience almost immediate relief after an adjustment. Regular chiropractic care can help patients establish a more natural rhythm of comfortable, effortless elimination.

Wagner, T., J. Owen, E. Malone, and K. Mann. 1996. Irritable bowel syndrome and spinal manipulation: a case report. Chiropractic Technique 7:139-40.

Marko, S. 1994. Case study: The Effect of Chiropractic care on an infant with problems of constipation. Chiropractic Pediatrics 1().

Hewitt, E.G. 1993. Chiropractic treatment of a 7-month-old with chronic constipation: a case report. Chiropractic Technique 5(3):101-3.

"The successful chiropractic care of pediatric patients with chronic constipation: A case study and selective review of the literature," Clinical Chiropractic (2008) 11, 138-147.

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Mindfulness has become a very hot topic and is now consistently featured in mass media. This may be considered a good thing, as more and more of us allow ourselves to become distracted throughout the day by the never-ending onslaught of text messages, emails, and the pings of calendar reminders. Instead of turning off our phones, we persist in peering down at them, and our awareness of the world around us becomes dim and dimmer as the pull of our technological devices becomes ever stronger. The important solution to our loss of presence and control is the willingness to take on a mindfulness practice.

Mindfulness may be practiced in many forms, including breath awareness, guided imagery, and meditation. All methods are effective to the extent that we are consistent in our practice. A person may derive as much benefit from one form of mindfulness practice as from another, and one should trust one's instincts regarding the specific method with which to begin.

The primary benefit of mindfulness practice, of course, is the generation of awareness.1,2 It's so easy to let the hours of the day slip by without any real sense of what is occurring. By the time we get ready for bed, we often think, "where did the day go?" As days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years, we may quickly have the experience of our lives slipping away, of losing control of the content and quality of our lives. The ongoing rush of the stream of time cannot be stopped, but we can subjectively slow things down dramatically by increasing our levels of awareness.

For example, when a Major League Baseball player is consistently seeing the ball well and spraying hits to all portions of the ballpark, his coach will say the player has "slowed the game down." The player himself will say, "when I'm in the groove, I feel like I can see the seams on the ball." Such an experience is that of heightened awareness. All of us have had the experience, after some sort of meaningful life event, that we were much more aware of the colors of the sky, trees, and flowers, and the songs of our neighborhood birds were much brighter and sweeter. At such times, we're able to notice, in great detail, the things that are actually going on all around us.3 For a brief while, our enjoyment of and participation in life becomes that much greater. We may even notice, regretfully, the loss of that expanded sense of being once it has faded away. Engaging in mindfulness practice is the key to obtaining and enhancing self-awareness. In this way, we are enabled to become healthier, happier, and more effective human beings.

1.   Brown KW, et al: Mindfulness Enhances Episodic Memory Performance: Evidence from a Multimethod Investigation. PLoS One 2016 Apr 26;11(4):e0153309. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153309. eCollection 2016.

2.   Bilevicius E, et al: Banks JB, et al: The protective effects of brief mindfulness meditation training. Conscious Cogn 2015 May;33:277-85. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2015.01.016. Epub 2015 Feb 10.

3.   Altered Neural Activity Associated with Mindfulness during Nociception: A Systematic Review of Functional MRI. Brain Sci 2016 Apr 19;6(2). pii: E14. doi: 10.3390/brainsci6020014.

Cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) is characterized by recurrent, discrete episodes of nausea and vomiting separated by intervals of normal health.  An underlying cause is often not apparent. Onset is most common during preschool or early school years though CVS may begin at any age, from infancy onward.

Considering the anatomical relationship between the upper cervical spine and the dura, as well as, the link between myodural traction and migraine disorders, it seems reasonable that the chiropractic adjustment of the occiput bone had a direct impact on relieving dural irritation ultimately leading to the resolution of the patient’s cyclic vomiting symptoms.

Constipation is classically defined as having a bowel movement fewer than three times a week. In reality, one or more bowel movements a day are healthy and anything les should be a concern. With constipation, stools are usually hard, dry, small in size, and difficult to eliminate. Some people who are constipated find it painful to pass a stool and often experience straining, bloating, and the sense of a full bowel.

Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. Almost everyone experiences constipation at some point in their life, and a poor diet, lack of hydration or lack of exercise typically is the cause. Most constipation is temporary and not serious and lifestyle changes will help relieve symptoms and help prevent them from recurring. These changes may include adding high-fiber foods to the diet, drinking enough water so as not to become dehydrated and engaging in daily exercise. When this fails to offer relief, the problem may be related to the nerve system, and chiropractic can help.

How Chiropractic Care Relates to Constipation

Chiropractic adjustments (particularly in the lower spine) may help relieve constipation.

Muscles in the intestine push the stool to the anus, where the stool leaves the body. Special nerve cells in the intestine, called ganglion cells make the muscles push. These nerves connect directly to the celiac ganglion, which also innervates the stomach, liver, gallbladder, spleen, kidney, small intestine, and the ascending and transverse colon. The celiac ganglion, in turn connects to the spinal cord (and brain) through nerve roots that exit the spine in the lower thoracic and upper lumbar region.

Pressure on these nerve roots caused by misalignment of the vertebrae in this area (which chiropractic can fix) may interfere with the normal function of the bowel as well as other organs of the digestive system. Depending on the specific circumstances, sometimes one adjustment fixes the problem and other times routine chiropractic maintenance is required.

Many of us want to improve our level of fitness, but don't know what to do or how to begin. Others have begun a fitness program, but don't know what types of activities to include to make their program more comprehensive and healthful. Yet others have been exercising for a while, but don't know how to keep going or how to make their exercise activities appropriately challenging. Most of us have encountered such questions and the lack of sufficient answers may represent roadblocks to our effective participation in regular vigorous exercise. The good news is practical answers are available and adaptable to all persons, regardless of their age of current level of physical fitness.

Of course, the most important thing about exercise is actually doing some. And, although any exercise is better than none at all, achieving and sustaining optimal good health requires doing at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. What is needed is the will to commit to and ongoingly engage in such activity. For most people, the hard part is getting started. But once you choose to take action on your own behalf, the many benefits and sheer physical joy in doing something that is so good for you pretty much take over. You find yourself looking forward with glad anticipation to the next round of exercise and it becomes easier and easier to get up in the morning and go out for your walk or run or go to the pool or the gym. Not too long after you begin your exercise program, you find these activities have become an integral, important, necessary component of your life and your daily routine.

A complete program of regular vigorous exercise consists of both cardiorespiratory exercise and strength training. Cardiorespiratory exercise1,2 is directed at causing your heart and lungs to become stronger, with the result that your heart pumps more blood on each beat and your lungs take in more air on each breath. Thus, cardiorespiratory exercise makes your heart and lungs more efficient. Tasks that previously left you huffing and puffing now are easy to accomplish. Regular cardiorespiratory exercise puts a new spring in your step. Your heart and lungs are now doing what they were designed to do, without unneeded effort or strain.

Similarly, a comprehensive strength training program, one that trains your chest, back, shoulders, arms, and legs, increases the overall strength of your musculoskeletal system.3 Typically, combined with a healthy diet, strength training causes people to lose fat and add lean muscle mass. The increased sense of muscular power you derive from strength training also leads to an increased sense of confidence and well-being.

We can choose that every day is a training day. We're training for life, that is, for a lifetime of health and well-being. The types and forms of exercise you should do are those that work for you. These activities are the ones you enjoy and feel good about doing. As always, the key is to get started and keep going.

1-Hellsten Y, Nyberg M: Cardiovascular Adaptations to Exercise Training. Compr Physiol 6(1):1-32, 2015
2-Burich R, et al: Aerobic training alone or combined with strength training affects fitness in elderly: Randomized trial. Eur J Sport Sci 15(8):773-783, 2015
3-Orlando G, et al: Neuromuscular dysfunction in type 2 diabetes: underlying mechanisms and effect of resistance training. Diabetes Metab Res Rev 32(1):40-50, 2016

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition where the median nerve which travels through the wrist is being compressed, causing pain and numbness in the hand. The carpal tunnel contains tendons that control finger movement. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome stems from prolonged repetitive use causing an irritation or compression of the median nerve.

The compression present in carpal tunnel syndrome (or ‘pinched nerve’) does not always occur at the wrist. A pair of nerve roots emerges from the spinal cord at each vertebral level of the spine and the median nerve is formed by several nerve roots emerging from the lower part of the neck. From there, the median nerve travels down the arm to the wrist and hand and can become entrapped anywhere along its path.

There are many identifiable symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. These include painful tingling in the hands, weakness in fingers, feelings of swelling in fingers with no apparent swelling, and shooting pain through the wrist and hand. This pain is most often at its worst in the evening, and particularly affects the thumb and first two fingers.

Carpal Tunnel can originate from a number of activities, the most common of which being repetitive keyboard typing. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome develops most commonly in people aged 40-60, particularly women. Certain lifestyle factors can also influence Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, such as cigarette smoking and high caffeine and alcohol use.

It is important to remember that not all wrist pain is attributable to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome such as shooting pain, weakness and tingling may also be the result of an irritation of the nerves in the neck, nerve entrapment in the elbow or a previous autoimmune injury. Thorough examination by a chiropractor can determine whether your wrist pain is due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or another musculoskeletal condition.

There are many helpful Carpal Tunnel Syndrome remedies. While some medical professionals suggest surgery to remove the pressure on the nerves, more conservative and less invasive and painful options are available. Treatment by the chiropractor may involve joint adjustment or mobilization, massage, stretching, trigger point therapy, splinting, rehabilitative exercises, ice and heat.

Splinting of the wrists is common for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, to stabilize the wrist and prevent further damage from excessive movement. While this can provide relief to symptoms, it can occasionally result in the wrist muscles becoming weak and lazy. A chiropractor can monitor the progress of any splinting, and recommend alternative treatments if splinting is not the preferred option. Behavior modification may be necessary, and advice can be given by your chiropractor as to how to implement changes in your work and daily life. Paying attention to proper ergonomic principles and posture can also help overcome Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Current evidence shows significant short-term benefit from splinting, ultrasound, yoga and carpal bone mobilization.

The nervous system and immune system are hardwired and work together to create optimal responses for the body to adapt and heal appropriately. Neural dysfunctions due to spinal misalignments are stressful to the body and cause abnormal changes that lead to a poorly coordinated immune response. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to boost the coordinated responses of the nervous system and immune system.

The autonomic nervous system is hardwired into the lymphoid organs such as the spleen, thymus, lymph nodes, and bone marrow that produce the body's immune response. Growing evidence is showing that immune function is regulated in part by the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system.

Subluxation is the term for misalignments of the spine that cause compression and irritation of nerve pathways affecting organ systems of the body. Subluxations are an example of physical nerve stress that affects neuronal control. According to researchers, such stressful conditions lead to altered measures of immune function & increased susceptibility to a variety of diseases.

Inflammatory based disease is influenced by both the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. Nerve stimulation directly affects the growth and function of inflammatory cells. Researchers found that dysfunction in this pathway results in the development of various inflammatory syndromes such as rheumatoid arthritis and behavioral syndromes such as depression. Additionally, this dysfunctional neuro-endo-immune response plays a significant role in immune-compromised conditions such as chronic infections and cancer.

Wellness based chiropractors analyze the spine for subluxations and give corrective adjustments to reduce the stress on the nervous system. A 1992 research group found that when a thoracic adjustment was applied to a subluxated area the white blood cell (neutrophil) count collected rose significantly.

In 1975, Ronald Pero, Ph.D., chief of cancer prevention research at New York's Preventive Medicine Institute and professor in Environmental Health at New York University, began researching the most scientifically valid ways to estimate individual susceptibility to various chronic diseases. He has conducted a tremendous amount of research in this area that includes over 160 published reports in peer reviewed journals.

Pero and his colleagues discovered that various DNA-repairing enzymes could be significantly altered following exposure to carcinogenic chemicals. He found strong evidence that an individual's susceptibility to cancer could be determined by these enzymes. Lack of those enzymes, Pero said, 'definitely limits not only your lifespan, but also your ability to resist serious disease consequences.'

Pero was fascinated by the relationship cancer-inducing agents had on the endocrine system. Since the nervous system regulates hormone balance, he hypothesized that the nervous system had to also have a strong influence on one's susceptibility to cancer.

To support this argument he found a substantial amount of literature linking various kinds of spinal cord injuries and cancer. Pero found that these injuries led to a very high rate of lymphomas and lymphatic leukemias. This understanding led Pero to consider Chiropractic care as a means of reducing the risk of immune breakdown and disease.

Pero's team measured 107 individuals who had received long-term Chiropractic care. The chiropractic patients were shown to have a 200% greater immune competence than people who had not received chiropractic care, and a 400% greater immune competence than people with cancer or serious diseases. Interestingly, Pero found no decline with the various age groups in the study demonstrating that the DNA repairing enzymes were just as present in long-term chiropractic senior groups as they were in the younger groups.

Pero concluded, 'Chiropractic may optimize whatever genetic abilities you have so that you can fully resist serious disease...I have never seen a group other than this show a 200% increase over normal patients.'

Kent, Christopher. Models of Vertebral Subluxation: A Review. Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research. August 1996, Vol 1:1. Pg 4-5

Sternberg EM, Chrousos GP, Wilder RL, Gold PW. The stress response and the regulation of inflammatory disease. Ann Intern Med 1992; 117 (10):854

Brennan PC, Triano JJ, McGregor M, et al. Enhanced neutrophil respiratory burst as a biological marker for manipulation forces: duration of the effect and association with substance P and tumor necrosis factor. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1992; 15(2):83

The late Larry Webster, D.C., Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association(ICPA), developed a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment which enables chiropractors to establish balance in the pregnant woman’s pelvis and reduce undue stress to her uterus and supporting ligaments.

This balanced state in the pelvis has been clinically shown to allow for optimal fetal positioning. The technique is known as the Webster Technique.

It is considered normal by some for a baby to present breech until the third trimester. Most birth practitioners are not concerned with breech presentations until a patient is 37 weeks along. Approximately 4% of all pregnancies result in a breech presentation.

The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported in the July/August 2002 issue an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique.

Further, the results from the study suggest it may be beneficial to perform the Webster Technique, as soon as the 8th month of pregnancy, when a woman has a breech presentation.

Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) recommends women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy.

With a balanced pelvis, babies have a greater chance of moving into the correct position for birth, and the crisis and worry associated with breech and posterior presentations may be avoided altogether.

Optimal baby positioning at the time of birth also eliminates the potential for dystocia (difficult labor) and, therefore, results in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and baby.

In decades past, very few urban kids had ever even heard of a parsnip, a fennel bulb, or a bunch of kale. In those days, fruit and vegetable consumption typically consisted of apples, bananas, corn, potatoes, peas, and lettuce. Oranges were infrequent and grapefruit was a rarity. Today a veritable cornucopia of produce is available year-round, providing the possibility for substantial variety in a family's daily diet. But with the exception of families that include dedicated foodies, most diets could still be considered reasonably barren with respect to consumption of a range of healthful fruits and vegetables. Importantly, taking the single step of providing a variety of produce for the daily table will lead to multiple benefits in terms of health and wellness.1

Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is so valuable that this daily habit ranks high on the list of federal health and public policy recommendations focusing on nutrition. In the United States, the Department of Agriculture has launched the ChooseMyPlate campaign to support public policy, highlighting the five main food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. The ChooseMyPlate program recommends that fully one-half of every plate of food consist of fruits and vegetables.

Physiologically, all bodily systems, most especially the gastrointestinal system and immune system, depend on nutrition gained from fruits and vegetables.2,3 Consuming fresh produce daily enables the gastrointestinal system, that is, your stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, to process food effectively and facilitate the transit of food throughout the stomach and intestines. Deficiency of fresh fruits and vegetables will slow transit time, resulting in blockage, bloating, and compromised regularity. Similarly, immune system functioning depends critically on the availability of specific nutrients derived from fresh produce. These nutrients, known as phytochemicals, provide biochemicals that aid immune system cells such as neutrophils, macrophages, and natural killer cells in defending the body against bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic disease-causing invaders.

Nature has provided us with an easy means of identifying the types of produce that contain the most healthful nutrition: the more colorful the fruit or vegetable, the more phytochemicals and other nutrients it contains. For example, foods rich in phytochemicals include blueberries, carrots, greens such as kale and chard, broccoli, apples, oranges, beets, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Produce such as bananas do not contain many phytochemicals, but are still valuable sources of complex carbohydrates.

Thus, all of us, both children and adults, need our daily portions of fresh fruits and vegetables. Of course, merely having this information is not sufficient. Action is required. A four-week trial of adding fresh produce to your family's daily diet should provide many indicators of the available health benefits of these marvelous foods. Such evidence will likely be sufficient to cause a healthful long-term shift in your family's dietary habits with numerous positive outcomes in the years to come.


1Zhang YJ, et al: Antioxidant Phytochemicals for the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Diseases. Molecules 20(12): 21138-21156, 2015
2Guillermo Gormaz J, et al: Potential Role of Polyphenols in the Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases: Molecular Bases. Curr Med Chem. 2015 Nov 27. [Epub ahead of print]
3Ghosh N, et al: Chronic Inflammatory Diseases: Progress and Prospect with Herbal Medicine. Curr Pharm Des. 2015 Nov 12. [Epub ahead of print]

Doctor, is there anything chiropractic can do for bed-wetting? This is a question parents sometimes ask of the chiropractor. Usually, this question is asked when other methods of treatment have been tried and found ineffective.

Bed-wetting (enuresis) is another of the many reasons why parents bring their children to see the chiropractor. What can the doctor of chiropractic do for this problem?

In this issue, we will take a look at reasons why chiropractors have been able to correct this problem when other treatments have failed. We will also look at the conflicting evidence presented in the scientific literature relating to the effectiveness of the chiropractor adjusting the child's spine to correct this problem.

Most children wet the bed for the first few years of life, but by the age of 4 to 5 years old, most children should be able to establish proper bladder control. Enuresis refers to the inability of a child to establish this proper bladder control resulting in either daytime or nocturnal involuntary urination.

Primary enuresis occurs in a child over five years of age, who has never been able to establish proper bladder control. Secondary enuresis is the diagnosis for the child who has been able to establish proper bladder control, but who has since lapsed back to wetting the bed. Occasionally a pathological mechanism such as neurogenic bladder may be responsible, but usually no such cause can be identified.

In most cases, bed-wetting is considered as just an unfortunate childhood problem, and no outside treatment is sought. The parents are frequently prepared to simply wait until the child grows out of it, and in most cases these problems go untreated.

The traditional chiropractic approach to treating the child who is a bed-wetter is to adjust the spine, usually in the area of the lumbar spine or sacrum. A review of the anatomy and physiology of the bladder may help us understand why these areas are chosen as the prime target.

Bladder Anatomy and Physiology

Emptying of the urinary bladder is controlled by the detrusor and trigone muscles. The nerve supply to these muscles is via the sacral parasympathetic nerves from S2 to S4.

Appropriate bladder function is also controlled by the urogenital diaphragm which derives its nerve supply from the L2 spinal nerve.

Development of the Sacrum

The sacrum (or tailbone) develops as five separate segments. These segments remain separated until a child reaches puberty, at which time fusion of one sacral segment to another commences. Eventually, the sacrum will be one single bone with all five segments fused together, but this does not occur until the mid-20s.

Because the sacrum consists of separate segments during the early years of life, it is possible that misalignment of these segments can cause nerve irritation or facilitation. This nerve facilitation, especially to the area of the bladder, may be the cause of the inappropriate bladder function associated with bed-wetting.

As we have seen, the developing sacrum in the early childhood years remains highly mobile, existing as separate spinal segments. During this period, the sacrum can be subjected to repeated trauma from childhood falls and the early attempts at walking. This early trauma to the sacrum may be the major reason why bed-wetting in some patients ceases after the spine is adjusted.

Is the Spine the Cause of all Enuresis?

Adjustment of the sacral segments in the bed-wetter has an anecdotal history of effectiveness throughout the years. Recent studies, however, would appear to disagree with such claims. One such study from Australia1 concluded that spinal adjusting offered little help for enuresis, while another study2 suggested that good results could be obtained. This apparent disagreement may suggest nothing more than bed-wetting is due to several causes, one of which is spine related. Children with a spinal cause respond while those with other causes of bed-wetting do not.

The conclusion would therefore appear to be to have all children who are bed-wetters evaluated for the possibility of spinal problems as the underlying cause.


1.    LeBoeuf, et al: Chiropractic Care of Children with Nocturnal Enuresis. JMPT, 14(2):February 1991.

2.    Gemmell and Jacobson: Chiropractic Management of Enuresis. JMPT, 12(5):1989.

FROM: Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2009 (Dec);   8 (4):   156–164 

Richard G. Strunk, DC, Cheryl Hawk, DC, PhD 

Assistant Professor, 
Clinical Sciences/Research, 
Cleveland Chiropractic College, 
Overland Park, KS.

OBJECTIVE:   This feasibility study was conducted to further the development of a line of investigation into the potential effects of spinal manipulation/manual therapy on, balance, cervicogenic dizziness, and neck pain in adults.

METHODS:   A single-group, preexperimental, feasibility study was conducted at a chiropractic college health center and a senior fitness center with a target sample size of 20 patients (40 years or older). Patients were treated by either a clinician or a chiropractic student intern for 8 weeks. The Dizziness Handicap Inventory was the primary outcome measurement, with the Short Form Berg Balance Scale (SF-BBS) and the Neck Disability Index used as secondary outcome measurements.

RESULTS:   Twenty-seven patients were recruited over a period of 13 months. Twenty-one patients enrolled in the study; but because of 2 dropouts, 19 patients completed the treatment. A median Dizziness Handicap Inventory change score of +7 points was calculated for those dizziness patients, with 3 patients improving by at least 18 points, indicating a clinically meaningful change. Seven of the 15 patients who performed the SF-BBS attained at least a 4-point improvement with an effect size of 1.2. A median Neck Disability Index change score of +1 was calculated for those patients with neck pain. Twelve minor adverse reactions were reported by 8 patients, with 3 of those reactions lasting longer than 24 hours.

CONCLUSION:   A large effect size was calculated for the SF-BBS. Most patients demonstrated improved balance, and some showed reduced dizziness and neck pain.

Arthritis is known by many names—but all of them indicate a condition that can be both painful and debilitating. In some manifestations, it is an autoimmune disorder of the joints, and in other it occurs when the cartilage that lines the joint surfaces wears out. In fact, it comprises over 100 diseases and conditions. Chiropractic has been proven remarkably effective in treating arthritis and its symptoms, both in genetic and non-genetic related forms of arthritis.

How Can Chiropractic Help Arthritis?

Chiropractic for arthritis addresses the practical issue of getting the body to move more freely. Once the body is aligned to move with fewer restrictions, the need for pain-relieving medications lessens, or disappears altogether.

Chiropractic as a regular treatment will also help prevent arthritis, or at least its damaging effects. This form of prevention is probably the most crucial benefit in treating the disease. The lifestyle changes and therapies associated with chiropractic will influence diet, exercise, and maintaining the body’s alignment that practitioners believe will offset health problems that might accompany arthritis. Proper weight and a healthy immune system are both important factors in limiting the devastating effects of all forms of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Chiropractic—and the holistic health practices that often accompany it—offers multiple benefits in offsetting the dreaded effects of this disease that can take so many undesirable forms for so many people.

Why use Chiropractic for Arthritis?

The basis for Chiropractic care is centered in the body’s ability to heal itself. By correcting joint and spine dislocations, a chiropractor helps increase range of motion in the body, which assists in movement. Chiropractic and its complementary treatments, which include nutrition and lifestyle choices such as exercise and massage therapy, can be used as a preventive measure in developing arthritis or to help relieve the serious mobility issues. Because Chiropractic focuses on physical manipulation, joints can be directly adjusted in order to reduce pain. In general, the stiffness and pain that can result from various forms of arthritis can be alleviated with chiropractic treatment.

Once arthritis occurs does occur, chiropractic’s use of spinal manipulation can result in the diminishing of pain by assisting the overall physical health, resulting in greater ease of movement and decreased fluid build up in the joints that often accompanies arthritic conditions. The use of massage in chiropractic care can also ease stiffness and encourage movement. The application of heat and cold presses has been shown to ease arthritic pain. The use of electrical stimulation in chiropractic treatment is believed to stimulate pain-inhibiting chemicals in the human body, also known as endorphins, and block the nerve fibers that are responsible for pain.

Using chiropractic instead of prescription medicines for pain relief, or over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), can reduce the chances of experiencing harmful side effects from long-term use. It offers a non-invasive method of maintaining physical health and addresses such conditions as arthritis in a way that will offer freedom of movement without the deteriorating effects that might come with medication.

Chiropractic care has been known to help ease physical pains, but new findings have opened a door of hope for those who seek alternative depression/anxiety treatment to mainstream medication.

A recent study published in theJournal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research found that upper cervical chiropractic care could help lessen anxiety and symptoms of depression.

Decrease in Physical Pain Can Lead to Mental Clarity

Researchers conducted the study based on a 12 sessions of chiropractic intervention for individuals with anxiety and depression symptoms.

"Four of the five study completers expressed satisfaction with the outcome and that they would recommend similar care to others with anxiety or depression," study researcher Dr. Larry Arbeitman said. "Participants also reported a decrease in muscle tension and pain and an increase in mental clarity and physical energy."

While researchers from the study were careful to say chiropractic care does not cure depression, it is important to understand the role it can play to relieve pain associated with depression.

Breaking the Cycle of Pain

Some people experience common chronic pain that can be caused by headaches, lower back pain or arthritis. Depression is the most common emotion associated with chronic pain. In fact, depression occurs three to four times more in people with chronic pain than in the general population.

People with chronic pain and depression can suffer changes in their physical, mental and social capacities and their quality of life. Chronic pain can cause difficulty in sleep, agitation, and people cannot perform their normal activities in their daily routine or concentrate.

This combination of pain can lead to a vicious cycle because it leads to depression, which leads to more chronic pain. Sometimes depression can occur before the chronic pain but nonetheless create a cycle.

But through "spinal manipulation," also known as "chiropractic adjustment," patients can have mobility restored into their joints and alleviate their physical pain, which can also lead to mental alleviation and milder depression symptoms.

Source: American Chiropractic AssociationJournal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research

Many people feel it’s simply OK to have allergies. That it’s quite normal to be allergic because so many other people are also afflicted. That it’s OK to have a season for coughing, blowing, wheezing and sneezing. It’s not.

Thousands of children (and their parents) in communities all over the country, are affected by this allergy “thing.” For those of you who haven’t, you’re looked upon with envy at certain times of year. Millions of hard earned dollars are spent on over-the-counter drugs, weekly shots and physician visits. Then there’s time-off from school (or work) and the effect of little “Sneezy” on the family.

The toll from allergies is immense. It may sound appalling, but that toll is much to the delight of the pharmaceutical companies. There’s great profit at stake! Many parents don’t question why their children or even themselves have allergies. It has just become an accepted fact of life. Allergies seem to be a problem with no apparent solution. Why is that?

What makes one child allergic and another not? Why would one child be allergic to cats, dogs, fur, feathers, grasses, tree pollens and my all-time favorite, peanut butter? We all live on the same planet. We’re all essentially the same. If I took one individual with allergies and one without and boiled them down to their essentials, I would end up with approximately 32 kilograms of chemicals. The rest would be water, but the chemical composition would be the same in both individuals.

The difference is most often seen in how one child’s body is able to adapt to her environment and another is not.

Simply put, an allergy is the inability of your child’s body to handle something that is in their immediate environment pollen from trees, grasses, flowers or peanuts. (There are also allergies to drugs, harsh detergents and other chemical agents. These allergies are seen as a protective reaction and are not the type I am discussing.) In other words, your child seems to be very sensitive to the pollen or dust in her environment. This is called being hypersensitive. Something is making your child’s body hypersensitive to a perfectly normal part of the environment! If that’s the case, what should the solution be? Would it include getting rid of all the flowers, trees, grasses and peanuts? Or does it make more sense to try and make your child’s body function normally so it can handle his or her environment in a normal fashion?

Reboot Your Child’s “Computer”

It’s the nervous system that runs your child’s body in a perfect manner, his or her own personal internal Internet. As long as the nervous system is able to control all functions of the body with no interference, your child should have the best body function and health possible. If, however, there is interference to the normal function of this system, your child’s body will not be able to function.

The nervous system is also in total control of the immune system. As a matter of fact, many researchers now feel that the nervous system and the immune system are actually the same. So it stands to reason that if the nervous system and the immune system are not allowed to function normally, your child will react poorly to pollens, food and her environment. 
Chiropractors call this interference to the nervous system a vertebral subluxation. It can be a serious health hazard because it affects the computer system which runs you! By correcting these vertebral subluxations, the nervous system and immune system are allowed to function normally and your child has a better chance of successfully dealing with allergies.

Many researchers are also very concerned about the effect of the current, approved vaccination program on the immune systems of our children. They see the glut of allergies as the direct result of the vaccine assault. Sadly, the medical treatment for allergies doesn’t recognize this nor does it offer anything but symptomatic relief through drugs more toxins for the body to deal with.

I suggest that if you or your children are “mysteriously afflicted” with allergies, a trip to your family chiropractor, naturopath and homeopath should be top on your list of priorities.

Athletes place a high physical demand on their bodies. They ask the body to work like a finely tuned, well-oiled machine. The rigorous training and competition schedules leave little time for injuries. Perhaps this is why almost every professional team in sports has a chiropractor looking after its athletes. As an example, 95% of NFL teams will employ chiropractors regularly to treat their players.1

Professional sport involves a combi­nation of: coordination, balance, strength and flexibility. To reach the pinnacle of achievement in any sport, requires split-second reflexes, peak structural strength and stability and a will and determination to keep going when the going gets really, really tough. It requires a body that is functioning at its highest capacity.

How Does This Relate to Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a healing art that focuses its attention on the function of the spine, and the precious nerve tissue (the spinal cord) that is encased in it. When it is aligned properly, the spine’s hard bony shell protects the spinal cord from damage, while its 26 separate moving parts (the vertebrae) provide a perfect combination of stability and flexibility to allow for a myriad of functional movements.

When even a single vertebra is out of place (a subluxation), the effects are not only painful, but can also result in diminished function of the nervous system, which is required to coordinate the rest of the musculoskeletal system. When the nervous system is even a little off target, the results can be quite dramatic.

If the subluxation is in an area that affects the function of the shoulder, the milliseconds difference in muscle-firing patterns can mean the difference, for a baseball pitcher, between a well-placed, high-speed strike and an off-target ball in the dirt.

If the subluxation involves the lower back, and this athlete is a professional golfer, the difference in core stability can mean a loss of several yards off the tee, leaving a much more difficult approach shot to the green.

And, if the subluxation affects the pelvis or legs of a world-class sprinter, this slight difference can be all it takes to turn a gold medal into a 5th-place finish.

Backed by Research

One study, appearing in The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation, reported that athletes who received chiropractic care exhibited up to a 30% increase in athletic ability after 12 weeks of treatments.  Areas tested included skills such as kinesthetic perception, power, reaction time, agility and balance. Improvements were significantly different than those who did not receive chiropractic treatments during the same period.2

In another recent article, an elite race-walker under chiropractic care received chiropractic adjustments to his spine and knee joints over a period of 6 weeks, and he subsequently broke his own personal best times recorded for three separate distances, even when those best times were already national and state records!3

It not only improves performance, but chiropractic also keeps athletes in the game. In a ground-breaking research article, researchers found that by combining chiropractic care with standard medical and physiotherapy approaches, the incidence of injuries in an Australian football team was significantly reduced. This was specifi­cally related to primary lower limb muscle strains and weeks missed due to non-contact knee injuries. It also indicated a trend toward lower limb injury prevention with the addition of sports chiropractic intervention.4

References and sources:
Baron, SH. A look at the role of chiropractors in the NFL – Chiroprac­tic Economics 2005. Issue 14. Source –

2. Lauro A. Mouch B. Chiropractic effects on athletic ability– The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation (1991); 6: 84-87 

3.  Jarosz BS & Ellis WB. The Effect on a Racewalker’s Sports Performance with Chiropractic Treatment : A Case Report – Chiropr J Aust 2010; 40: 117-19.

4. Hoskins W, Pollard H. The effect of a sports chiropractic manual therapy intervention on the prevention of back pain, hamstring and lower limb injuries in semi-elite Australian Rules footballers: a randomized controlled trial –BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2010 Apr 8;11:64





Recent studies indicate that the ability to think is the evolutionary development of the ability to move. [29] This concept explains the effectiveness of chiropractic neurological treatment with ADHD patients, says Dr. Melillo. "Motor activity-especially development of the postural muscles-is the baseline function of brain activity. Anything affecting postural muscles will consequently influence brain development. If you improve either the movement or the cognitive ability, you will improve the opposite. Musculoskeletal imbalance will create imbalance of brain activity, and one part of the brain will develop faster than the other."

This theory explains the effects of adjustments that DCs have observed for years. "We have long known that one adjustment can affect many functions," says Dr. Melillo, "because adjustment changes the brain function- and, depending on the individual, affects different symptoms in the body, for example, the ability to hear. Our hearing is controlled by the brain, not by the ear- so through adjustments, we are affecting the brain's ability to process auditory information." 

But the effectiveness of chiropractic with ADHD children needs to be confirmed by research studies, says Dr. Fallon. "From clinical practice, we know that if patients with ADHD- especially the ones with sensory integration issues- do not receive chiropractic care, they miss a big part of the treatment plan. Chiropractic care is consistent with physiology, and adjustments can help greatly. Besides, doctors of chiropractic spend more time with kids, see them in a different context, and may identify those who receive unnecessary medical treatment." 

The success of chiropractic treatment is not only in the drugless treatment modalities, but in the holistic approach to treatment. "The medical treatment model is based on the diagnosis, i.e., the name that is given to the patient's condition," says Julie Bjornson, DC, secretary of the ACA Council on Neurology. "After that, the name is treated, not the patient. But DCs enhance the function of the body by removing the interference to the body's natural self-healing capabilities expressed through the nervous system." 

Many neurological conditions, and ADHD in particular, are truly displaying the premise of chiropractic-subluxation. Subluxation can include imbalance of muscle tone that causes nerve irritability, which leads to inefficient nervous system function and agitation. [30] Depending on the severity of any subluxations and on how much the children are shut down sensorially, the children may be ADHD, dyslexic, or autistic, says Bobby Doscher, DC, president and CEO of Oklahaven Children's Center. "I can see it even in babies. If infants can't lift the head up, or cry on the stomach and back, there may be head misalignments. I also see if babies can latch on to nurse, suck, swallow, and breathe rhythmically. If 2- to 8-month-old infants can't turn the head in the direction of the sound they hear, it's also a problem."

Chiropractic patient assessment not only aims at subluxation detection, but also identifies patients' individual symptoms. "Symptomatology must be globally evaluated," says Dr. Doscher. "Reading problems at the age of 6 or 8 mean disorganization of the body, and a lack of communication between the two body sides. Check the vision and see if there is any divergence. Children may have auditory problems-when they can't perceive the sounds, localize them, or are hypersensitive to them. Check the child's tactility-see if he likes to touch and be touched, or not. If a child can't creep or crawl and has to roll instead, it's a sign. Is the language clear? Is the child clumsy? Has trouble dressing? Put the child on the belly and see if he can lift the head up, look in both directions, do the army crawl, and lift the opposite arm and leg." 

In addition to the physical exam, the doctor needs to address the chemical and emotional issues, says Dr. Barnes. "You need to have the patient's blood chemistry and stool analysis to check for food sensitivities. Address the emotional issues the child may have. All those aspects are important because you can adjust the child all day long, but then he goes back to the family environment and the problems come back. Art therapy is effective. Instead of talking to the child, give him a piece of paper and pencil and ask him to draw his family or a picture of how he feels." 

Chiropractic can help ADHD children with sensory integration problems. "ADHD children are often irritated by the tags on their clothes. They may not like the texture and coarseness of certain foods. Chiropractic adjustments- together with tactile programs, such as exercises with a fine brush or a feather- help reduce their sensitivity," says Dr. Doscher. Reducing sensitivity means better attention spans, as children will not be distracted by the factors that used to irritate them, explains Dr. Fallon. 

29. Llinas RR. I of the Vortex: From Neurons to Self. The MIT Press, 20001.

30. Peet J. Adjusting the hyperactive/ADHD pediatric patient. Chiropr Pediatr 2:12-16, 1997.

Many doctors of chiropractic have encountered instances where the vision of a patient improved following chiropractic care. In the last few years, the peer reviewed literature has been filled with case reports and other articles addressing this phenomenon. Of particular interest is the physiologic rationale that has been proposed to explain the clinical results. 

A comprehensive review, including 71 references, was published by Terrett and Gorman in 1995. Terrett is a chiropractor, Gorman a medical ophthalmologist. Various ocular changes associated with manipulation or adjustment are described. Included are changes in visual acuity, oculomotor function, intraocular pressure, and pupillary size. [1

Other papers by Gorman include an interesting series of case studies of patients with improved visual fields following "manipulation" of the cervical spine. They cover a broad age group. In one case, a nine-year-old female presented with bilateral concentric narrowing of the visual fields, which returned to normal after one "spinal treatment." One year later, she returned with monocular vision loss after being struck in the head by a ball, which was resolved after one "manipulation." [2

Gorman described the case of a 62-year-old male with a one- week history of a monocular vision defect with headaches and neck strain. Funduscopic examination failed to reveal any abnormality of the optic nerve head or retina. After a week of "spinal manipulative therapy" vision improved dramatically as demonstrated by computerized static perimetry. [3]

Another case involved a 44-year-old housewife. Although the techniques employed by Gorman were often non-specific, and sometimes performed with anesthesia, the results reported are dramatic, and demonstrate how even non-specific interventions can yield favorable results. [4

Gilman and Bergstrand published a case report involving an elderly male with traumatic vision loss. Optometric and ophthalmologic examination revealed that no conventional treatment was appropriate. The lost vision returned following chiropractic care. The authors stated, "Behavioral optometrists have often been interested in the work of chiropractors and the resulting vision changes." [5]

Schutte, Tesse and Jamison did a retrospective review of 12 children with esophoria, and concluded that such patients may respond to cervical spine adjustments. [6

Changjiang et al reported on 114 cases of patients with cervical spondylosis who had associated visual disorders. Visual improvement was noted following "manipulative treatment" in 83% of these cases. Furthermore, of the 54 cases followed up for a minimum of six months, 91% showed a stable therapeutic effect. Cases of blind eyes regaining vision were included in the report. [7

Is there a physiological rationale for these changes?  

Terrett has proposed a model where brain and retinal cells are thought to "hibernate" when in a state of relative ischemia. Such an ischemic state does not kill the cells, but renders them incapable of normal function. Upon restoration of normal blood supply, the improved oxygenation of the involved cells may restore normal function. [8

Gorman has applied this concept to explain his clinical results: "The connection between the spine and the circulation of the optic nerve is explained by the vertebral artery's proximity to a cervical spine derangement that activates the nervous system of the blood vessel." [9]


1.        Terrett AGJ, Gorman RF: 
The eye, the cervical spine, and spinal manipulative therapy: a review of the literature. 
Chiropractic Technique (1995) 7(2):43. 

2.        Gorman RF: 
Monocular vision loss after closed head trauma: immediate resolution associated with spinal manipulation. 
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. (1995) 18(5):308. 

3.        Gorman RF: 
The treatment of presumptive optic nerve ischemia by spinal manipulation.
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. (1995) 18(3):172. 

4.        Gorman RF: 
Automated static perimetry in chiropractic. 
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. (1993) 16(7):482. 

5.        Gilman G, Bergstrand J: 
Visual recovery following chiropractic intervention.
Journal of Behavioral Optometry 1990 1(3):3. 

6.        Schutte B, Teese H, Jamison J: 
Chiropractic adjustments and esophoria: a retrospective study and theoretical discussion. 
J Aust Chiro Assoc Dec 1989 19(4):126. 

7.        Changjiang I, Yici W, Wenquin L, et al: 
Study on cervical visual disturbance and its manipulative treatment.
Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 1984 4:205. 

8.        Terrett AGJ: 
Cerebral dysfunction: a theory to explain some of the effects of chiropractic spinal manipulation. 
Chiropractic Technique (1993) 5(4):168. 

9.        Gorman RF: 
Monocular scotoma and spinal manipulation: the step phenomenon.
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. (1996) 19(5):344.


Vertigo is the term often used to describe any type of dizziness. "Dorland's Medical Dictionary" indicates that vertigo is a type of dizziness associated with an illusion of movement, often a spinning sensation, which may be from a disease of the inner ear or from disturbances in pathways in the nervous system. Chiropractic treatment is an option for the treatment of certain types of vertigo.


Chiropractic manipulation targets joints that are moving improperly. In the upper neck, faulty motion patterns can result in misinformation about body position and movement being communicated from the joints to the brain. This type of vertigo, called cervicogenic vertigo, is more likely to benefit from chiropractic manipulation. In a study published in the October 1991 "Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics," chiropractor Don Fitz-Ritson reported a 90 percent success rate when treating this type of vertigo with manipulation.

Positioning Maneuvers

The inner ear houses the body's true balance center, the vestibulocochlear system. This complex system of fluid-filled tubes lined with hair-like sensors provides information to the central nervous system about position and movement. In some individuals, debris may accumulate in the vestibulocochlear apparatus. If this debris settles on sensitive areas within the tubes, it may result in vertigo. If the source of a patient's vertigo appears to be the inner ear, a chiropractor may assist her through a specific procedure such as the Epley Maneuver to attempt to reposition the debris to a more innocuous position.


The chiropractor may recommend specific exercises that target the vestibulocochlear system. Brandt-Daroff exercises, in which the person sits on the edge of his bed and alternately flops on first one side, back upright, then to the other side at 1-minute intervals are an example. These exercises are described in a successful case study reported in the "Scientific World Journal" in 2006. Other exercises, such as tai chi may also be recommended. The slow, controlled movements of tai chi may provide a safe mode of exercise focusing on body-awareness and balance.


An analysis of diet and other lifestyle factors may help the chiropractor and the patient identify potential triggers to vertigo attacks. Things like tobacco, alcohol and caffeine that stimulate or depress the nervous system may play a role. According to the "Merck Manual of Health and Aging," non-prescription sleep aids or antihistamines can contribute to increased feelings of dizziness or vertigo. The chiropractor may also address strategies such as meditation, relaxation or breathing techniques to help control the symptoms.

Taking cod liver oil as a source of vitamin D first became popular in 19th Century England. Fish oil has been studied for heart health since it was found that Greenland Inuit people may have a lower risk of heart disease despite eating a high-fat diet.

The main essential fatty acids in the human diet are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Foods that provide omega-3 fatty acids include fish oil and certain plant and nut oils, while omega-6 fatty acids can be found in palm, soybean, rapeseed, and sunflower oils. Omega-9 fatty acids, which are not considered essential, can be found in animal fat and olive oil.

Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Some nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which may be converted to DHA and EPA in the body.

In the United States, percentages of DHA and EPA have been found to be lower compared to other nations with lower heart disease rates, such as Japan. High levels of omega-6 fatty acids have been linked to an increased risk of some conditions such as heart disease and depression.

Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to provide a wide range of health benefits, including a lower risk of coronary heart disease and improvement in cholesterol. There have also been promising results from studies looking at omega-3 for cancer, depression, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Due to these potential health benefits, fish oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, has become a popular supplement.

There is evidence that recommended amounts of DHA and EPA, taken as fish or fish oil supplements, may lower triglycerides and reduce the risk of heart attack, abnormal heartbeat, and stroke in people who have heart disorders. DHA and EPA may also benefit people who have hardening of the arteries or high blood pressure. Similar effects have been found for ALA, but more evidence is needed to support its potential benefits.

High doses may have harmful effects, such as increased bleeding risk, higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol, blood sugar control problems, and a "fishy" odor. In some at-risk populations, such as people who have had a heart transplant, omega-3 fatty acids may affect the heart rate. Omega-3 fatty acids should be used only under medical care in people who have heart disease. Some fish such as swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, and albacore tuna may carry a higher risk of mercury poisoning, though fish oil has not been found to carry a significant risk.

If a great Shakespearean protagonist had, anachronistically, joined a gym, his internal existential inquiry might have been, "To lift or not to lift?". Many centuries later, the identical inquiry, or controversy, persists. Joining a gym (health club) usually implies the new club member is going to engage in strength training in one form or another. Such exercise provides an abundance of benefits and is a valuable lifestyle choice for most people. But the possibility of injury exists. The key to safe, beneficial exercise is to learn how to do strength training correctly, then develop a plan, and follow the plan.

Government health and wellness guidelines recommend doing 150 minutes of (at least) moderate exercise per week. This translates to at least 30 minutes of exercise five times per week. Strength training is an important component of any exercise program designed to fulfill these recommendations. In combination with cardiorespiratory exercise, strength training greatly improves muscular capabilities and endurance. Your body becomes fit, toned, and honed, and as a result, you become much better equipped to successfully manage the mechanical stresses and strains that everyone encounters during the course of a normal day.1-3

If you are new to strength training or haven't done this form of exercise in a while, then the most important rule is to start slowly. Determine how much weight you should be lifting by experimentation. Choose a very light weight and see whether you can do eight repetitions with that weight comfortably. If it's difficult to do eight reps, then start over with the next lighter weight. If it's too easy to do eight reps, then start over with the next heavier weight. If eight repetitions feels just about right, then that's the weight with which to begin that particular exercise. Follow these steps for each of your exercises and you'll have established your beginning routine on a personal and safe foundation.

Strength training need never become boring, as you can change your routine with almost infinite variety. For example, for a 12-week period you could do chest and back exercises one day, then leg exercises a second day, and shoulder and arm exercises a third day. You would do your cardiorespiratory exercise on the remaining two days (for a total of five weekly days of exercise). During a different 12-week period, you could do cardiorespiratory exercise on three days and do arm and leg exercises on one day and chest, back, and shoulder exercises on a second day. Or you could choose to "work light" and exercise all your body parts on a single day. You could do your total-body strength training two or three days a week, filling in the other days with cardiorespiratory exercise. The only guideline in the context of these routine designs is whether the routine works for you. If it works, then it works.

As with all exercise programs, the more consistent you are, the greater long-term benefit you'll derive. Be sure to build-in recovery time by taking a week off here and there for rest and recharging. A modern Hamlet would find his or her exercise time enjoyable and rewarding, and would answer the perplexing question with a resounding, "Yes. I will lift."

1Granacher U, et al: The importance of trunk muscle strength for balance, functional performance, and fall prevention in seniors: a systematic review. Sports Med 43(7):627-641, 2013

2Grier T, et al: The effects of cross-training on fitness and injury in women. US Army Med Dep J Apr-Jun:33-41, 2015

3Liu Y, et al: Effects of combined aerobic and resistance training on the glycolipid metabolism and inflammation levels in type 2 diabetes mellitus. J Phys Ther Sci 27(7):2365-2371, 2015

Parkinsons is a degenerative disorder of the brain, results from the destruction of cells that produce dopamine. Typical symptoms include rigid muscles, tremor, bradykinesia (slow movement), gait disturbance, and postural instability.

How Chiropractic Care Relates to Parkinson’s Disease

The exact cause of Parkinson's disease continues to be investigated, but some of the latest research shows us that accidents involving head trauma have been linked to the disease. After a whiplash-like injury has occurred to the spine, the vertebrae can misalign and cause compression of the brainstem and surrounding nerves. When this compression occurs, there is an increased risk of Parkinson's disease symptoms, which may begin to develop months or years after such trauma.

Chiropractic treatments can help Parkinson's disease by correcting the spinal misalignments caused by trauma and removing compression of the brainstem and surrounding nerves. After nerve irritation has been removed, proper communication between the brain and spinal cord and the surrounding nerves is restored.

Does it hurt when you chew, open wide to yawn or use your jaws? Do you have pain or soreness in front of the ear, in the jaw muscle, cheek, the teeth or the temples? Do you have pain or soreness in your teeth? Do your jaws make noises loud enough to bother you or others? Do you find it difficult to open your mouth wide? Does your jaw ever get stuck/locked as you open it?

If you answered “yes” to some of these questions, you may have a temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. TMD is a group of conditions, often painful, that affect the jaw joint.

Signs may include:

  • Radiating pain in the face, neck, or shoulders;
  • Limited movement or locking of the jaw;
  • Painful clicking or grating when opening or closing the mouth;
  • A significant change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together;
  • Headaches, earaches, dizziness, hearing problems and difficulty swallowing.

For most people, pain or discomfort in the jaw muscles or joints is temporary, often occurs in cycles, and resolves once you stop moving the area. Some people with TMD pain, however, can develop chronic symptoms. Your doctor of chiropractic can help you establish whether your pain is due to TMD and can provide conservative treatment if needed.

What Causes TMD?

Researchers agree that TMD falls into three categories:

  • Myofascial pain—discomfort or pain in the muscles of the jaw, neck, and shoulders;
  • A dislocated jaw or displaced disc;
  • Degenerative joint disease—rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in the jaw joint.

Severe injury to the jaw is a leading cause of TMD. For example, anything from a hit in the jaw during a sporting activity to overuse syndromes, such as chewing gum excessively or chewing on one side of the mouth too frequently, may cause TMD.

Both physical and emotional stress can lead to TMD, as well. The once-common practice of sitting in a dentist's chair for several hours with the mouth wide open may have contributed to TMD in the past. Now, most dentists are aware that this is harmful to the jaw. In addition to taking breaks while they do dental work, today’s dentists also screen patients for any weaknesses in the jaw structure that would make physical injury likely if they keep their mouths open very long. In that case, they may use medications during the procedure to minimize the injury potential, or they may send the patient to physical therapy immediately after treatment.  In less severe cases, they instruct patients in exercises they can do at home to loosen up the joint after the visit.

While emotional stress itself is not usually a cause of TMD, the way stress shows up in the body can be. When people are under psychological stress, they may clench their teeth, which can be a major factor in their TMD.

Some conditions once accepted as causes of TMD have been dismissed—moderate gum chewing, non-painful jaw clicking, orthodontic treatment (when it does not involve the prolonged opening of the mouth, as mentioned above), and upper and lower jaws that have never fit together well. Popular theory now holds that while these may be triggers, they are not causes.

Women experience TMD four times as often as men. Several factors may contribute to this higher ratio, posture and higher heels.

TMD Diagnosis and Treatment

To help diagnose or rule out TMD, your doctor of chiropractic (DC) may ask you to put three fingers in your mouth and bite down on them. You may also be asked to open and close your mouth and chew repeatedly while the doctor monitors the dimensions of the jaw joint and the balance of the muscles. If you have no problems while doing these things, then the problem is not likely to be TMD. Your DC can then look for signs of inflammation and abnormalities. Sometimes special imaging, an x-ray or an MRI may be needed to help confirm the diagnosis.

If you have TMD, your doctor may recommend chiropractic manipulation, massage, applying heat/ice and special exercises. In most cases, your doctor’s first goal is to relieve symptoms, particularly pain. If your doctor of chiropractic feels that you need special appliances or splints (with the exception of the “waterpack” and other guards against teeth grinding), he or she will refer you to a dentist or orthodontist for co-management.

In addition to treatment, your doctor of chiropractic can teach you how to:

  • Apply heat and ice to lessen the pain. Ice is recommended shortly after the injury or after your pain has started. In the later stages of healing, you need to switch to heat, especially if you are still experiencing discomfort.
  • Avoid harmful joint movements. For example, chomping into a hard apple is just as bad as crunching into hard candy (some hard candies are even called “jawbreakers”—for good reason). And giant sandwiches can cause the mouth to open too wide and have a destabilizing effect on the jaw.
  • Perform TMD-specific exercises. Depending on your condition, your DC may recommend stretching or strengthening exercises. Stretching helps to loosen tight muscles and strengthening helps to tighten muscles that have become loose. Special feedback sensors in the jaw can be retrained, as well, if needed.

Torticollis, also known as wry neck or loxia,[note 1] is a dystonic condition defined by an abnormal, asymmetrical head or neck position, which may be due to a variety of causes. The term torticollis is derived from the Latin words tortus for twisted and collum for neck

Chiropractic management of congenital torticollis using a combination of spinal adjustments, cranial re-alignment and soft tissue therapies can produce rapid resolution in many cases of congenital torticollis and plagiocephaly in the newborn infant. Spinal adjustments have been demonstrated to be efficacious to the resolution of the congenital torticollis. Before commencing a course of conservative spinal care however, accurate identification of the cause of the torticollis must be made to rule out complicating conditions. The typical course of spinal adjustments for torticollis is usually of short duration requiring just a few treatments. Early correction of congenital torticollis should be the goal since prolonged contraction of the SCM can be the cause of cranial and facial anomalies as well as scoliosis. The medical approach to a protracted torticollis is surgical intervention. While surgical intervention is typically a solution of last resort, it is frequently the only solution considered by the medical community. Chiropractic care is considered essential to the health and maintenance of the child's spine and nervous system. It is therefore important that the doctor of chiropractic become part of the multi-disciplinary team and that medical doctors become aware of chiropractic management as a solution to the most common causes of congenital torticollis.

Fallon, JM, Fysh, PN   Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics.

We're all familiar with the highway driving experience of being behind a person who is continually braking for no apparent reason. This is especially problematic if you're in the left-hand lane. You're zipping along at the posted speed limit and suddenly the brake lights of the car in front go on. You have to immediately react and hit your brakes. If this happens more than a couple of times, you look for the first opportunity to pass this unskilled driver. The person riding their brakes may thoughtlessly cause a serious traffic problem or worse. Metaphorically, you may be physiologically "riding the brakes" without knowing it, creating ongoing problems for your long-term wellness and well-being.

For example, many of us are not aware that lack of regular vigorous exercise results in a slowing down of our metabolism. Without such exercise, our daily metabolic processes simply do not operate at peak levels. In the absence of critical energy demands imposed by regular vigorous exercise, a low level steady state takes over. Fat cells accumulate, reflexes dull, and our overall sense of awareness deteriorates. But your body is a finely crafted machine and it is designed to fulfill very high performance metrics. The aphorism, "what you don't use, you lose" applies specifically to human physiological performance. Without regular vigorous exercise, you're riding your physiological brakes and your body systems will degrade accordingly.

The good news is that these entropic effects can be reversed. Our bodies are dynamic and remarkably adaptive. Beginning or renewing an exercise program will quickly result in noticeable benefits. Many people will begin observe such benefits within four to six weeks. The important health benefits derived from regular vigorous exercise include slowing of the heart rate, increased capacity of the heart to pump blood, increased capacity of the lungs to take in oxygen, accumulation of lean muscle mass, increased creative abilities, increased ability to focus and perform useful work, and improved restful sleep.

These benefits all derive from any basic exercise program that includes some form of strength training and some form of cardiovascular exercise. Thirty minutes per day, five days a week, is the recommended standard. A program that incorporates three days of cardiovascular exercise and two days of strength training, or three days of strength training and two days of cardiovascular exercise, will be sufficient to derive maximum results. Cardiovascular exercise includes walking, running, swimming, bicycling, cross-country skiing, and sports such as basketball and lacrosse. Strength training should comprise routines including exercises for the chest, back, shoulders, arms, and legs. Certain forms of exercise such as yoga simultaneously incorporate strength training and cardiovascular exercise.

Most important is the consistency of exercise. What works for one person may not work for another. Find the types of exercise that you like to do and want to do and keep going. There will be times when you need to take a break for a week or two. Trust your instincts and return to your exercise program as appropriate. Encourage your family members to participate so that everyone can achieve peak performance, health, and wellness.

If you are looking for information about how chiropractors perform tendonitis treatment, then you are probably interested in treating your tendonitis without medicine or surgery. Chiropractic medicine is used to treat all sorts of bodily problems in the head, back, neck, arms, legs, and other areas of the human body, and chiropractic can treat tendonitis in any of these areas. Chiropractic care involves a holistic method of treatment that aims to treat the underlying problem instead of the symptoms. By correcting subluxations- or misalignment in the spinal region- your chiropractor can relieve pressure on the nerves and spine and thus allow the body to function at an optimal level and heal itself.

Tendonitis Treatment

Tendonitis is understood as the inflammation of a tendon in the body. If you are experiencing stiffness close to a tendon or are having lots of aches and pains, you should have your doctor look at your body and determine if you have tendonitis. Other symptoms can include swelling, burning sensations and redness around a tendon. In some extreme cases, a doctor will be able to see the visible knots that exist around a joint or tendon.

If you need tendonitis treatment, you will probably notice an increase in pain after activity or while you are undergoing activity. Try to notice if your tendon and joint area becomes tighter the day after activity, and report these changes to your doctor or physical therapist. Symptoms can last for several months if left untreated. If you are determined to have tendonitis, your physical therapist or doctor might suggest that you seek out tendonitis treatment from a chiropractor.

Chiropractors can do a lot to help you recover from a recent injury to your tendon. Before beginning tendonitis treatment, ask yourself the following questions to determine if chiropractic is a good next step for your recovery. Did you get a recommendation from a doctor to begin therapy or, have you gotten medical clearance from another medical professional that this treatment will be healthy for your body and your injury? Can you think of reasons for your pain, loss of strength, and loss of mobility to report to your doctor?

Your chiropractor will, upon first meeting, take a medical history. He may take x-rays or perform other tests including a full spinal check to identify problem areas in the spine. Your doctor may also discuss any other aspects of your health, such as diet and sleep patterns, that could be causing your tendons to be inflamed. By helping you become an overall healthier person, and by adjusting the spinal misalignment so your spine is free of pressure, your body can begin to heal the inflammation.

Overall, chiropractic can be an effective alternative for your tendonitis treatment, especially if you are interested in a more holistic option, but you should consult with a physician and licensed chiropractor to determine if the treatment is right for you.

Sinusitis causes inflammation of the tissues surrounding the sinuses, which are eight hollow cavities in the skull. Sinuses are located in the cheekbones, in the forehead, between the eyes, and behind the nasal cavity. Approximately 37 million Americans suffer from at least one episode of sinusitis each year. The most common form of sinusitis, acute sinusitis, occurs when fluid blocks the tissues lining the sinuses and often leads to a bacterial infection. Cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose and headache, accompany acute sinusitis and last for a maximum of four weeks. Treatments for acute sinusitis include decongestants and nasal sprays.

Who Gets Sinusitis?

Sinusitis can affect individuals of any age, yet it most commonly occurs in individuals who are 18 to 45 years old. Individuals have a higher risk of developing sinusitis if they have nasal mucous membrane swelling, drainage duct blockage, narrow drainage ducts due to structural abnormalities, nasal polyps, or conditions that increase the risk of infection, such as immune deficiencies. Children also have a possibility of developing sinusitis if they are exposed to allergens, illnesses from other children, pacifiers, or a smoking environment. The most common contributing factors of sinusitis in adults are bacterial infections and smoking.

Chronic Sinusitis

While acute sinusitis symptoms dissipate after four weeks, individuals who suffer from chronic sinusitis may suffer from symptoms for eight weeks or longer. Symptoms often include facial congestion, nasal blockages, pus, fever, and nasal discharge. If you seek treatment for these symptoms, your doctor may perform a nasal endoscope. This procedure involves your physician inserting a tube-like instrument into your nose to observe your sinus passages. This will allow your doctor to determine if nasal polyps or structural abnormalities exist. While sinusitis may be uncomfortable, delayed treatment could lead to severe pain, and it could cause meningitis in some cases. There are many treatments to alleviate symptoms associated with chronic sinusitis, including chiropractic sinus adjustment.

Chiropractic Sinus Adjustment: What to Expect

During your initial exam, your chiropractor will discuss your medical history and perform a physical to assess where the pain mainly occurs in your body. The physical exam may be accompanied by x-rays to help your chiropractor determine the areas to be targeted. Treatments will target the bones and mucous membranes that line the sinus cavities. The chiropractor will use his or her hands to apply pressure and force to the affected areas. Often you may hear popping and cracking sounds as the chiropractor performs the adjustment. These sounds are normal. However, if you experience any excruciating pain, you should let your chiropractor know immediately.

Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy

One treatment method of chiropractic adjustment is chiropractic manipulative therapy. During this treatment, your chiropractor will adjust your joints beyond their normal limitations to correct a possible misalignment. This method could also involve your practitioner applying pressure or a gentle thrust to stimulate the nervous system and restore function to the affected areas. Your chiropractor may target bones in your facial region or in other areas of your body, including the spinal column, depending on your symptoms and location of the sinus pain. If you have a history of an arthritic condition, fractures, dislocations, or cancer, chiropractic manipulative therapy may not be your best option for chiropractic sinus adjustment. You should discuss these issues and any other relevant medical history with your chiropractor before treatment begins in order to reduce the risk of injury or permanent damage.

Trigger-Point Therapy

Trigger-point therapy is another form of chiropractic sinus adjustment. Using this technique, your chiropractor will apply pressure to a specific trigger point, other than the sinus region, in your body to relieve pain. Your chiropractor may target areas around your neck and brain stem to relax and drain your sinus passages of excess fluid. The buildup of extra fluid allows your sinuses to develop bacteria. By eliminating this fluid, you are often cured of your sinusitis symptoms. In addition to chiropractors, many acupuncturists will perform trigger-point therapy on the facial, neck, and cranial areas.

Light-Force Cranial Manipulation

In this chiropractic adjustment method, your chiropractor will adjust your skull bones, including bones in your nasal passages, to relieve pressure within the affected sinus cavities. Unlike chiropractic manipulative therapy, during light-force cranial manipulation your chiropractor will solely focus on the sinuses and bones in your facial area. Your chiropractor will utilize this method if he or she discovers that your cranial bones are misaligned. By determining the location of the misalignment and applying light force and thrusts, your symptoms could be resolved. Light-force cranial manipulation may be a bit uncomfortable, since your chiropractor will physically manipulate the bones directly touching your sinus cavities.

Additional Treatments

In addition to chiropractic adjustment treatments, your chiropractor may recommend supplementary therapies for you to perform at home as part of your physical rehabilitation. Approaches may include applying a warm or cold compress to the affected areas to reduce swelling, or stimulating the areas through massage or stretching. If you are discussing symptoms with your primary physician, he or she could prescribe nasal sprays or oral decongestant medicines to assist with your treatments. Your doctor could also prescribe oral steroids if your symptoms do not improve with the use of other medications. You may also be advised to quit smoking during the span of your treatments in order to clear the nasal passages and sinuses. In extreme cases of chronic sinusitis, and if chiropractic adjustments are not effective, your physician could discuss the option of surgery to relieve your pain.


The purpose of this study was to retrospectively report the results of patients who completed an exercise-based chiropractic program and its potential to alter the natural progression of adult scoliosis at 24 months after the clinic portion of treatment was concluded.


A retrospective chart review was conducted at 2 spine clinics in Michigan, USA. Each clinic uses the same chiropractic rehabilitation program to treat patients with adult scoliosis. Multidimensional patient outcomes included radiographic, respiratory, disability, and pain parameters. Outcomes were measured at baseline, at end of active treatment, and at long-term follow-up.


A total of 28 patients fit the inclusion criteria for the study. The average beginning primary Cobb angle was 44° ± 6°. Patients received the same chiropractic rehabilitation program for approximately 6 months. At the end of active treatment, improvements were recorded in Cobb angle, pain scores, spirometry, and disability rating. All radiographic findings were maintained at 24-month follow-up.


This report is among the first to demonstrate sustained radiographic, self-rated, and physiologic benefits after treatment ceased. After completion of a multimodal chiropractic rehabilitation treatment, a retrospective cohort of 28 adult scoliosis patients reported improvements in pain, Cobb angle, and disability immediately following the conclusion of treatment and 24 months later.


Sprains and strains are usually minor injuries that are often occur during sports, exercise, or other physical activity.

A sprain is an injury to a ligament, the tissue that links bones together at joints. Sprains happen most often in the ankle, knee, elbow, or wrist.

Strains are tears in muscle tissue. They happen most often in the muscles that support the calf, thigh, groin, and shoulder.

Sometimes sprains and strains can be severe, needing weeks of rehabilitation.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of strains include:

·         Muscle stiffness, tenderness, or soreness

·         Swelling

Symptoms of sprains include:

·         Pain at the time of injury

·         Swelling

·         Bruising

The joint may be unstable or you may not be able to use the affected part of your body if the injury is serious, involving a muscle or ligament tear.

What Causes It?

Sprains generally happen when a twisting force is applied to a joint while it is bearing weight, which causes the ligament to stretch beyond its usual limit. Sprains tend to happen with sudden, unexpected movement, like a fall or a twist.

Muscle strains happen when the weight on a muscle is greater than the weakest part of the muscle can bear. Strains tend to happen during activities that require your muscles to stretch and bear weight at the same time. Being injured before or having limited flexibility may contribute to sprains. You are at risk for a sprain or strain if you:

·         Exercise without warming up properly

·         Use athletic equipment that does not fit properly

·         Participate in sports and activities that you are not conditioned for

·         Exercise when bones and muscles are fatigued

Chiropractic Care

Many people visit chiropractors for sprain and strain injuries. In addition to joint manipulation, chiropractors use other treatments for sprains and strains, such as using ice, heat, ultrasound, or electrical muscle stimulation. Chiropractors may also recommend stretching and strengthening exercises to help you recover. One study found that a balance training program reduced the risk of ankle sprains among high school soccer and basketball players.

In a study of people with ankle sprains, researchers compared chiropractic joint manipulation with an anti-inflammatory medication. They found that joint manipulation worked as well as the anti-inflammatory medication in improving pain and flexibility. It worked better than the medication in improving range of motion.

Source: Sprains and strains | University of Maryland Medical Center
University of Maryland Medical Center 

A back spasm is an abnormal contraction of the muscle that continues and does not relax. According to the Patient Education Institute, a library of interactive patient education used by hospitals and physicians, back spasms are the most common cause of back pain reported to doctors. Treatment should start as soon as possible after the injury or pain has started and should address any underlying conditions that are contributing to back spasms. These conditions may include obesity, posture, recreational activities and standing and sleeping positions.


Rest, ice, heat and compression are the first line of conservative treatment anytime an individual suffers back pain and spasms. The Spine Universe recommends the use of alternating heat and cold to reduce the inflammation, muscle spasms and pain. After the first 24 hours of treatment, some patients find heat comforting and others find ice works best.

Chiropractic is a branch of medicine that is based on healthy alignment of the spine. According to the Spine Universe, chiropractors also believe one of the main causes of pain is the misalignment of the vertebrae in the spine. They use techniques that include palpation, pressure, massage, manual manipulation of the spine, exercise programs and lifestyle counseling. These techniques are used to reduce inflammation, swelling and pain.

Excerpts taken from

Thanks to effective public health campaigns regarding healthy lifestyle choices, many people have incorporated regular, vigorous exercise, a nutritious diet, and getting sufficient rest in their daily routines. For many people, an additional important component of a healthy lifestyle is regular stretching.  This is not intended as a sports stretch to treat over used muscles due to current athletic participation.  Consult with a personal trainer for information on that.

Regular stretching provides numerous benefits, including enhanced flexibility and adaptability of your musculoskeletal system, that is, your bones, muscles, and joints.1 As a result, regular stretching helps improve overall mobility and range of motion. Regular stretching helps reduce injury by improving circulation, bringing increased supplies of oxygen and critical nutrients to the large muscles of your thighs and legs and the small muscles of your back. As a bonus, regular stretching helps to reduce stress. It's clear that stretching activities provide a very big return for a modest investment of time and effort.2,3

In order to derive the greatest benefits from your stretching program, knowledge of stretching "best practices" is essential. First, it's critical to conceive of stretching as a journey rather than a destination. In stretching, we have to give up all our notions of how much we think we should be able to achieve. On any given day, our muscles will be tighter or less tight. On any given day, it will be "harder" or easier to obtain the stretchability of the day before. The best practice is to pay attention to your body, focus on what you're doing, and work with what you have on a particular day. This "centering" approach is in direct contrast to trying to force your muscles to conform to the stretching length you think they should achieve. Using force while stretching will always result in injury. Instead, the activity of stretching calls for a calm, steady, and methodical approach.

What is it that you're doing when you stretch? Primarily, you're using a process of visualization. You're visualizing the particular muscle getting "longer". When you do a stretch for your hamstring muscle group (there are three muscles that comprise this group), you have an image in your mind of the muscles of the back of your thigh and you're "seeing" these muscles lengthening. You're not actually "doing" anything other than performing the activity of the stretch itself. In other words, you're not actively making the hamstrings longer. But you are "seeing" them lengthen in your mind, and the result is an effective stretch, that is, increased length and flexibility of the hamstring group.

Pictures of the quadriceps muscle group (the muscles on the front of your thigh), the hamstring muscle group, the calf muscles (the surface gastrocnemius and the deeper soleus), and your spinal muscle groups will provide great assistance with your visualization process. Such images are widely available on the Internet. Your "Zen-like" process of visualization will make your 10 or 15 minutes of stretching time more effective and may also be applied to various other tasks throughout your day, providing additional ongoing benefits to your health and well being.

1Peck E, et al: The effects of stretching on performance. Cur Sports Med Rep 13(3):179-185, 2014
2Morrin N, Redding E: Acute effects of warm-up stretch protocols on balance, vertical jump height, and range of motion in dancers. J Dance Med Sci 17(1):34-40, 2013
3Avloniti A, et al: The Acute Effects of Static Stretching on Speed and Agility Performance Depend on Stretch Duration and Conditioning Level. J Strength Cond Res 2014 Jun 17 [Epub ahead of print]

Years ago, doctors hardly ever told rheumatoid arthritis patients to "go take a hike" or "go for a swim." Arthritis was considered an inherent part of the aging process and a signal to a patient that it's time to slow down. But not so anymore. Recent research and clinical findings show that there is much more to life for arthritis patients than the traditional recommendation of bed rest and drug therapy.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
The word "arthritis" means "joint inflammation" and is often used in reference to rheumatic diseases. Rheumatic diseases include more than 100 conditions, including gout, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and many more. Rheumatoid arthritis is also a rheumatic diseases, affecting about 1 percent of the U.S. population (about 2.1 million people.)1 Although rheumatoid arthritis often begins in middle age and is more frequent in the older generation, it can also start at a young age.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints. Several features distinguish it from other kinds of arthritis:

  • Tender, warm, and swollen joints.
  • Fatigue, sometimes fever, and a general sense of not feeling well.
  • Pain and stiffness lasts for more than 30 minutes after a long rest.
  • The condition is symmetrical. If one hand is affected, the other one is, too.
  • The wrist and finger joints closest to the hand are most frequently affected. Neck, shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, ankle, and feet joints can also be affected.
  • The disease can last for years and can affect other parts of the body, not only the joints.2

Rheumatoid arthritis is highly individual. Some people suffer from mild arthritis that lasts from a few months to a few years and then goes away. Mild or moderate arthritis have periods of worsening symptoms (flares) and periods of remissions, when the patient feels better. People with severe arthritis feel pain most of the time. The pain lasts for many years and can cause serious joint damage and disability.

Should Arthritis Patients Exercise?
Exercise is critical in successful arthritis management. It helps maintain healthy and strong muscles, joint mobility, flexibility, endurance, and helps control weight. Rest, on the other hand, helps to decrease active joint inflammation, pain, and fatigue. For best results, arthritis patients need a good balance between the two: more rest during the active phase of arthritis, and more exercise during remission.2 During acute systematic flares or local joint flares, patients should put joints gently through their full range of motion once a day, with periods of rest. To see how much rest is best during flares, patients should talk to their health care providers.3

The following exercises are most frequently recommended for patients with arthritis:*

Type of ExerciseBenefits
Frequency of Exercise
Range-of-motion exercises,
e.g. stretching and dance
Help maintain normal joint movement and increase joint flexibility.Can be done daily and should be done at least every other day.
Strengthening exercises,
e.g. weight lifting
Help improve muscle strength, which is important to support and protect joints affected by arthritis.Should be done every other day, unless pain and swelling are severe
Aerobic or endurance exercises,
e.g. walking, bicycle riding, and
Help improve the cardiovascular system and muscle tone and control weight. Swimming is especially valuable because of its minimal risk of stress injuries and low impact on the bodyShould be done for 20 to 30 minutes three times a week unless pain and swelling are severe.

Range-of-motion exercises, e.g. stretching and dance Help maintain normal joint movement and increase joint flexibility. Can be done daily and should be done at least every other day. Strengthening exercises, e.g. weight lifting Help improve muscle strength, which is important to support and protect joints affected by arthritis. Should be done every other day, unless pain and swelling are severe. Aerobic or endurance exercises, e.g. walking, bicycle riding, and swimming Help improve the cardiovascular system and muscle tone and control weight. Swimming is especially valuable because of its minimal risk of stress injuries and low impact on the body. Should be done for 20 to 30 minutes three times a week unless pain and swelling are severe.

* Adapted from Questions and Answers about Arthritis and Exercise.3

If patients experience

  • Unusual or persistent fatigue,
  • Increased weakness,
  • Decreased range of motion,
  • Increased joint swelling, or
  • Pain that lasts more than one hour after exercising,

they need to talk to their health care provider.3 Doctors of chiropractic will help arthritis patients develop or adjust their exercise programs to achieve maximum health benefits with minimal discomfort and will identify the activities that are off limits for this particular arthritis patient.

Nutrition for the Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient
Arthritis medications help suppress the immune system and slow the progression of the disease. But for those who prefer an alternative approach, nutrition may provide complementary support. Some evidence shows that nutrition can play a role in controlling the inflammation, and possibly also in slowing the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.

Some foods and nutritional supplements can be helpful in managing arthritis:

  • Fatty-acid supplements: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Several studies point to the effectiveness of these fatty acid supplements in reducing joint pain and swelling, and lessening reliance on corticosteroids.4,5
  • Deep-sea fish, such as salmon, tuna, herring, and halibut, are sources of EPA and DHA. GLA is found in very few food sources, such as black currants and borage seed.
  • Turmeric, a spice that's used to make curry dishes, may also be helpful. A 95 percent curcuminoid extract has been shown to significantly inhibit the inflammatory cascade and provide relief of joint inflammation and pain.
  • Ginger extract has been shown to be beneficial in terms of inflammation.
  • Nettle leaf extract may inhibit some inflammatory pathways.
  • A vegetarian or low-allergen diet can help with the management of rheumatoid arthritis as well.

The benefits and risks of most of these agents are being researched. Before taking any dietary supplement, especially if you are using medication to control your condition, consult with your health care provider.

What Can Your Doctor of Chiropractic Do?
If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor of chiropractic can help you plan an individualized exercise program that will:

  • Help you restore the lost range of motion to your joints.
  • Improve your flexibility and endurance.
  • Increase your muscle tone and strength.

Doctors of chiropractic can also give you nutrition and supplementation advice that can be helpful in controlling and reducing joint inflammation.


1.     Questions and Answers about Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. February 2002. Available from

2.     Handout on Health: Rheumatoid Arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Jan. 1998, revised Nov. 1999. Available from

3.     Questions and Answers about Arthritis and Exercise. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. May 2001. Available from

4.     Fortin Paul R., et al. Validation of a meta-analysis: the effects of fish oil in rheumatoid arthritis. J Clin Epidemiol, Vol. 48, 1995, pp. 1379-90.

5.     Navarro Elisabet, et al. Abnormal fatty acid pattern in rheumatoid arthritis - A rationale for treatment with marine and botanical lipids. J Rheum, Vol. 27, February 2000, pp. 298-303.

The worldwide type 2 diabetes epidemic has been thoroughly documented.1,2 Yet despite extensive study and analysis, there has been little actual progress in slowing the spread of this chronic disease. Numerous medications such as metformin and glyburide are available to help counter the severe problems that result from unchecked diabetes. But if the person with diabetes doesn't assist in the process of getting well, the disease will continue on its unrelenting course. There are many important  steps a diabetic patient can take to improve his or her health status. Better still, these same steps may be implemented by healthy persons to ward off type 2 diabetes in the first place.

In type 2 diabetes, the cells of your body become resistant to the effects of insulin. Normally, the hormone insulin promotes the absorption of glucose from the blood by muscle cells and fat cells. With insulin resistance, glucose fails to be properly absorbed by these cells and blood levels of glucose rise. Over time, some of this excess glucose is converted into fat, increasing the person's weight, causing high blood pressure, and placing undue stress on the heart. Further, prolonged exposure to excess glucose damages small blood vessels and nerve fibers, leading to significant pain along large nerve tracts (neuropathies), loss of circulation to and even amputation of a lower limb, kidney disease, kidney failure, eye disease, and blindness.

Thus, diabetes can be devastating for both patients and their families. The annual public health costs related to diabetes treatment are huge. Diabetes costs in the U.S. were $245 billion in 2012, representing $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in lost productivity. Worse, in 2012, 9.3% (29.1 million) of Americans had diabetes, up from 8.3% (25.8 million persons) in 2010. Costs of diabetes to patients, families, and society continue to rise.

The only feasible method of combating the worldwide diabetes epidemic focuses on individual initiative. Medical treatment, by definition, arrives after the fact, typically years after the diabetes process has been set in motion. Prevention is the best strategy. Adopting a lifestyle that, indirectly, leads to appropriate utilization of insulin rather than insulin resistance offers a real, effective solution to diabetes prevention. More than 20 years of research has demonstrated that 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day, combined with a healthy diet and sufficient rest, will substantially assist a person in avoiding chronic diseases such as diabetes.3 Personal accountability and personal responsibility are called for. It is up to each of us to make such choices in the best interest of ourselves and our families.

1Vollenweider P, et al: HDLs, Diabetes, and Metabolic Syndrome. Handb Exp Pharmacol 224:405-421, 2015
2Skrha J: Diabetes mellitus--a global pandemic. Keynote lecture presented at the Wonca conference in Prague in June 2013. Eur J Gen Pract 20(1):65-68, 2014
3Orio F, et al: Lifestyle changes in the management of adulthood and childhood obesity. Minerva Endocrinol 2014 Dec 17. [Epub ahead of print]


Resolution of Infertility Following Subluxation Based Chiropractic Care: A Case Study

Peter Lombardi, D.C. & Korey Revels, D.C. 

Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research ~ April 27, 2015 ~ Pages 99-107 


Objective:  To discuss the care of a patient with infertility and other complaints undergoing chiropractic care to correct vertebral subluxations. 

Clinical Features:  Twenty seven year old female sought chiropractic care for infertility, low back pain, headaches, neck pain, mid-back pain, sinus problems, sore throat, and dizziness. Upon examination, it was revealed that she was under medical care for infertility since being diagnosed five months prior to seeking chiropractic care. 

Interventions and Outcome:  Chiropractic care included: mirror image adjusting, Thompson drops and Diversified adjustments with cervical extension compression traction.  After two and a half months of regular chiropractic care, the patient conceived.   

Conclusion:  An infertile female who was diagnosed with anovula sought chiropractic care. During chiropractic care, the patient became pregnant.  More research is warranted to fully explore the benefits of chiropractic care on infertility. 

Key Words: Infertility, chiropractic, thermography, adjustment, vertebral subluxation, spinal manipulative therapy

Insufficient sleep may result in reduced productivity and concentration, impaired memory, decreased learning and logical reasoning abilities, and can also lead to increased feelings of stress causing difficulty in all areas of life. There is also mounting evidence that long-term sleep debt may be a factor in managing the difficulties associated with diabetes, obesity and a weakened immune system. A National Sleep Foundation poll found that 60% of American adults experience sleep problems at some time.

Though everyone’s individual sleep needs vary, most healthy adults need an average of eight hours of sleep each night. However, the quality of sleep is usually more important than the quantity of sleep. Getting enough sleep without interruptions from your environmental or internal factors is more likely to help maintain your body’s natural sleep pattern and result in more restful and restorative sleep.

How Chiropractic Care Relates to Insomnia and Sleep Disorders

It is very common for patients to advise their chiropractors that they sleep much better after being adjusted.

Because the nervous system controls and coordinates all the different functions of your body, any disruption in nerve communication to your organs and body tissues will result in abnormal function. Chiropractors help restore normal nerve function and communication, thereby allowing your body to work normally and naturally.

Breathing is one of the most essential tasks we carry out everyday without even thinking. Until now, when we stop and focus on our breathing, we find that we can use it in positive ways to help achieve a goal. The premeditated breathing practices help them through labor and delivery without the need for drugs or epidurals. Or think about meditative and martial arts breathing which can release great amounts of stress or produce immense power. Correct breathing techniques are definitely rooted in these philosophies.

Vocalists certainly know the importance of breathing the right way to belt out a tune, but what you can say about the daily breathing techniques for general health? A lot of investigate studies have revealed that chiropractic care is advantageous and that it is more cost effective in the treatment of low back pain and other common musculoskeletal conditions than traditional Western medicine is. Chiropractic also minimizes health care costs by focusing on hindrance, as well as on treatment.

Chiropractors and the Doctors of Chiropractic, frequently treat patients suffering from chronic pain and dysfunction which have connected indications of breathing trouble. The factor to be noticed is one of the first signs that many chiropractors see in patients with chronic back or neck pain is poor breathing. Poor breathing and poor posture can cause or contribute to chronic back and neck pain. Poor breathing is thin and uses only the chest and not the diaphragm, the deep muscle down in the abdomen.

This not only restricts your oxygen intake but also puts added stress on the smaller muscles in your upper body to do the job of what the diaphragm should be doing. Think of the muscles your traps or anterior neck muscles, these muscles in your neckline and shoulders then becomes strained and tired, as they are not intended to do daily breathing, contribute to an ongoing cycle of poor posture and chronic pain.

So how will you breathe properly? To breathe properly you use your diaphragm, the large muscle between your lungs and abdomen. Here is a fundamental test to establish if you are breathing correctly. Lie on your back on the floor or on your bed. Put one hand on your chest and one hand over your stomach. Take a deep breath. Did your stomach move out? If so, then it’s fine. You are using your diaphragm for regular deep breaths. If your stomach went in, this means that you are using mainly the “helper muscles” in your upper body to breathe.

Lay the burden on the helper muscles add to your risk for muscle fatigue, rigidity, and pain. Chronic poor breathing can cause your body’s core (abdomen, back, and hips) to become disturbed. As soon as this happens, other health issues can follow (back pain, digestive problems, infertility, tension, headaches, and more). Studies have continually shown that individuals who seek the care of a chiropractor on a regular basis are healthier and, generally, spend less on health care than those who do not.

What is fish oil?
Fish oil is a rich source of the two essential omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). It is found in the fatty tissues of cold water, oily fish. It is also available in supplement form for those who eat little or no fish.

Why is it necessary?
Both omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids, which means the body cannot make them, they must be obtained from the diet. For most of human history, these fatty acids were present in the diet in roughly equal amounts. However, modern foods provide an overabundance of omega-6 fatty acids, mostly from refined vegetable oils that are used in fried food as well as snack foods, cookies and crackers. Omega-3s, conversely, are now relatively rare in American diets. The result is an imbalance of these essential fats that drives inflammation and promotes several diseases.

Compared to typical dietary intakes, regular consumption of fatty fish and/or supplemental fish oil and the omega-3 fatty acids these contain, combined with reduced intake of omega-6 fatty acids, can optimize fatty acid ratios and may help to protect mental and physical health. EPA supports heart health and DHA is a constituent of membranes of nerve cells in the brain and is thought to play an important role in normal brain development and function. Research indicates omega-3s reduce inflammation, and may in turn help reduce the risk and symptoms of a variety of disorders influenced by inflammation. These may include heart attack, stroke, several forms of cancer and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

What are the signs of a deficiency?
The average American diet is universally lacking in omega-3's. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in the health conditions noted above, so the development of any of those conditions may indicate a deficiency. Other signs of possible deficiency include excessive thirst, frequent urination, and dry hair and skin.

How much, and what kind, does an adult need?
Dr. Weil recommends eating oily fleshed, wild caught, cold water fish 2-3 times per week. If you use fish oil capsules, he recommends taking a product that provides 700 to 1,000 mg of EPA and 200 to 500 mg of DHA daily in the smallest number of pills. If you use liquid fish oil, find one that provides these amounts in the fewest teaspoons. Pregnant women in particular should be sure to supplement, as adequate supplies of omega-3 fatty acids are crucial to optimal brain and nervous system development in the fetus. When choosing a supplement, look for one derived from molecularly distilled fish oils - these are naturally high in both EPA and DHA and low in contaminants. Also choose a supplement brand that has been independently tested and guaranteed to be free of heavy metals such as mercury and lead, and other environmental toxins including polychlorinated biphenyls, also known as PCBs.

How much does a child need?
Fish oil has been used at one to three grams daily to help alleviate the symptoms of ADHD in children, but Dr. Weil believes the evidence is clear that all children can benefit from eating cold-water, oily fish at least twice weekly or from supplementing with one gram of fish oil daily. Effective doses are not clearly established, so consult your pediatrician before giving children fish oil supplements.

How do you get enough from foods?
Oily fleshed, cold water fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring and black cod are the best sources of fish oil.

Are there any risks associated with too much?
Very large intakes of fish oil/omega-3 fatty acids (termed "Eskimo amounts" by the National Institutes of Health, referring to diets that consist almost exclusively of fish) may increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, and have been associated with nosebleed and blood in the urine.

Are there any other special considerations?
Because they can affect blood clotting, use fish oil supplements cautiously if you're taking any anticoagulant drugs such as Coumadin (warfarin), have had a hemorrhagic stroke, or are scheduled for surgery. People with allergies to fish should avoid fish-derived omega-3 capsules. Fish flesh may contain mercury, so pregnant and breastfeeding women and children should take care to eat species of fish that are low on the food chain and relatively free of contaminants. Dr. Weil particularly recommends sardines, as they are both relatively mercury-free and abundant.

Updated by: Andrew Weil, M.D., and Brian Becker, M.D., on January 10, 2013

Driving fast is not necessarily a good thing. We want to get where we're going as quickly as possible, but we also want to arrive safely. If we drive too fast, we may encounter all sorts of problems. If we drive too slow, we're wasting time and may be causing traffic problems behind us. These competing considerations will both be fulfilled by maintaining an average velocity that is at or close to the posted speed limit. We want to find the "sweet spot," the happy medium that both saves time and helps keep us safe.

The same principles may also be applied when we're exercising. We want to improve, get stronger, and build more endurance as soon as we can, while simultaneously avoiding injury and staying healthy. Very often, these goals may conflict. It's important to ensure that we're exercising efficiently and making certain we're deriving the greatest benefit from our exercise time. These benefits are obtained by a steady approach, one that focuses on incremental gains accomplished over time.1

It's natural to want to arrive at a desired outcome quickly. But as with any other form of training, whether learning to play the piano or becoming a competent chess player, substantial time is required to produce long lasting results. In the case of exercise, trying to hurry the process will usually cause an injury. You'll be set back at least weeks, if not months, and you'll have to start over, pretty much from the beginning.

For almost all of us the "tortoise" approach, rather than that of the "hare" in the well-known fable, will produce the health benefits we're hoping to achieve from our daily exercise. If you've never walked before and want to incorporate this aerobic activity as part of your exercise routine, start with a 10-minute walk. This doesn't sound like much, but that is precisely the point. Start by doing a little and build up gradually and consistently. Within 6 or 8 weeks you'll be doing 30-40 minute brisk walks several times a week, which will represent a very good aerobic exercise program. Incorporating strength training into your routine will employ a similar method. For each of your exercises (such as bench press, one-arm row, squat, toe raise, shoulder press, biceps curl, and lying triceps press), begin with a weight with which you can comfortably do 10 repetitions. If you can't do 10 reps, the weight is too heavy. Start with that weight and do 3 sets per exercise. Build up gradually by increasing the weight by 5%, if possible, each week or every 2 weeks. After 10 to 12 weeks you'll be noticeably stronger and your metabolism will begin to be more efficient.2,3

By progressing slowly and steadily, you will build a solid base and make consistent and possibly substantial gains in your exercise routine. You will get where you want to get safely and effectively. The long-term outcome will be enhanced health, wellness, and well-being.

1Marongiu E, Crisafulli A: Cardioprotection acquired through exercise: the role of ischemic preconditioning. Curr Cardiol Rev 10(4):336-348, 2014
2Huxel Bliven KC, Anderson BE: Core stability training for injury prevention. Sports Health 5(6):514-522, 2013
3Granacher U, et al: The importance of trunk muscle strength for balance, functional performance, and fall prevention in seniors: a systematic review. Sports Med 43(7):627-641, 2013

Chiropractic care is a non-surgical treatment option for herniated discs. But what is a chiropractor's approach to treating a herniated disc?  Before we get to that, we need a quick review of what a herniated disc is.

What Is a "Slipped" Disc?  Is It the Same as a Herniated Disc?

There is an intervertebral disc between each vertebra of the spine. Discs act as a shock absorber and a shock distributor.

Imagine if you jump up and down. What would happen to the stack of bony vertebrae that make up the spine without the cushioning and support of these discs? Now, move your back from side to side. Again, you can visualize the give and take of the discs between the vertebrae. Without these discs, your spine couldn't function.

Intervertebral discs don't really "slip"—although the phrase "slipped disc" has come into popular usage to refer to bulging, ruptured, or herniated discs. Throughout this article, we'll refer to herniated discs, which is the more correct term.

Your discs are made up of the annulus fibrosus (the tough outer layer) and the nucleus pulposus (which contains a soft, gelatin-like center). (See Figure 1 below.) When cracks occur in the outer layer of the disc, the material inside of the disc can begin to push out. Numerous factors can cause a disc to herniate.

For example, there may be too much stress on the disc due to poor posture or from being overweight.

In fact, a herniated disc can be caused by a combination of factors.

Read about common herniated disc causes

Can Sneezing Cause a Herniated Disc?

For many people with back pain caused by a back pain condition (ie, herniated disc), the problem starts off small and then gradually builds until you start to feel symptoms, such as back pain. See Figure 2, which shows the various stages of disc degeneration.

For example, let's say you sneeze and feel a sudden, sharp pain in your back. Then that pain progresses into leg pain. You may have had an underlying herniated disc, and the sneeze was what triggered it to progress.  So, yes:  a sneeze (or a cough) can herniate an intervertebral disc.

More In-depth Articles on Herniated Disc Treatments

·         Medications

·         Exercise

·         Physical therapy

·         Alternative treatments

·         Surgery

Chiropractic Care and Herniated Discs

A chiropractor can help address back pain and other herniated disc symptoms.

At your initial appointment, your chiropractor will go through your medical history, do a physical exam, and perform orthopaedic and neurological tests.

Your chiropractor will look for several things.

·         Are the reflexes intact?  That is:  are your nerves sending messages correctly?  (The classic reflex test is when the doctor taps your knee with a small hammer and your leg kicks up.)

·         Is there loss of muscle strength or signs of muscle wasting?

·         Is there loss of sensation along the path of a nerve?

These are important questions the orthopaedic and neurological exams can help your chiropractor answer.

The chiropractor will also carefully look at your posture, and he or she may order an x-ray or MRI, if necessary, to help with the diagnostic process.

Chiropractors evaluate the entire spine.  Even if you only have lower back pain, your chiropractor will examine your neck, too, for example.  He or she wants to see how well your spine is functioning overall, and remember:  What happens in one area of your spine can influence other parts of your spine and/or body.

After reviewing this information, your chiropractor can determine if you have an intervertebral disc injury. The type of disc injury you have will determine what treatments your chiropractor will use to address your symptoms.

Some patients are not good candidates for some types of chiropractic care treatments. For example, if you have cauda equina syndrome (a condition in which you lose control of your bowel/bladder with an accompanying intervertebral disc injury), then you will need immediate medical care as this is something that cannot be treated by your chiropractor.

In addition, if your chiropractor finds that you have advanced loss of strength, sensation, reflexes, and other unusual neurological findings, then he or she will refer you to a spine surgeon.

However, most intervertebral disc injuries are related to a herniated disc, and your chiropractor can provide you with various treatment options to address your pain and other symptoms.

To treat a herniated disc, your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan that may include spinal manipulation and other chiropractic techniques to help ease your herniated disc symptoms. This will be an individualized treatment plan, but it may include manual therapy and therapeutic exercises.

The specifics of what are in your treatment plan are particular to your pain, level of activity, overall health, and what your chiropractor thinks is best.  As with any treatment option, don't hesitate to ask questions about what chiropractic treatments are being recommended and why.  You want to make sure you understand what will be done and how it can help relieve your pain.

Below are some examples of chiropractic techniques used for herniated discs.

Flexion-distraction Technique for Herniated Discs 
A common chiropractic technique is the flexion-distraction technique, which can be used to help address herniated disc symptoms.

Flexion-distraction involves the use of a specialized table that gently "distracts" or stretches the spine. This allows the chiropractor to isolate the affected area while slightly "flexing" the spine using a pumping rhythm.

There is usually no pain associated with this treatment. Instead, the flexion-distraction technique's gentle pumping to the painful area allows the center of the intervertebral disc (called the nucleus pulposus) to assume its central position in the disc. Flexion-distraction may also improve disc height.

This technique can help move the disc away from the nerve, reducing inflammation of the nerve root, and eventually any associated pain and inflammation into the leg (if there is any related to your herniated disc).

With flexion-distraction, you generally need a series of treatments combined with adjunctive physiotherapy, supplementation, and at-home treatments (your chiropractor will let you know what those are). Gradually, specific exercises to treat your herniated disc will be incorporated into your treatment plan.

Your chiropractor will monitor you throughout the treatment plan.

Pelvic Blocking Techniques for Herniated Discs 
Chiropractors also use pelvic blocking techniques to treat herniated disc symptoms.

Pelvic blocking treatments include using cushioned wedges, which are placed under each side of the pelvis. Gentle exercises may also be used. These will allow changes in mechanics to draw your disc away from the nerve it may be pressing on.

Will Chiropractic Care Help Your Herniated Disc?

It's a misconception that chiropractors "pop a disc back in place" using forceful adjustments. Another misconception is that chiropractic care involves a few quick treatments, which can "fix" your disc. Instead, as explained above, chiropractors treat herniated discs using gentle low-force techniques.

Your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan for your herniated disc, and if your symptoms do not improve with chiropractic care techniques, your chiropractor may recommend a consultation with a spine surgeon.

All Migraines are headaches.  However, only about 7 percent of headaches are migraines.
The effect of a migraine is extreme sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and possibly vomiting.  Migraines last from 4 to 24 hours, and range in severity from painful to absolutely debilitating.
Current treatment includes resting in a dark, quiet room, sleeping and chiropractic adjustments.
About 90% of non-migraine headaches may be triggered by muscle tension and definitely can be helped by chiropractic adjustments.

It is a bit unsettling to tell your doctor that your chief complaint is feeling tired all the time only to hear your diagnosis is called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which basically means you are tired all the time. Understanding why your body is lacking energy is the key to understanding this ailment. Certainly, more research needs to be done to determine the cause of this condition.
Other complaints that often accompany Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are: Allergies, sensitivity to chemicals and certain odors, headaches, muscle soreness, sore throat, short term memory loss, trouble concentrating, and problems sleeping. Although these symptoms vary from one individual to another, the chief complaint of fatigue is the most stated reason for the loss of work or problems with handling daily activities. 
Although the source of Chronic Fatigue is not known, there are theories that this condition could be either allergy related or caused by some virus or parasite that infects the tissues of the body. These foreign invaders create a prolonged chronic immune reaction that gradually drains energy from your body.  If you also suffer from sleep disturbance, the energy drain only worsens.
To find out if you suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is not a simple task. Medically, the diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome often involves several tests to rule out other similar disorders like Ebstein Barr, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and several other fatigue causing conditions.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is usually only diagnosed by the absence of these other disorders.
Chiropractors have treated many patients who present with this condition. Many times, a patient will seek out a chiropractic alternative when the exhaustive trips for medical testing seem to lead nowhere or your doctor concludes you simply have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Although chiropractors do not know the cause of this ailment either, the Chiropractic approach to helping the body to help itself is often a welcome and winning approach to helping those who suffer from this condition.
Some chiropractors have seen patients with this condition improve after upper cervical adjustments. This is the area in your neck that is about an inch or less below where your head and neck come together. It is believed that long term irritation to the nerves associated with the upper cervical spine may create several of the elements found in Chronic fatigue Syndrome such as an imbalance in the immune system, chronic muscle stress, and organ and glandular imbalances. 
Chiropractic care also helps improve your response to this disorder through improving the oxygen exchange in your tissues. Therapies like massage treatments, acupressure, and exercise therapy, are often utilized in chiropractic offices. Creating a good diet is also another essential measure in ridding the body of fatigue and supplying it with energy. Your Doctor of Chiropractic can talk with you to discuss your particular nutritional needs.

The Macintosh operating system for Apple computers contains a subprogram called "Time Machine" that allows you to reset your status to any previously saved state. Provided that you have designated a location for backups, you can literally go back in time and recover documents, directories, and applications you may have overwritten, deleted, or otherwise lost. "Time Machine" is a marvelous productivity tool that permits us to recover from our mistakes. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had a similar "Time Machine" that would enable us to recover our lost good health? The very good news is that we do.

In fact, you don't have to be a real-life character in an H.G. Well's fantasy tale to be able to achieve a certain degree of metaphorical time travel. You may recall the slogan, "50 is the new 30," which spread quickly through worldwide media outlets about 10 years ago. The notion that "60 is the new 40" soon followed. Surprisingly, unlike most sound bites that propagate effortlessly along social media pipelines, these hopeful phrases actually contained meaningful content. Age 50 and age 60 could, in numerous respects, really be the new 30 and 40.

But not everyone is willing to do what it takes to either slow down time's relentless ticking or to turn back the clock. Real time, that is, your personal time, and real effort are required to achieve the goal of prolonged good health. People age 50, 60, 70, and more-than-80 can enjoy the physical capabilities (mostly), the mental sharpness, and the appearance (within reason) that we used to think belonged only to persons many years younger. The price of admission to such a process is continuously engaging in the inner workings of the time machine that is available to each of us. We activate and maintain the operation of this "relativistic" system by eating a healthy diet, doing vigorous exercise for at least 30 minutes five times a week,1,2 and getting sufficient rest on a regular basis, which for most of us means 7 or more hours of sleep per night.

Upon being told of these requirements for good health,3many people will push back. "I don't have the time" is the primary reply. Of course, one is free not to eat right. One is free not to exercise. But the results of not following-through on these action steps are profound. Heart disease, diabetes, and obesity are the primary outcomes of not engaging in health-promoting behaviors. Interestingly, many people are aware that failing to participate in healthy activities will lead to cardiovascular disease and related disorders. Obviously, mere awareness is not sufficient. What is required is an active choice. If we desire to gain the benefits of our personal time machine  we must be willing to pay the price of time.

1Phillips C, et al: Neuroprotective effects of physical activity on the brain: a closer look at trophic factor signaling. Front Cell Neurosci 8:170, 2014
2Lee JS, et al: Effects of 8-week combined training on body composition, isokinetic strength, and cardiovascular disease risk factors in older women. Aging Clin Exp Res 2014 Jul 6. [Epub ahead of print]
3Erickson KI, et al: Physical activity, fitness, and gray matter volume. Neurobiol Aging 35S2:S20-S28, 2014

Written by Trica Arndt, DC, DACCP

“Ouch! My legs hurt, Mommy!” Have you ever had your child wake up in the middle of the night complaining of leg pains? Do you remember having them as a child?

These are commonly referred to as “growing pains” and can be defined as recurrent leg pain in children ages 2–12 years. The term “growing pains” was first seen in medical literature in 1823. There were many different explanations for these pains. Some, such as the assertion that pains are a symptom of rheumatic fever, have been discredited.

What are Growing Pains?

Although there are no known medical causes, theories of cause range from muscle fatigue to juvenile arthritis. According to a 1984 study, limb pain was a presenting complaint in 7% of pediatrician visits. A South Australian study published in the August 2004 issue of the Journal of Pediatrics found that approximately 36.9% of children 4–6 years of age experienced growing pains. This was nearly one third of the children in the population. These leg pains are usually brushed off as normal occurrences by medical doctors who contribute them to daily physical activity. Parents are given few to no options for treatment. Typically, massaging the legs and the use of analgesics are the only suggestions. Parents are told this is normal during the growth process and it will pass. This offers no comfort to parents who awaken to their child’s cries night after night. Should we accept this weak diagnosis of “growing pains” that affect 25%–40% of children? The answer is “NO!” Are there other options available to alleviate these leg pains? YES! Try Chiropractic!

Getting to the Cause

So, what causes these “growing pains”? From a chiropractic standpoint, we must look at the biomechanical issues. We must first understand the growth process time line. The first five years of a child’s life is the time of greatest spinal growth. During the first year of life, the spine increases 12 cm in length and another 15 cm between 1 and 5 years of age. Between 5 and 10 years of age, the growth rate decreases to 10 cm. There is another increase at puberty between approximately 10 and 18 years of age with 20 cm of spinal grown in males and 15 cm in females. Logically, if something interferes with this growth process, there may be problems. What if a child was put into a baby walker before his/ her body was ready to walk? This premature walking assistance can alter biomechanics, leading to postural abnormalities, disruption of proper locomotion skills, and also injury to the child. Other interferences of the growth process may include birth trauma, a fall, sports injuries, and overly sedentary lifestyles.

Another important point is that many of these children also have complaints of spinal pain in addition to the leg pain. There is little medical research, but, much of what there is focuses only on growing in the legs. Chiropractors look at the body as a whole and not as separate parts. Chiropractors recognize that, if there is stress in one area of the body, the rest of the body will somehow compensate for this stress.

How Does Chiropractic Help?

Chiropractors work with the spine and nervous system. The nervous system controls every system, organ, and cell in the body. The spinal column houses the nerves, with nerve roots exiting between each spinal bone, called vertebrae. Stress overload, such as physical, emotional, or chemical stress, affects nerve system function. Causes of stress overload in the child originate from physical traumas such as the birth process, postural compensations (i.e. sedentary postures and backpack carrying compensations), and common childhood injuries.

Nerve stress can affect any system or organ of the body. The doctor of chiropractic performs a thorough exam of the child’s spine and locates areas of misalignment contributing to this nerve system stress. The specific chiropractic adjustment restores nerve system function and the child’s whole body benefits. Growing pains is one common disorder resulting from nerve system stress. The child may feel leg pain, which can range from an achy, throbbing feeling to a sharp pain.

Altered biomechanics and spinal misalignment, especially in the lower lumbar spine and pelvis, creates imbalances in the quadriceps, hamstring, and calf muscles, which may contribute to leg pain. Pelvic misalignment can lead to leg-length inequalities; the child is unevenly distributing his or her weight, placing additional stress and strain not only on the spine, but feet, ankles, and knees as well.

An article published in Dynamic Chiropractic (September 1992) revealed a strong correlation between sacroiliac subluxation, or pelvic misalignment, on the side of the leg pain. The clinical experience of this author was rapid resolution of symptoms, sometimes instantaneously, with the chiropractic adjustment. In another chiropractic publication, Conference Proceedings of the Centennial Foundation (July 1995) there was a marked reduction in their so-called “growing pains” under chiropractic manipulative therapy with respects to frequency and duration.

I can recall one of my young patients with severe leg pains. He was three years old and had leg pains both day and night. All his parents knew to do was rub his legs, with minimal relief. He couldn’t run or play for very long without the pain returning. He also said his “butt” hurt (pointing to his lower back area) when he experienced leg pains. I found a significant spinal misalignment in his lower back area, which I adjusted. Within a week of chiropractic care, his leg and “butt” pain were practically gone! What a relief to this three-yearold boy and his parents!

An interesting fact that I learned from this patient’s mother was that his two older sisters also had a history of growing pains. Could there be a hereditary factor involved? I believe there may be a slight link, but I could not find substantiating literature. In my professional opinion, I feel the main factor is spinal misalignment, leading to imbalances and pain in the legs and lower back. Every child with growing pains whom I have seen had an obvious misalignment in their lower back and pelvis, along with leg length inequalities, and postural distortions. In speaking to chiropractors who work with children, I continue to hear success stories about their young patients with “growing pains.”

Additional Recommendations

Along with chiropractic care, I recommend supplementation to the diet, specifically a multiple vitamin and calcium/magnesium. I prefer using whole food supplements with my patients that are cold processed so the vitamin complexes are not destroyed when they are made. Catalyn® and Calcium Lactate from Standard Process are the multiple vitamin and calcium supplement of choice in my office. They are easily digestible and will supply the child with good nutritional support for the musculoskeletal system. There are other good quality supplements available. Talk with your chiropractor about what he or she recommends for your child.

Proper hydration is important to avoid muscle cramping and maintain electrolyte balance.

I suggest that the child drink half of their body weight in ounces of water per day; more if they are physically active.

Other suggestions to manage growing pains are stretching the lower back, quadriceps, and hamstrings, and balancing on a wobble board to work on stabilization of the lower back. I believe this is especially important if the child is involved with sports. If there are any muscular imbalances in the lower back, knees, or ankles, it could make the child more susceptible to injury.

Be concerned and aware of the sources of physical stress to children’s spine. Back packs, slouching, and sitting too long are common causes of stress overload in the older child.

Great things are to be said about the effect of chiropractic care on “growing pains.” When stress is removed from the spine and nervous system, it allows the body to function at its best. Nothing is more satisfying than when I have a parent tell me their child is sleeping peacefully through the night. No longer do they have to stop playing because the pain in their legs is so severe. How wonderful it is to witness the parent and child find the cause of their problems and not merely palliate the symptoms. What more could a parent want for their child?

About the Author:

Tricia Arndt, DC, DACCP is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic. She is certified in pediatrics by the ICPA, certified in the Webster Technique, and has earned her Diplomate degree from the Academy of Chiropractic Family Practice and the ICPA. Dr. Arndt is a member of the National Vaccine Information Center, and a member of the Ohio State Chiropractic Association. Dr. Arndt, a second generation chiropractor, has her own practice, Arndt Family Chiropractic, in Dublin, Ohio.

For references and additional information about the author and topic, please visit:

The hiatus is an opening in your diaphragm muscle that allows your food pipe to pass through to your stomach. A hiatal hernia happens when a portion of your stomach pushes up through the hiatus and into your chest, according to Health Services at Columbia University. This can cause a series of health problems and interfere with nerves that pass through the hiatus. Your chiropractor may suggest treatment if he suspects that you have a hiatal hernia.

Symptoms and Signs

A hiatal hernia generally doesn’t cause any symptoms, which means you may have one without ever realizing it. However, a large hernia could mimic other conditions because it causes generalized symptoms such as dull chest pains from acid reflux and shortness of breath from a diaphragmatic or lung obstruction, according to the University of Michigan Medical School. A severe hiatal hernia could also cause frequent vomiting and increase your risk of ulcers.

Effects on Vagus Nerve

Your vagus nerve runs from your lower brainstem down through your neck, chest, heart and lungs, then it travels down and breaks off into a web of nerves in your abdomen, according to the Cleveland Clinic. A hiatal hernia can cause irritation to your vagus nerve, which could lead to further symptoms that may not initially seem related to a hernia in your chest. For instance, you may end up with insufficent secretion or excessive secretion of stomach enzymes and stomach acid, and your stomach and intestinal muscles may not function properly. Vagus nerve irritation from a hiatal hernia could also cause heart palpitations, according to the University of Michigan Medical School.


You likely won’t need treatment for a hiatal hernia unless you experience symptoms such as heartburn and heart palpitations. If you suspect that you have a hiatal hernia, your first step should be to get in touch with your doctor because complications are possible. He may suggest that you control symptoms with medications such as acid neutralizers and acid reducers or blockers. He may even recommend surgery if your hernia is twisted in a manner that cuts off your blood supply or if your hernia causes severe acid reflux or severe inflammation in your esophagus, according to the Ohio State University Medical Center.

Chiropractic Treatment

Certain alternative medicine practitioners, such as chiropractors, claim that they can help cure a hiatal hernia by pushing your stomach into its natural position below your diaphragm muscle. If you seek chiropractic care for a hiatal hernia, your chiropractor may use his hands to exert pressure on your abdomen and maneuver your stomach. In the process, he could end up helping reduce the tightness and restriction on the vagus nerve pathway, according to the Ken Youngberg Therapeutic Bodyworks website. However, according to, no clinical trails of this technique have shown evidence to prove that this manipulation can cure a hiatal hernia.

Home Care

Your doctor or chiropractor may also suggest that you make lifestyle changes to reduce symptoms associated with a hiatal hernia. For instance, if you have frequent acid reflux, she may suggest that you avoid common triggers such as alcohol, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomato-based products and onions, according to She may also suggest losing weight, avoiding smoking and sitting up or taking a walk after you eat meals, as well as finding ways to reduce stress.

If you or your loved ones have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you may be wondering what the disorder means for you. The condition still remains a mystery, although an estimated 3 to 6 percent of Americans, predominantly women, have fibromyalgia syndrome. Even diagnosing the condition can be complex: according to the National Fibromyalgia Association, it can take a patient up to 4 years to be accurately diagnosed.

Fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed in patients with:

  • Widespread pain in all 4 quadrants of the body for a minimum of 3 months; and
  • Tenderness or pain in at least 11 tender points when pressure is applied. These tender points cluster around the neck, shoulder, chest, hip, knee, and elbow regions.

Some fibromyalgia experts say, however, that many people may still have fibromyalgia with fewer than 11 tender points if they have widespread pain and several other common symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disorders
  • Chronic headaches
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Cognitive or memory impairment
  • Malaise and muscle pain after exertion
  • Jaw pain
  • Morning stiffness
  • Menstrual cramping
  • Irritable bowels
  • Numbness and tingling sensations
  • Skin and chemical sensitivities

Correct Diagnosis Is Key

Correct diagnosis of fibromyalgia is very elusive, so if you are diagnosed with the disorder—or suspect that you have it—seek the opinion of more than 1 health care provider. Other conditions may create fibromyalgia—like pain, fatigue, and other symptoms. Ruling other conditions out first is very important.

In addition to clinical evaluation that will assess possible causes of your pain, your doctor may need to order blood work to determine if you have:

  • Anemia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lyme disease
  • Other rheumatic diseases
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Allergies and nutritional deficiencies
  • Disorders that cause pain, fatigue, and other fibromyalgia-like symptoms.

If the tests show that you have 1 of these conditions, treatment will focus on addressing that problem first. If your pain is caused by a muscle or joint condition, chiropractic care may help relieve it more effectively than other therapies.

Treatment Alternatives

If no underlying cause for your symptoms can be identified, you may have classic fibromyalgia. The traditional allopathic approach includes a prescription of prednisone, anti-inflammatory agents, antidepressants, sleep medications, and muscle relaxants. These temporarily relieve the symptoms, but they do produce side effects. If you prefer a natural approach, the following suggestions may be helpful:

  • Studies have shown that a combination of 300 to 600 mg of magnesium per day, along with malic acid, may significantly reduce may significantly reduce the number of tender points and the pain felt at those that remain. B vitamins may also be helpful.
  • Eating more omega-3 fatty acids and fewer saturated fats has shown promise in fibromyalgia patients. Limit red meat and saturated fats and increase the amounts of omega-3 fatty acids by including fish, flax, and walnut oils in your diet. Fatty acid deficiencies can interfere with the nervous system and brain function, resulting in depression and poor memory and concentration.
  •  Improving the quality of sleep can help reduce fatigue. Watch your caffeine intake, especially before going to bed. Reduce TV and computer time. If you watch TV in the evening, choose relaxing, funny programs instead of programs with violent or disturbing content. Ask your doctor of chiropractic for other natural ways to help you sleep better.
  • Stress-managing strategies can also help address anxiety or depression issues. Cognitive therapy has been shown helpful in relieving fibromyalgia patients’ negative emotions and depression by changing their perception of themselves and attitudes toward others.
  • A traditional gym-based or aerobic exercise program may exacerbate fibromyalgia symptoms and is not recommended. Instead, yoga, Pilates, or tai chi—which offer mild stretching, relaxation, and breathing techniques—may work better than vigorous exercise.
  • Studies have shown that acupuncture is another effective, conservative approach to treating fibromyalgia symptoms and many doctors of chiropractic offer this service right in their offices.
  • Chiropractic care has consistently ranked as one of the therapeutic approaches that offer the most relief for the fibromyalgia patient. Your doctor of chiropractic can also include massage therapy, ultrasound and electrical stimulation in the treatment program, which may help relieve stress, pain, and other symptoms.

Your doctor of chiropractic has the knowledge, training, and expertise to help you understand your problem and, in many cases, to manage it successfully. Remember, however, that the treatment program can be successful only with your active participation. If your doctor of chiropractic feels that he or she cannot help you, you will be directed to another health care provider.

J Chiropr Med. 2012 Mar; 11(1): 49–57.

doi:  10.1016/j.jcm.2011.10.002

PMCID: PMC3315873

Conservative chiropractic management of urinary incontinence using applied kinesiology: a retrospective case-series report

Scott C. Cuthberta, and Anthony L. Rosnerb

Author information ► Article notes ► Copyright and License information ►



The purpose of this case series is to describe the chiropractic management of 21 patients with daily stress and occasional total urinary incontinence (UI).

Clinical Features

Twenty-one case files of patients 13 to 90 years of age with UI from a chiropractic clinic were reviewed. The patients had a 4-month to 49-year history of UI and associated muscle dysfunction and low back and/or pelvic pain. Eighteen wore an incontinence pad throughout the day and night at the time of their appointments because of unpredictable UI.

Intervention and Outcome

Patients were evaluated for muscle impairments in the lumbar spine, pelvis, and pelvic floor and low back and/or hip pain. Positive manual muscle test results of the pelvis, lumbar spine muscles, and pelvic floor muscles were the most common findings. Lumbosacral dysfunction was found in 13 of the cases with pain provocation tests (applied kinesiology sensorimotor challenge); in 8 cases, this sensorimotor challenge was absent. Chiropractic manipulative therapy and soft tissue treatment addressed the soft tissue and articular dysfunctions. Chiropractic manipulative therapy involved high-velocity, low-amplitude manipulation; Cox flexion distraction manipulation; and/or use of a percussion instrument for the treatment of myofascial trigger points. Urinary incontinence symptoms resolved in 10 patients, considerably improved in 7 cases, and slightly improved in 4 cases. Periodic follow-up examinations for the past 6 years, and no less than 2 years, indicate that for each participant in this case-series report, the improvements of UI remained stable.


The patients reported in this retrospective case series showed improvement in UI symptoms that persisted over time.

Key indexing terms: Urinary incontinence, Pelvic floor, Manipulation, Chiropractic, Kinesiology, applied

From  Ear problems can be excruciatingly painful, especially in children. With 10 million new cases every year, ear infections (otitis media) are the most common illness affecting babies and young children and the number one reason for visits to the pediatrician—accounting for more than 35 percent of all pediatric visits.

Almost half of all children will have at least one middle ear infection before they're a year old, and two-thirds of them will have had at least one such infection by age 3. The symptoms can include ear pain, fever, and irritability. Otitis media can be either bacterial or viral in origin, and frequently results from another illness such as a cold. For many children, it can become a chronic problem, requiring treatment year after year, and putting the child at risk of permanent hearing damage and associated speech and developmental problems.

Standard treatment for most cases of otitis media is with antibiotics, which can be effective if the culprit is bacterial (antibiotics, of course, do nothing to fight off viruses). But, according to many research studies, antibiotics are often not much more effective than the body's own immune system. And repeated doses of antibiotics can lead to drug-resistant bacteria that scoff at the drugs, while leaving the child screaming in pain.

Frequent ear infections are also the second most common reason for surgery in children under 2 (with circumcision being the first). In severe cases—for example, when fluids from an ear infection haven't cleared from the ear after several months, and hearing is affected—specialists sometimes prescribe myringotomy and tympanostomy, more commonly known as "ear tubes." During the surgical procedure, a small opening is made in the eardrum to place a tube inside. The tube relieves pressure in the ear and prevents repeated fluid buildup with the continuous venting of fresh air. In most cases, the membrane pushes the tube out after a couple of months and the hole in the eardrum closes. Although the treatment is effective, it has to be repeated in some 20 to 30 percent of cases. And this kind of surgery requires general anesthesia, never a minor thing in a small child. If the infection persists even after tube placement and removal, children sometimes undergo adenoidectomy (surgical removal of the adenoids)—an option that is effective mostly through the first year after surgery.

Before yet another round of "maybe-they'll-work-and-maybe-they-won't" antibiotics or the drastic step of surgery, more parents are considering chiropractic to help children with chronic ear infections. Dr. Joan Fallon, a chiropractor who practices in Yonkers, New York, has published research showing that, after receiving a series of chiropractic adjustments, nearly 80 percent of the children treated were free of ear infections for at least the six-month period following their initial visits (a period that also included maintenance treatments every four to six weeks).

"Chiropractic mobilizes drainage of the ear in children, and if they can continue to drain without a buildup of fluid and subsequent infection, they build up their own antibodies and recover more quickly," explains Dr. Fallon. She'd like to see her pilot study used as a basis for larger-scale trials of chiropractic as a therapeutic modality for otitis media.

Dr. Fallon uses primarily upper-cervical manipulation on children with otitis media, focusing particularly on the occiput, or back of the skull, and atlas, or the first vertebra in the neck. "Adjusting the occiput, in particular, will get the middle ear to drain. Depending on how chronic it's been and on where they are in their cycle of antibiotics, children generally need to get through one bout of fluid and fight it off themselves." That means, for the average child, between six and eight treatments. If a child's case is acute, Dr. Fallon will check the ear every day, using a tympanogram to measure the ear and track the movement of the eardrum to make sure that it's draining. "I'll do adjustments every day or every other day for a couple of days if they're acute, and then decrease frequency over time."

Dr. Fallon, whose research garnered her the acclaim of childrearing magazines like Parenting and Baby Talk, often sees great success when she treats a child for otitis media. "Once they fight it themselves, my kids tend to do very well and stay away from ear infections completely. Unless there are environmental factors like smoking in the house, an abnormally shaped Eustachian tube, or something like that, they do very well," she says.

"I have two large pediatric groups that refer to me on a regular basis. In the winter, when otitis is most prevalent, I see five or six new children each week from each group," says Dr. Fallon. "It's safe and effective and something that parents should try, certainly before inserting tubes in their children's ears."

Chiropractic Care Can Help...
Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about your child's ear infections. Doctors of chiropractic are licensed and trained to diagnose and treat patients of all ages and will use a gentler type of treatment for children

Chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes have increasingly high prevalence in world populations.1 Such prevalence is rising despite extensive use of prescription medications. Problematically, many people have two or more concurrent chronic disorders and are taking multiple medications. Still often the various physicians are not in contact and are not aware of the patient's complete list of current prescriptions. No single physician or nurse is managing the patient's array of medications. As a result, potentially harmful drug interactions are a common occurrence.2,3 Mistakes are made and patients may suffer serious side effects. In such adverse circumstances, the cure in fact may be worse than the disease.  Use only one pharmacy and consult with the pharmacist regarding interactions.

In today's health care systems, people as patients need to be good custodians of their own care. In many health systems, a patient is lucky if he or she is able to spend more than five uninterrupted minutes with their doctor. Physicians are rushed and harried by numerous responsibilities related to management of their offices, all of which take precious time away from patient interactions. In such an environment, patients need to be proactive to do their best to ensure that recommended treatment is actually going to be helpful, rather than potentially harmful. This is a very difficult task, as most people do not have backgrounds that will help facilitate understanding of such decision-making. But especially for those with a chronic disease, it's critically important to master at least a basic level of information regarding their condition and various types of treatment.

In addition to expanding one's knowledge base, an important long-term strategy is to begin to make lifestyle choices that will support good health. Appropriate and effective lifestyle choices include regular exercise, a healthy diet, and sufficient rest. All three of these key components of good health can be started right now. An exercise program should consist of five 30-minute sessions of vigorous exercise every week. A healthy diet consists of daily selections from all five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. A daily diet should include at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Regarding sufficient rest, 7-8 hours of sleep per night is a good average for most people. If you're not waking up feeling rested and refreshed, you're probably not getting enough sleep. As always, before making any significant changes in your diet or exercise routine, consult a health care practitioner.

Ultimately, each of us is responsible for our own health and well-being. Prescription medication may be necessary, but of course such treatment is primarily directed toward the effects of a person's disease or disorder. Changes in lifestyle are required to address the underlying causes of such conditions. Beginning to institute and maintaining healthful lifestyle choices will provide long-term benefit for the welfare and well-being of our families and ourselves.

1Bauer UE, et al: Prevention of chronic disease in the 21st century: elimination of the leading preventable causes of premature death and disability in the USA. Lancet 384(9937):42-52, 2014
2Rotermann M, et al: Prescription medication use by Canadians aged 6 to 79. Health Rep 25(6):3-9, 2014
3Marengoni A, et al: Understanding adverse drug reactions in older adults through drug-drug interactions. Eur J Intern Med 2014 Oct 10. pii: S0953-6205(14)00282-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2014.10.001. [Epub ahead of print]

Most chronic joint-related problems involving the hip, knee, and ankle1,2 can be successfully managed with conservative treatment. Surgery for such conditions is typically a last resort and frequently does not work out well. Revision (repeat) procedures are common and represent a failure of appropriate patient selection. Severe, unrelenting, intractable pain is a suitable indication for procedures such as total joint replacement. But the best solution, of course, is to never get to such a set of circumstances in the first place. Chronic joint-related pain is often the result of faulty biomechanics. Abnormal mechanical stresses cause pain. The biggest part of the solution of such problems is learning how to correctly use your personal machine, that is, your own body.

We almost never think of what it takes for our body to work properly until something goes wrong. Usually what's going on physiologically is a seamless process, hidden from our conscious mind. However if we're experiencing chronic joint pain (or, better, at the first sign of such pain), it's time to become proactive.

Mechanical problems involving joints may be conceived as "crossing energies." Mechanical loads (such as forces of gravity) are best opposed by forces arrayed in parallel to, or perpendicular to, the force being supported. Such parallel or perpendicular forces may be thought of as "straight energies." Forces that are not "straight", that is, forces deployed at an acute angle, will cause mechanical stress to a joint over time. Such ongoing stress will damage muscles, tendons, and ligaments, resulting in strains and sprains. If these injuries are not corrected and become chronic, one may begin to experience a great deal of misery.3

Employing "straight" lines of force does not involve actually doing anything physically. Rather, such "straight energies" are activated by a process of visualization. You "see" the straight lines in your mind. To do this, you visualize a straight line running from your hip socket, through the center of your knee, across the center of your ankle, and down to the space between your first and second toes. The straight-line visualization connects your hip socket, knee, ankle, and first/second toe in both standing and bent-knee positions. Your mental image of these straight lines causes specialized nerve endings (proprioceptors) in your hip, knee, ankle, and foot to align these joints and align the mechanical actions of associated muscle-tendon groups. The result is balanced mechanical forces traversing these joints and, over time, reduction in pain. Time may be required for injured soft tissues to heal, but the typical long-term result is decreased pain and improved function.

The "straight" lines of force solution is low-tech and simple. Practice and consistency will go a long way toward successful management of chronic joint-related pain.

1Fox AS, et al: What is normal? Female lower limb kinematic profiles during athletic tasks used to examine anterior cruciate ligament injury risk: a systematic review. Sports Med 44(6):815-832, 2014
2Calatayud J, et al: Exercise and ankle sprain injuries: a comprehensive review. Phys Sportsmed 42(1):88-93, 2014
3Sidorkewicz N, et al: Examining the effects of altering hip orientation on gluteus medius and tensor fascae latae interplay during common non-weight-bearing hip rehabilitation exercises. Clin Biomech 2014 Sep 15. pii: S0268-0033(14)00213-7. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2014.09.002. [Epub ahead of print]

If you've ever been involved in a motor vehicle collision, you're probably familiar with the term "replacement parts" or "crash parts". Your auto insurance company will usually offer to repair your car using after-market bumpers, door panels, wheel assemblies, and other parts. Or, you may prefer to have the repair done with parts from the original manufacturer. Regardless of the source of the parts, your car will not be the same as it was in its original condition. It's important to bear the auto analogy in mind if a surgeon has recommended a hip, knee, or shoulder replacement as a solution to a problem of chronic pain.

The frequency of joint replacement procedures of all types is dramatically on the rise within the last 20 years.1 For example, in the United States there has been a 58% increase in total knee replacements from 2000 to 2006. There has been a 50% increase in total hip replacements from 1990 to 2002. Unfortunately, the revision rate (repeat procedures) for total knee replacement more than doubled and revision total hip replacements increased by 60% within the respective, above-noted intervals.

The simple fact is that although your body may appear to be a machine, it is rather an exceedingly complex entity whose whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. Thinking of your body as a machine may be a useful metaphor, one that may aid considerably in medical practice. But the metaphor is not the reality, and forgetting this crucial distinction may lead to substantial and possibly irremediable problems for a patient. Manufactured joints are never as good as your actual physiological structures, no matter the quality of the replacement components.

Of course, there are many circumstances in which joint replacement is indicated and provides great benefit for a patient. However, such procedures should probably be a last resort and never considered standard of care. A best practice would be to reserve joint replacement for situations in which pain is unrelenting and the person has failed several forms of conservative care.

Optimally, in most cases measures are available to avoid such radical outcomes. The best steps for each of us to take is to begin ongoing programs of regular vigorous exercise and healthy nutrition.2,3 Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and sufficient rest will assist all our physiologic systems to achieve peak levels of performance. By making such beneficial lifestyle choices, we help diminish the likelihood of chronic, debilitating pain and loss of function. As a result, we help ourselves avoid the need for replacement parts.

1Singh, JA: Epidemiology of Knee and Hip Arthroplasty: A Systematic Review. The Open Orthopaedics Journal 5:80-85, 2011
2Marley J, et al: A systematic review of interventions aimed at increasing physical activity in adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain--protocol. Syst Rev 2014 Sep 19;3(1):106. [Epub ahead of print]
3Tanaka R, et al: Effect of the Frequency and Duration of Land-based Therapeutic Exercise on Pain Relief for People with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. J Phys Ther Sci 2014 Jul;26(7):969-75. doi: 10.1589/jpts.26.969. Epub 2014 Jul 30

FROM: Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research 2003 (Mar);   4 (4):

Yasuhiko Takeda, D.C., Shouji Arai, D.C., Hideaki Touichi, D.C., Takayuki Mieda

Background:   An association between visceral disease and immune dysfunction from sympathetic segmental disturbances secondary to vertebral subluxation has been put forward by chiropractic, osteopathic and medical practitioners. We report on the positive results of a controlled study using chiropractic adjustments to reduce subluxations in patients with Crohn's disease and allergies. We also discuss possible mechanisms for the relationship between visceral and immune dysfunction and subluxation.

Methods:   We divided 57 Crohn's disease patients into two groups. A treatment group consisting of 17 patients and a control group consisting of 34 patients. 6 patients were excluded from the study because of their symptoms, progress and changes in blood test values and because vertebral subluxations were present only in the lumbar region. With all patients continuing their present medication, we subjected the treatment group of 17 patients to spinal adjustment in order to reduce the vertebral subluxations in the thoracic and lumbar regions and compared them with the 34 patients who did not receive spinal adjustments.

Results:   Of the 17 patients who received spinal adjustments, 12 showed long-term and stable remission of their symptoms and of these, 9 experienced an alleviation effect. We found that vertebral subluxation is a common and characteristic finding in patients with allergies and Crohn's disease.

Conclusion:   According to the results of this study the possibility may be considered that chronic nerve compression secondary to vertebral subluxation in the thoracic and lumbar regions had a significant effect on the immune function of these allergy and Crohn's disease patients. It is further postulated that this nerve compression leads to a chronic functional disorder having a significant effect on digestion, absorption of nutrients and liquids, conveyance of food as well as various other functions of the digestive tract extending to excretion

Those of us who are fans of the famous film "The Lion King" are of course familiar with the movie's beloved song, "Circle of Life." From the specifically human point of view, we may consider the "triangle of life" as a set of activities that supports and enables the "circle of life."

The circle of life is a metaphor for the deeply complex web of interconnectivity that creates relationships, known and unknown, between all living entities on planet Earth. Usually these relationships are not immediately present to conscious awareness. As humans, we frequently fail to notice that our actions have consequences in realms other than our own. More typically, we become mindful of these links when something goes wrong, as for example when the collapse of bee colonies worldwide is related to the spread of man-made environmental toxins such as pesticides and inert pesticide additives.

From another perspective, if we are going to be able to fully participate in the circle of life and contribute meaningfully to the welfare of our family and friends and that of the wider world around us, we ourselves need to be healthy, fit, and well. The triangle of life provides the structure from which we derive our own health and well-being.

The tripartite or threefold nature of this triangle consists of physical fitness,1,2 nutrition, and rest.Physical fitness, in the form of five 30-minute sessions of vigorous exercise each week, strengthens our heart, lungs, and every muscle fiber in our body. Ongoing physical fitness reduces our resting heart rate by increasing our heart's ability to pump more blood with each beat, increases our respiratory capacity to take in more life-giving oxygen with each breath, and causes our muscles to burn more energy even while we're at rest, resulting in reduced fat stores and a leaner, trimmer body. High-quality nutrition helps make these benefits possible. By consuming an appropriate amount of calories within a specified healthy range, making sure to eat at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, and drinking plenty of water every day, we provide a sufficient energy source for all our physical needs. Getting appropriate amounts of rest on a regular basis helps our body recover from the day's activities and replenishes our mental, emotional, and spiritual reserves so that we can function effectively to meet the needs of a new day.

Thus, to be fully effective, the triangle of life requires a full contribution from each component. We don't need to be rigid and obsessive about how we're fulfilling these requirements, but overall we derive the most benefit from consistency. As we ensure our participation in our personal triangle of life, we are simultaneously helping to strengthen and deepen our connection to the Circle of Life of which we are a critical and integral part.

1Alosco ML, et al: Obesity and cognitive dysfunction in heart failure: The role of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and physical fitness. Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs 2014 May 14. pii: 1474515114535331. [Epub ahead of print]

2Yang Z, et al: Resistance exercise versus aerobic exercise for type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med 44(4):487-499, 2014

3Saxena A, et al: Protective role of resting heart rate on all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality. Mayo Clin Proc 88(12):1420-1426, 2013

Infantile Colic Treated by Chiropractors: A Prospective Study of 316 Cases

In this study, 73 chiropractors adjusted the spines of 316 infants (median age 5.7 weeks at initial examination) with moderate to severe colic (average 5.2 hours of crying per day). The infant's mothers were provided a diary and kept track of the baby's symptoms, intensity and length of the colicky crying as well as how comfortable the infant seemed. 94% of the children within 14 days of chiropractic care (usually three visits) showed a satisfactory response. After four weeks, the improvements were maintained. One fourth of these infants showed great improvement after the very first chiropractic adjustment. The remaining infants all showed improvement within 14 days. Note: 51% of the infants had undergone prior unsuccessful treatment, usually drug therapy.

Klougart N, Nilsson N and Jacobsen J (1989)   J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1989 (Aug);12 (4): 281-288

The concept of the value and benefit of gluten-free food has been gaining momentum for the last 10 years. Discussion related to gluten-free diets goes back to the mid-1950s, but those peer-reviewed articles were primarily focused on the treatment of celiac disease and related gastrointestinal disorders. Today gluten-free diets are being adopted as an overall health-promoting measure by broad segments of the population. Is this trend merely a fad or are there actual advantages for the average person in cutting down on gluten intake?

Gluten is a structural protein found in wheat that provides a glue-like property and helps dough stick together. Gluten-containing wheat works best for bread making, and a few thousand years ago gluten-containing wheat became the standard wheat crop. Similarly, the protein in barley and rye is predominantly gluten. Researchers posit that tens of thousands of years ago our digestive systems were optimized genetically to process a diverse diet of grains. But a modern diet is mostly composed of uniform, gluten-containing grains. Our digestive systems were not designed to process such a heavy load of gluten, and the result is the development of a range of gluten-sensitivity disorders and autoimmune diseases.1

Gluten sensitivity has been proposed as a culprit in numerous conditions, including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and infertility.2,3 The link to such conditions is not clearly understood, but case reports identifying gluten sensitivity as a causal factor have appeared in numerous professional journals for more than 10 years.

For children, adolescents, and adults with such disorders, it may be appropriate to adopt a gluten-free diet to eliminate a potential source of tissue inflammation. Other persons with various nonspecific digestive complaints may also benefit from a gluten-free nutrition plan. For example, if you experience frequent, or even periodic, upset stomachs or other gastrointestinal problems, consumption of gluten may be part of the clinical scenario. Two months on a gluten-free food plan should be sufficient to determine whether gluten protein is a contributing factor to such complaints.

Going gluten-free takes a lot of dedication, time, and effort. The first step is to learn which foods in your diet contain gluten. As noted, wheat, barley, and rye are primary sources of gluten protein. Quinoa, teff, buckwheat, millet, and amaranth are gluten-free replacements for gluten-containing grains. It's important to bear in mind that many foods contain wheat and represent hidden sources of gluten, including beer, potato chips, brown rice sugar, soy sauce, and processed food such as deli meats, frozen burgers, and bread crumbs. Being gluten-free requires diligence, but the payoff may be substantial in terms of overall health and well-being.

1Sapone A, et al: Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification. BMC Med. 2012 Feb 7;10:13. doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-10-13
2Isasi C, et al: Fibromyalgia and non-celiac gluten sensitivity: a description with remission of fibromyalgia. Rheumatol Int 2014 Apr 12. [Epub ahead of print]
3Herfarth HH, et al: Prevalence of a gluten-free diet and improvement of clinical symptoms in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases. Inflamm Bowel Dis 20(7):1194-7, 2014

Science is now starting to document something chiropractors have been observing and warning about for years. For decades chiropractors have been warning the public of the danger to newborns from the currently common birth processes used today. Birth is a natural phenomenon that should not be viewed or treated as a medical condition.  However, in an attempt to “manage” the birth process, many problems are created.

The most prevalent danger chiropractors have been warning about when it comes to the birth process is the creation of subluxations. Numerous articles and symposiums have relayed scientific documentation of damage that occurs to the nervous system in the neck of newborns during the common birth process. This damage ranges from mild subluxations in the upper neck to more serious subluxations involving spinal cord damage and central nervous system problems.

Many authorities suggest that the position of the mother coupled with the pulling from the delivering physician has a lot to do with the creation of these subluxation related problems. When the delivering mother is lying on her back she is not only working partially against gravity but she has reduced the pelvic opening size. These two factors then require the attending physician to pull harder on the head of the child. This increased pulling and twisting during the birth process, coupled with a decrease in the pelvic opening and a non alignment with gravity often set the stage for birth trauma, subluxation and the resulting problems.

Health consequences to the newborn from birth trauma range from immediate and severe to hidden problems that may take years to surface. Some of the more immediate and tragic results that have been documented are spinal cord and brain stem injuries, brain bleeding and swelling, neurological deficits, breathing problems and even sudden infant death syndrome.

The long-term consequences are as varied as the nerve system itself. Some of the more commonly mentioned problems that have been linked to traumatic birth are learning disabilities, headaches, visual and hearing problems, certain palsies, and a host of immune functional problems.

Experts are suggesting that birth be handled as a normal and natural process. Many experts suggest the birthing position of choice is in an upright position of either sitting or squatting. The less force used, if any, the better.  Chiropractors have been stressing for years the importance of having a newborn checked for vertebral subluxations.  The importance of a developing child being free from nerve interference from subluxation can not be understated.

 In order to address the patient’s stress level and improve the asthma patient’s quality of life, alternative treatment methods should be considered. Relaxation techniques employed by the likes of meditation, yoga, massage, acupuncture, and breathing exercises can be very beneficial. Clinical evidence has also shown that chiropractic care and manipulation help asthma patients.

A clinical trial showed that asthma patients treated with chiropractic treatment experienced significant improvement of bronchial hyper-reactivity and saw a decrease of asthma severity. Another comprehensive clinical trial reported that the patient group that was treated with spinal manipulation showed significant improvement in asthma symptoms.

Doctors of chiropractic offer a thorough evaluation of asthma patients, examining their overall physical and neurological data, as well as their diet, lifestyle and potential stressors. In this way, chiropractic care can offer invaluable support to the asthma treatment team. They work with patients to improve their motor coordination, respiratory and stomach muscles, as well as look into their overall quality of life.

Tips for to Reduce Asthma Symptoms

To alleviate symptoms, here are few tips suggested by experts: 
• Get checked for viral respiratory infections and other conditions. Once these conditions are treated, asthma symptoms are also likely to improve.
• Be aware that endocrine factors, such as pregnancy and thyroid disease, may also worsen asthmasymptoms.
• Use hypoallergenic bedding to lessen exposure to dust mites.
• If exercising provokes attacks, consider getting an individualized program prescribed for your needs. Your chiropractic care doctor can assist you with this.
• Medications such as beta-blockers (eye drops, for instance), aspirin, and anti-inflammatory drugs, can also induce or exacerbate symptoms.
• Watch out for foods with sulfites or monosodium glutamate (MSG). These additives are uses in a many foods, so be sure to carefully scan labels, and eat in restaurants that are conscious of MSG.
• Aim to eliminate or eat less meat. Animal proteins include arachidonic acid, which may aggravate inflammation.
• Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as flax seed, hemp seed, sunflower seed, fish and fish oil.
• Consider taking vitamin C supplements. They help counteract allergic reactions and wheezing.
• Look for ways to reduce possible sources of stress for your children.
• Take inventory of your child’s lifestyle, quality time spent with family, and exposure to television and computer programs.
• Employ air filters at home.
• Cover pillows and mattresses with dust covers.

All of us who’ve experienced a back injury of one sort or another have been told at some point to “avoid heavy lifting.” That type of advice appears to be a no-brainer or at least redundant, as no one whose back is hurting is going to try to pick up an air conditioner or even a 100-foot reel of garden hose. In this context, it’s important to remember the words of Shakespeare’s Cassius: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves”. The problem isn’t the heavy lifting, as such. The real problem is in us, that is, in our overall level of conditioning or physical fitness.

Most back injuries don’t occur as a result of heavy lifting, but rather are caused by a seemingly innocuous event such as bending over in the shower to retrieve a bar of soap that has fallen to the floor. Other likely pain-producing scenarios are bending over to place a bag of groceries in the trunk of a car or bending over to tie a loose shoelace. None of these circumstances involved lifting extraordinary weight.  Rather, the common elements are lack of flexibility and lack of appropriate muscle tone and strength to support the weight of your body in a forward flexed position.

The problem isn’t lack of big muscles. Picking up a bar of soap or positioning a 15-pound grocery bag doesn’t require bulging biceps or massive lats. The problem is lack of conditioning. Most of us no longer do actual physical work on a regular basis. We spend the large majority of our day sitting, either working, reading, or watching entertainment on television or other devices. The result of such lack of activity is twofold. Muscles lose strength and muscle fibers are replaced by fat. Additionally, tendons and ligaments contract and become tight, losing their necessary composition of elastic fibers. The functional loss associated with these physiological changes is profound. We experience these change every time we feel a twinge, or worse, in our backs.

The fix is easy and primarily focuses on building up core muscle strength.1,2 Core training is directed toward your deep abdominal muscles. The main such muscle is the transverses abdominis, which surrounds your entire waist, protecting and supporting your lower back. You can think of this critically important structure as your internal weight belt. Activation of the core muscles is required for all effective physical activity.3 Without this essential foundation, any minor attempt at work, even bending over to pick up a pencil, can lead to disaster in the form of excruciating back pain.

Core training includes exercises such as the scorpion, lying windmill with bent legs, pushups, squats, and the plank. Many good books and numerous online videos are available to provide instruction in the performance of core exercises. Your chiropractor is experienced in rehabilitative exercise and will help guide you to the training methods that are best for you.

1Inani SB, Selkar SP: Effect of core stabilization exercises versus conventional exercises on pain and functional status in patients with non-specific low back pain: a randomized clinical trial. J Back Musculoskel Rehabil 26(1):37-43, 2014

2Brumitt J, et al: Core stabilization exercise prescription, part 2: a systematic review of motor control and general (global) exercise rehabilitation approaches for patients with low back pain. Sports Health 5(6):510-3, 2013

3Wang XQ, et al: A meta-analysis of core stability exercise versus general exercise for chronic low back pain. PLoS One 2012;7(12):e52082. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052082. Epub 2012 Dec 17

We all know someone who has suffered a serious driving-related injury that had nothing to do with being involved in a motor vehicle accident. For example, turning your head suddenly and swiftly for a last minute check of your "blind spot" before changing lanes on the interstate could result in a painful neck sprain. Getting out your car in a crowded shopping center parking lot, with cars parked too close, can often be awkward and may even result in a low back injury. Bending over to lift a grocery bag out of your back seat or trunk can even cause a herniated lumbar disc with very painful consequences, not to mention child car seats. Thus, driving can be dangerous, even without taking account of your innumerable fellow drivers who are talking on their cell phones, texting, combing their hair, putting on makeup, or even shaving when they should be 100% focused on  the road. Even if you're a highly skilled, appropriately defensive driver, doing driving-related things can cause real physical injury.

Why do such injuries happen? The cause is the same as for the person who, while getting dressed in the morning, bends over to put on his or her socks, stockings, or tights and experiences a sudden, sharp pain in the low back. Later on, that pain may worsen and radiate down one leg, and a likely diagnosis of a herniated disc may ensue. "But I wasn't doing anything wrong," the person exclaims to his chiropractor. "All I was doing was putting on my socks." But the chiropractor knows that the movement that apparently caused the injury was merely the last physical insult in a long chain of musculoskeletal and biomechanical deficiencies.1

As with the person who injures his or her neck or back at home while engaged in innocuous activities of daily living such as housecleaning or taking out the trash, driving-related injuries that are not the result of an actual accident are caused by being deconditioned or out-of-shape. If your neck and back muscles, ligaments, and joints are not used to doing physical work while engaged in a full range of motion, suddenly putting them in mechanically stressful situations will very likely lead to injury. For such persons, the primary missing fitness factor involves the core muscles, the body's group of central, deep, sheath-like muscles that provide the base for almost all movement and motion.2

Lack of core fitness is the culprit for most neck and back injuries that happen when you "weren't doing anything". The good news is that core training is readily available.3 You are training your core muscles whenever you do strength training or yoga. You are doing core training when you walk, run, bike, or swim, provided you are doing these activities effectively and efficiently. You don't need special equipment. All that is required is the willingness and persistence to engage in regular vigorous exercise. The many benefits are broad and long lasting, including getting more enjoyment out of the time you spend in your car.

1Rietveld AB: Dancers' and musicians' injuries. Clin Rheumatol 32(4):425-434, 2013

2Micheo W, et al: Basic principles regarding strength, flexibility, and stability exercises. PM R 4(11):805-811, 2012

3Steele J, et al: A review of the specificity of exercises designed for conditioning the lumbar extensors. Br J Sports Med October 2013: doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092197.

In chess, checkmate occurs when a player’s king is under attack and has no safe place to go. The king is threatened and every possible escape route is blocked. Such an existential condition, an allegorical “no exit,” is known as checkmate.

In life, a person may be similarly threatened by a serious illness. For example, a person may receive a diagnosis for which there is no effective long-term treatment. Short-term, temporary solutions may be available, but these usually require enormous expenditures of resources, both financial and personal. Most often, when the temporary fix has run its course, the illness persists and the long-term outlook remains the same. Optimally, we would prefer to avoid such medical “checks” and avoid being faced with an untimely “checkmate.” As in chess, obtaining success with respect to our health and well being depends in large part on having a sound strategy in place.

Successful chess players think several moves ahead. High-level chess players such as grand masters have the ability to envision combinations involving ten or more future moves. Fortunately, being successful at the game of promoting personal health and well being is much less complicated. There are only a few elements involved in developing a strategy that works.

These elements are well known and include (1) regular, vigorous exercise; (2) a healthy diet1; (3) sufficient rest; and (4) a positive mental attitude. But despite being well known, only the minority of people actually implements these critical “moves.” The evidence for such lack of action may be seen in the United States, for example, where one-third of Americans are overweight and additional one-third are obese. Merely knowing something is not sufficient to obtain a result.

What is required is actual action.2 In terms of exercise, evidence-based guidelines agree that 30 minutes of vigorous exercise, done five days a week, will provide a sound foundation for health. Optimally, such exercise consists of both cardiovascular and strength training sessions, but the most important point is to do five 30-minute sessions per week. With respect to diet, all the evidence affirms that men, women, and children should follow specific calorie-intake guidelines.For example, a moderately active man, aged 31-50, should consume, on average, 2500 calories per day. A moderately active woman, aged 31-50, should consume, on average, 2000 calories per day. A man intending to lose weight, and then maintain an ideal weight, should take in about 1800 calories per day. A woman intending to lose weight, and then maintain an ideal weight, should consume about 1600 calories per day. Regarding daily food intake, the most important rule to follow is to consume at least five portions of fresh fruits and vegetables per day. It is also important, on a daily basis, to eat foods from all the major food groups. In terms of rest, most people require seven to eight hours of sleep a night. This may not be possible every night, of course, but over time people need to obtain the right amount of rest for them. The criterion is simple: if you do not feel rested after a night’s sleep, then you did not obtain sufficient sleep. Obtaining sufficient rest is an often-neglected component of a well-rounded health and wellness strategy.

Our strategy for helping ensure our long-term health and wellness contains only a few components, and involves many less moves than does a winning chess strategy. It should be easy to put such a strategy into place. What is required is a commitment and dedication to ourselves, our families, and our loved ones.

1Voeghtly LM, et al: Cardiometabolic risk reduction in an intensive cardiovascular health program. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 23(7):662-669, 2013
2Carson V, et al: A cross-sectional study of the environment, physical activity, and screen time among young children and their parents. BMC Public Health 2014 Jan 21;14:61. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-61
3Wang YC, et al: Reaching the healthy people goals for reducing childhood obesity: closing the energy gap. Am J Prev Med 42(5):437-444, 2012

In recent years, media pundits around the world have proclaimed the extraordinary value of so-called super foods. Blueberries, broccoli, and especially kale have been described as possessing remarkable, almost magical, properties. What is it about these foods that make them so good for you?

From a basic perspective, adding fresh fruits and vegetables of all types to your daily diet is a very smart way to help improve your current levels of health and well-being. Fresh fruits and vegetables are so important that many national agencies and organizations have promoted the "five to stay alive" rule - these groups recommend eating at least five portions of fruits and vegetables each day.1

Fresh fruits and vegetables provide numerous health benefits, many of which are based upon the actions of biochemicals known as phytonutrients. Certain of these formerly mysterious compounds stimulate enzyme activity and others have actions similar to those of hormones. Many phytonutrients are powerful antioxidants that circulate throughout the body, scooping up and neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are a normal byproduct of cellular metabolism, but too many of them will cause a lot of problems. Excess free radicals have, for example, been linked to development of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.2,3 Blueberries, broccoli, and kale are categorized as "super foods" owing to the abundance of phytonutrients they contain and make available to those who consume them.

The takeaway is not to load up on kale, broccoli, and blueberries in an attempt to make up for years of less-than-optimal dietary choices. Rather, the goal is to begin, today, to implement a healthful, balanced food plan. Diets lacking fresh fruits and vegetables in general, and lacking super foods in particular, will not provide you and your family with the resources needed to enjoy productive, energy-filled days. Resolving to follow the "five-to-stay-alive" plan will add literally missing ingredients to your daily health regime. As you upgrade your nutrition, you're automatically upgrading the functioning of all your body's systems.

With sufficient dietary phytonutrients, you can help prevent chronic disease, strengthen the immune system, combat the effects of obesity, and obtain numerous anti-aging benefits.

The vast array of advantages that will likely ensue include more restful sleep; enhanced skin tone and muscle tone; increased reserves of energy throughout the day; and improved ability to focus and complete tasks successfully. Improved peace of mind will naturally occur as a consequence of these benefits, and an untapped reservoir of creativity may be revealed. Super foods truly provide super benefits.

1Liu RH: Health-promoting components of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Adv Nutr 4(3):384S-392S, 2013

2Wu TY, et al: Pharmacogenetics, pharmacogenomics and epigenetics of nrf2-regulated xenobioticmetabolizing enzymes and transporters by dietary phytochemical and cancer chemoprevention. Curr Drug Metab 14(6):688-694, 2013

3Pasko P, et al: Rutabaga (Brassica napus L. var. napobrassica) seeds, roots, and sprouts: a novel kind of food with antioxidant properties and proapoptotic potential in Hep G2 hepatoma cell line. J Med Food 16(8):749-759, 2013

It seems as if every few months there’s a new diet whose rules and requirements we must follow if we’re going to reach the goal of good health. The “paleo” diet provides a great example of this phenomenon. We’re exhorted by paleo proponents to eat lots of fats and animal protein. Carbohydrate consumption should be fairly light. Grass-fed beef is prized by paleo-dieters. You may consume unlimited amounts of butter, and must eliminate all cereals, legumes, and dairy products (except butter of course) from your diet. Now unless you’re a paleo convert, these prescriptions may seem to fly in the face of everything you’ve ever known about healthy eating. Paleo supporters will respond with the claim that human biology developed over the course of hundreds of thousands of years and that agriculture is brand new, having arrived about 10,000 years ago.

For instance, the Atkins diet is still going strong for more than 50 years. The main requirement of the Atkins diet is low carbohydrate consumption, and in this way the Atkins program resembles the paleo diet. High-protein consumption is the other pillar of the Atkins approach. The rationale was that such an eating plan would force your body to burn fat, rather than glucose, for energy. But the diet hasn’t withstood rigorous scientific scrutiny.1,2

Vegan and vegetarian diets have also been popular for many decades.3 The vegetarian lifestyle has wide appeal and vegetarian recipes are famed for their simplicity and palate-pleasing qualities. However, vegetarian contrarians do exist. Some studies even suggest that vegetarian or vegan diets may be associated with anxiety, depression, and neurologic dysfunction.3

The bottom line is that good sense should prevail. Starting a diet because the program was touted in a magazine article or a talk-show interview may not be in every person's best interest. Simply put, any diet may be harmful to a particular person. It's important to remember that what works for one person may not work for another. Paleo, Atkins, and vegetarian diets may create great benefits for certain persons, but may cause real medical problems for other people. The best overall approach for most us is to eat regularly from a wide variety of food groups, make sure to eat four servings of fresh vegetables and some fruit every day, and pay close attention to portion control. Those desiring more detailed information and recommendations can find my other blog posts helpful or email me for my 20 days of health.

1 Noto H, et al: Low-carbohydrate diets and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. PLoS One 2013;8(1):e55030. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055030. Epub 2013 Jan 25

2 Lagiou P, et al: Low carbohydrate-high protein diet and incidence of cardiovascular diseases in Swedish women: prospective cohort study. Br Med J 2012 Jun 26;344:e4026. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e4026

3Plotnikoff GA: Nutritional assessment in vegetarians and vegans: questions clinicians should ask. Minn Med 95(12):36-36, 2012

"The Stress of Life" is a perennial bestseller by Hans Selye, written in 1956. Selye almost single-handedly introduced the notion of stress into the worldwide consciousness. By doing so, Selye changed the way we think about ourselves, our values, and how we conduct our lives.

As Selye observed, stress is a double-edged sword. Many types of stress are good for people, both physiologically and personally. For example, Wolff's law states that bone will remodel (build more bone) along lines of mechanical stress. In other words, bone becomes stronger when it is subjected to physical loads. The physiological stress of weight-bearing exercise such as walking, running, and strength training helps prevent osteoporosis by making bone denser and more resilient. From a psychological perspective, the great German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, famously stated in "Twilight of the Idols" (1888), "What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Apparently, Nietzsche (writing in the 19th century) was far ahead of Selye in pointing to the benefits (and dangers) of stress.

Life is filled with "good" stresses. A new love relationship, a new job, or a new baby may all provide great personal happiness and the experience of fulfillment and satisfaction. But each circumstance may also place new demands on us, calling on us to be and do much more than that of which we had previously thought ourselves capable. A person may develop all sorts of adaptive responses in attempts to cope with life's new requirements, but most of these adaptations are themselves stress-producing. Over time the adaptations become habits, stress becomes a day-by-day experience, and a host of physiological and psychological disorders and syndromes may appear.1,2 High blood pressure, diabetes, overweight/obesity, arthritis, insomnia, and depression may all be considered as long-term maladaptive responses to stress.3

Muscular aches and pains, muscle spasms, and headaches are common physiological responses to ongoing stress. A vicious circle develops in which stress leads to muscle tightness, which constricts blood vessels, which leads to headaches, which leads to more muscle tightness, more pain, and even more stress. One's day seems to become filled with stress and stress reactions. The good news is that means of ending these vicious circles of stress are available. Present time consciousness, regular exercise and a healthy diet, sufficient rest, and regular chiropractic care comprise a powerful tool kit for restoring balance in one's life.

1Wu EL, et al: Increased risk of hypertension in patients with major depressive disorder: a population-based study. J Psychosom Res 73(3):169-174, 2012

2Hristova MG: Metabolic syndrome - From the neurotrophic hypothesis to a theory. Med Hypotheses 2013 July 27 [Epub ahead of print]

3Martocchia A, et al: Targets of anti-glucocorticoid therapy for stress-related diseases. Recent Pat CNS Drug Discov 8(1):79-87, 2013

"60 is the New 40" is more than a marketing slogan. The phrase is also a metaphor for optimism, as well as a metaphor for good health.

How can 60 really be the new 40? First, there are the demographics. Forty years ago, when today's 40-year-olds were just being born, 40 was a fairly substantial age. In the early 1970s, every 40-year-old had lived through World War II. For the Americans, many of the men fought in the Korean War and some may even have fought in the Vietnam War. In the early 1970s, most women had had their first child by age 25. Today, child-rearing years for adults frequently begin in their 30s and even late into their 40s. Life expectancy in 1970 was approximately to age 71. Today, average life expectancy is to age 79 or 80. Putting everything together, it can reasonably be stated that our "senior years" keep getting pushed further and further back.

"60 is the new 40" means there is plenty of productive life ahead. The phrase implies that, if one is ready, able, and motivated, whole new aspects of living can be explored. Whereas in 1970, 40-year-olds were often beginning to be established in middle-management roles in their white-collar companies, or were becoming shop stewards and supervisors in their factories, today men and women in their 60s are becoming entrepreneurs and launching their own businesses. Backed by a lifetime of experience, people in their 60s are going back to school to get the undergraduate or graduate degree of their dreams, or they're setting up shop for themselves as artists, artisans, or consultants. Regardless of the particular individual choice, the point is that people in their 60s are manifesting the spirit and vision that was previously thought to be the special province of those much younger, specifically, men and women in their 20s and 30s. But it would be a stretch to say that "60 is the new 30", so we'll stick with "60 is the new 40".

But these new activities and endeavors require physical resources and energy.1 If one is not healthy, 60 may in fact not be the new 40. If one is not enjoying good health, then one's focus is usually primarily directed toward getting well. For 60 to really be the new 40, that is, for one to be fully engaged with family, friends, and work, for one to be focusing on the present and maintaining a positive, expectant attitude toward the future, an optimum state of health is required. Such an optimum varies from person to person. What is needed is for us to be functioning at our optimum. Such maximal functioning is based upon numerous factors, including a healthy, nutritious diet,2,3 regular vigorous exercise, and consistent, sufficient rest. Putting these lifestyle choices into place and making these elements of healthy living habitual will go far toward helping all of us make our chronological age irrelevant.

1Caprara M, et al: Active aging promotion: results from the vital aging program. Curr Gerontol Geriatr Res 2013;2013:817813. doi: 10.1155/2013/817813. Epub 2013 Feb 7
2Dickinson JM, et al: Exercise and nutrition to target protein synthesis impairments in aging skeletal muscle. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 2013 Jul 18 [Epub ahead of print]
3Levis S, Lagari VS: The role of diet in osteoporosis prevention and management. Curr Osteoporos Rep 10(4):296-302, 2012

Many people experience radiating pain as a component of neck pain or low back pain. A person with neck pain might have pain that radiates down her arm, possibly into the hand.1 A person with low back pain might have accompanying leg pain, possibly traveling into the foot. Such arm/hand pain or leg/foot pain can represent a serious underlying health problem. However, not all types of radiating pain are of equal importance. The key is to be able to identify which patterns require prompt attention and those which merely appear to be significant but are not.

Authentic radiating pain is most often caused by pressure and/or irritation of a spinal nerve root.2 The spinal nerve becomes inflamed and sends pain signals to the brain that are interpreted as pain in the region of the body supplied by that nerve. Inflammation of a certain spinal nerve in the neck region will result in the experience of pain down the outside of the arm and forearm and into the thumb and possibly index finger. Inflammation of a certain spinal nerve in the low back causes the person to feel pain traveling along the back of the thigh and calf and into the fifth toe.

Specific patterns of radiating pain are associated with inflammation of specific spinal nerves. Such inflammation may be typically caused by pressure from a herniated intervertebral disc. Other disorders which may create local space-occupying pressure need to be considered as well. A thorough history and physical examination will help to identify the cause of the problem. X-ray studies may be needed, as well as an MRI scan. The underlying problem, including the pattern of pain radiation, may be termed a radiculopathy or radiculitis.

But most cases of what appears to be radiating pain are not, in fact, related to pressure on a spinal nerve. Most patterns of radiating pain are not associated with a radiculopathy or radiculitis. Rather, the large majority of pain patterns involving the arm/hand or leg/foot are caused by normal, everyday aches and pains. Our run-of-the-mill physical problems involve relatively large muscles such as the trapezius (overlying the upper back, shoulder, and mid back) and relatively small muscles such as those that overlay the spinal bones themselves and help move the spinal column. Ligaments that hold bones together and tendons that attach muscles to bones may also be involved in these everyday ailments.

Irritation and inflammation of muscles, ligaments, and tendons may cause more difficulty than mere soreness and tightness. Such inflammation may also cause radiating pain, but in broader, more diffuse patterns than those caused by inflammation of a nerve root. A person might experience neck pain with arm and hand pain, or back pain with leg and foot pain, but in a broad pattern not associated with a spinal nerve. This is actually good news for the patient, as such forms of radiating pain (known as scleratogenous patterns), are usually more easily treated than those associated with a radiculopathy or radiculitis.

The bottom line is that we at Schaffstall Chiropractic are experienced in the diagnosis and care of such problems. We will be able to determine if your radiating pain is associated with muscles, ligaments, and tendons or if it is related to pressure on a spinal nerve.3 We will make specific recommendations for care of your specific health problem and help guide you in the process of returning to good health.

1Caridi JM, et al: Cervical radiculopathy: a review. HSS J 7(3):265-272, 2011
2Magrinelli F, et al: Neuropathic pain: diagnosis and treatment. Pract Neurol 2013 Apr 16 [Epub ahead of print]
3Mena J, Sherman AL: Imaging in radiculopathy. Phys Med Rehabil Clin North Am 22(1):42-57, 2011

Life is defined by breath: you take your first breath when you are born and your last breath the moment you die.  The breath builds and repairs the structure of the physical body, and it maintains a balance between building material and the waste matter that cannot otherwise be removed.

When your physical body has been stressed and you feel fatigue, by inhaling a deep breath through the nostrils, holding it for a number of seconds, and then suddenly expelling it, also through the nostrils, you can strip your unwanted feelings from the body and bring it into a state of balance and well-being.

Remember: always try to breathe through your nostrils, and not your mouth, because air must contact the olfactory (sense of smell) nerves to stimulate your brain and put it into its natural rhythm.  If you do not breathe through your nose, in a sense you are only half alive.

One specific way to overcome daily stress is through proper breathing.

Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. Take a few breaths and notice which hand is moving. If it is your upper hand, you are stress breathing. If it is your lower hand, you are breathing deeply (and properly) from your diaphragm. Once you have mastered the art of proper breathing, try “The 4-4-4 Breath”. It goes like this:

1 – Inhale while counting to four very slowly.
2 – Hold your breath for a slow count of four.
3 – Exhale to a slow count of four.

Five to ten exhales of this simple exercise will leave you feeling calm and very relaxed. This exercise is so enjoyable and works extremely well.


Weil, N. (2011) If Stress Doesn’t Kill You, Your Family Might. Rochester, NY: CJM Books

Fulford, R. (1996) Touch of Life. New York, NY: Pocket Books

Positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health.

Some studies show that personality traits like optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being. The positive thinking that typically comes with optimism is a key part of effective stress management. And effective stress management is associated with many health benefits. If you tend to be pessimistic, don't despair — you can learn positive thinking skills. Here's how.

Understanding positive thinking and self-talk

Positive thinking doesn't mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life's less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach the unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.

The health benefits of positive thinking

Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:

·         Increased life span

·         Lower rates of depression

·         Lower levels of distress

·         Improved immune system and greater resistance to the common illnesses

·         Better psychological and physical well-being

·         Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease

·         Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Identifying negative thinking

Not sure if your self-talk is positive or negative? Here are some common forms of negative self-talk:

·         Filtering. You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones. For example, say you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were complimented for doing a speedy and thorough job. But you forgot one minor step. That evening, you focus only on your oversight and forget about the compliments you received.

·         Personalizing. When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is canceled, and you assume that the change in plans is because no one wanted to be around you.

·         Catastrophizing. You automatically anticipate the worst. The drive-through coffee shop gets your order wrong and you automatically think that the rest of your day will be a disaster.

·         Polarizing. You see things only as either good or bad, black or white. There is no middle ground. You feel that you have to be perfect or that you're a total failure.

Focusing on positive thinking

You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice — you're creating a new habit, after all. Here are some ways to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:

·         Identify areas to change. Whether it's work, your daily commute or a relationship, for example, you can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.

·         Check yourself. Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you're thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.

·         Be open to humor. Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.

·         Follow a healthy lifestyle. Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body.

·         Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback.

·         Practice positive self-talk. This is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head every day.  Start by following one simple rule: Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to anyone else.

Here are some examples of negative self-talk and how you can apply a positive thinking twist to them.

Negative:  I’ve never done it before

Positive: It’s an opportunity to learn something new.

Negative: It’s too complicated.

Positive: I’ll tackle it from a different angle.

Negative:  There’s no way it will work.

Positive:  I can try to make it work.

Practicing positive thinking every day

With practice, you can eventually become an optimist.  With a generally optimistic state of mind, you're able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way. That ability may contribute to the widely observed health benefits of positive thinking.

Fats and oils are essential to optimal health.  They are important building blocks for the cells of your body, as well as for key hormones.  Just as with all foods, you must consume high-quality fats and oils for your body to effectively use them.

The number one fats that you want to avoid are the trans-fatty acids.  Margarine and butter substitutes are notorious for high levels of trans-fats.  Also you must be careful because some oils and fats break down when they are heated and are just as bad for you in that form as trans-fats.  Some processed foods that claim to have been made with no trans-fats might still be unhealthy.

Essential fatty acids are fats that our body cannot manufacture, and thus must be consumed.  Most foods in the standard American diet have much more omega-6 fatty acids than omega3’s.  Higher levels of omega-3 are found in mainly leafy green vegetables and oily fish.  Omega-3 fatty acids are vital to the development of a child’s brain and nervous system. Using an omega-3 or fish oil supplement is a good way to achieve the proper ratio of omega-3 to omega-6, promoting brain, skin and tissue health, and reducing inflammation.  An imbalance in omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is associated with the following disorders: heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes, asthma, lupus, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

Cholesterol is another controversial subject.  Cholesterol is a high molecular-weight alcohol that is manufactured in the liver and in most human cells.  The cholesterol we make and consume plays many vital roles:

·         contributing to the rigidity and stability of cell membranes

·         required to make stress hormones to protect the body against heart disease and cancer

·         required to make sex hormones like androgen, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone

·         cholesterol is a precursor to vitamin D needed for healthy bone and nervous system, reproduction and immune system function

·         acts as an antioxidant

·         Is needed for proper function of Serotonin receptors in the brain.  Low cholesterol has been linked to aggressive and violent behavior, depression and suicidal tendencies

·         maintains intestinal wall preventing leaky gut syndrome, a problem with vegetarian diets

·         is the body’s natural healing substance to repair damaged blood vessels

When one’s cholesterol levels are increased, the body is regulating the levels to accomplish one of the above tasks.  The body makes more cholesterol than one would normally consume on an unrestricted diet.  A low cholesterol diet actually causes the body to over produce cholesterol defeating the purpose of the diet.  Statin drugs block the production of cholesterol, which in turn blocks the functions above.

Low fat and low cholesterol diets impede all the necessary functions discussed above.  I would suggest that a “correct” fat and “correct” cholesterol diet is a better approach.

First it must be stated that “Organic” as it is used to market and label food is a definition that is controlled and certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  There are standards and allowances that are associated with the definition, and as such, some foods are not totally pure from an “organic” standpoint, but meet the criteria, so they can be labeled as such.  The consumer’s intent in buying organic foods is to get a healthier food, however, the obvious must also be stated, that an “organic” cheese doodle is still not a healthy choice.

One of the most widely accepted benefits of organic produce is that less (or no) potentially harmful chemicals are used in the farming in the form of pesticides and fertilizers.  This means that you will not be ingesting these potentially harmful chemicals that can be neuro-toxins (causing nervous system problems).  Use of some of these fertilizers can also cause mineral depletion in the soil.

A lesser known, and lesser understood benefit of organic farming lies in the fact that all plants have built in pesticides.  Some species have more effective natural pesticides, which interestingly correlate to the vegetables and fruits that are healthier to eat like broccoli.  Some of these natural pesticide agents are called phyto-nutrients which are micro cofactors that allow us to absorb the healthy nutrition from the food.

Within a crop of broccoli, for example, there will be healthier and weaker plants.  The healthier plants have better self protection (natural pesticide) and thus are likelier to thrive and survive.  In organic farming you have a lower yield of the crop, but what does survive is healthier for you.  This is a pure example of survival of the fittest.  Artificial pesticides, on the other hand, allow for harvesting weaker plants and thus less nutritious produce.

There has been a recent study reported in the news that stated organic food was found to be no more nutritious than traditionally produced food.  The problem with the report is they did not state which foods were studied.  Highly processed organically grown foods may not be any healthier due to the processing, not necessarily due to the farming methods.  As in my earlier example, an organic cheese doodle is not necessarily healthy.

We all know that sleep is important, and when we do not get good rest or enough sleep we feel the negative effects.  We drag the next day, are not as productive as we would like to be and our mood can be less than desirable.

During sleep, not only do we get re-energized but also it is a time for our body to repair from daily stress, toxins, injury and illness.  Circadian Rhythms are a natural physiological cycle of about 24 hours that persists even in the absence of external cues.  These cycles of physical repair and psychological repair depend on the release of various hormones.  Sleep and daylight, due to many factors, control the release of stress hormones, melatonin, growth and repair hormones.  Disrupted sleep patterns will disrupt the release of these hormones and thus disrupt proper rest and repair.

There are different schools of thought on how much sleep one needs. When people are sick, and/or their bodies require more repair, they need more sleep. My opinion is that there is some variation between individuals, but there is a general agreement that most people need about 8 hours.  The most important factor is consistency.  Other guidelines are as follows:

1.       Get to sleep by 10:30 PM

2.       Minimize your exposure to bright lights (particularly fluorescent lights), TV, computers and handheld electronics for at least two hours before going to bed.

3.       Sleep in a completely dark room.

4.       Avoid the consumption of stimulants (alcohol, sugar or caffeine) later in the day.

5.       Drink plenty of water throughout the day.

6.       Get regular exercise.

7.       Rearrange your bedroom so all electrical appliances (including clocks, TV’s, lights, phones/chargers) are as far away from your bed as possible and do not use an electric blanket.

For many years all Americans have been advised to maintain a low salt diet based on government standards.  However, more and more recent studies are showing that following the low salt advice can actually shorten your life.

The key here is that the previous studies that associated salt intake with high blood pressure and cardiac disease used highly processed table salt.  In the processing the natural iodine from sea salt is stripped away and dangerous heavy metals are often used and left in the refined salt.  Other additives like dextrose, sodium silico-aluminate and sodium acetate are linked to renal disease and mineral mal-absorption.

Using an unprocessed Celtic grey sea salt you get all the benefits of salt, including the natural iodine, without the harmful effects.  Some of the benefits are: promoting pH balance of cell, specifically brain cells and balancing blood sugar levels.  Salt is required for intestinal absorption and clears the lungs of mucus plugs.  Salt is a natural antihistamine, can aid in the prevention of muscle cramps and is needed in order to make the structure of the bones firm.

Some of the ill effects of a low salt diet are:

·          increased mortality and end-stage renal disease in type 1 diabetes

·         Increased mortality and cardiovascular mortality in type 2 diabetes

·         No cardiovascular benefit and increased likelihood of premature death

In summary, it is time to end the war on salt, choose unprocessed Celtic grey sea salt, and salt to taste. 

Making sure you drink enough water every day is one of the easiest and most effective ways of ensuring exceptional health. Water is important for the health of every cell in your body, allowing nutrition to pass into the cells and toxins to be flushed out.

Dehydration occurs if you do not drink enough water.  Dehydration impedes the function of all your organs, which can lead to dysfunction of major bodily systems and make you susceptible to disease processes. Just by making sure you are consistently hydrated, will make you less likely to become ill.

For health, the only beverage you should be drinking is water. Although some beverages are marketed to possess health benefits, their health deterrents far outweigh the benefits. Even real organic fruit juices are merely natural sugar water and are only a little less harmful to you than a sugar drink or soda.

Some sources of water include spring water, bottled, Brita filtered, reverse osmosis and tap water. Although there are many opinions as to what is the healthiest source of water, the most important factor is to drink enough of it.

The hydration guidelines that I promote are those of F. Batmanghelidj, MD; also adopted by the C.H.E.K. Institute. To determine how much water you need daily to stay hydrated and promote exceptional health you need to take your body weight in pounds, divide it by two and drink that many ounces of water each day. A 200 pound man needs to drink 100 ounces of water, and a 150 pound person needs to drink 75 ounces each day. (Note that 64 ounces is a half gallon and 128 ounces is a gallon.)

This guideline is for water only and other beverages cannot be substituted or used in combination. If you do also drink juice, from concentrate or not, it does not factor into the equation. Also, foods with a high content of water do not factor in. Additionally, if you drink 8 ounces of a caffeinated drink, you need to add 8 ounces to the equation. If you drink 8 ounces of an alcoholic drink you need to add 16 ounces to the equation.

If you currently drink only 20 ounces of water a day, you will not be able to easily drink and properly absorb 75 or 100 ounces within days.  This change in your body's absorption ability may take up to 6 or 9 months to accomplish.  I suggest increasing your daily consumption by 3-5 ounces daily for a week, and then increasing it again the next week by another 3-5 ounces.

Do you feel healthy?  Do you have any symptoms? Health is not based on a lack of symptoms or how you are feeling, but rather, health is based on a properly functioning body.

Diseases are commonly defined by a list of symptoms.  If you have A, B, and C then you have X, while if you have A, C and D then you have Y.  Diseases are not tangible objects or structures in your body, they are not really something you have, but are a list of symptoms that you have due to something mal-functioning in your body.  Symptoms are the results of malfunctions.

Most diseases start with inflammation somewhere in your body. The true cause of your body mal-functioning is either a lack (deficiency) of something or too much (toxicity) of something else.  Deficiencies could be nutritional, not enough hydration or exercise, or not enough sleep for your body to repair itself, just to list a couple.  Toxicity could be due to diet, exposure to chemicals (liquid or air bourn) from household or work products and environmental pollution including air, light, electromagnetic frequencies and sound.  A healthy body with a properly working immune system should be able to resist some of these causes, but when we are overloaded, our body breaks down.

Some simple ways to assess your health is to look at the following:

  • the condition of your finger nails: should be smooth, uniform and not brittle
  •  the condition of your hair: not dried out, not prematurely loosing it
  • the color, clarity and brightness of your eyes
  • the condition of your skin: soft, smooth, moist and clear
  • the color and texture of your tongue
  • body weight over by more than 10% of your ideal body weight

The finger nails and hair can indicate nutritional deficiencies.  The study of Iridology (eyes) can diagnose health problems.  Your skin is one of your largest detoxification systems in your body and rashes are often from internal toxins moving to the surface and leaving your body.  Chinese and Eastern medicine routinely examine the tongue to diagnose health concerns.  An extra 10-20 pounds of body weight puts an unhealthy stress on your frame and physiological systems.

Most people’s core strength is compromised because we sit too much and we never developed proper posture.  The core provides protection for your spinal cord, supports your skeletal system and supports your vital organs housed in your torso.  When the body moves and is exercised correctly, the internal organs are mobilized.  This natural mobilization helps keep your organs from adhering together, improves fluid flow through the organs and is very helpful in maintaining normal bowel habits.  When key core muscles stop functioning correctly, support for your internal organs is diminished and their function is challenged.

Although the rectus abdominis (the six pack muscle) is part of the core it really is not the most important.  The little tiny spinal stabilizer muscles which support your skeleton and insure you move properly are the most important.  To improve these muscles you need to work on your posture and do exercises such as planks and Physio (or Swiss) Ball exercises.

Second most important core muscles are your pelvic floor muscles which can be improved by doing Kegel exercises.

Next important core muscles are your transverse abdominis, oblique abdominis and your diaphragm.  These can best be improved by performing functional exercises.  And lastly, the rectus abdominis is the last muscle (although it should not be forgotten) to focus on.  When over worked, as it often is, it creates an imbalance between anterior and posterior muscles which can cause back pain, instability and general back problems.

Two great sources to improve your core are Paul Chek’s book, How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy and finding a good personal trainer who focuses on Functional Exercise.

A healthy human body is maintained through regulation of many bodily systems by balancing hormones.  Hormones are naturally produced by the body based on natural processes and needs.  When these hormones are out of balance physiologic systems malfunction.

There is a concern when hormones are used in raising livestock for the meat that we eat.  This includes the commercial farming of beef, pork, lamb, poultry and others.  Forms of growth hormone and estrogen are commonly used.  In studies, cows treated with some of these hormones were getting sick, gave birth to cows with genetic deformities, and some cows got cancer.

Antibiotics are often used in raising livestock for commercial meat producers.  Many factory farmed animals are raised in giant barns and never see the light of day.  They are fed a constant supply of antibiotics to keep them alive, as they literally live their entire lives in cramped and filthy confines.  These animals are not the picture of health, but are butchered and sold to us as “healthy” food.

There is concern that these health problems of the livestock can be passed on to the consumer of the meats.  The antibiotics may be passed through to us as we eat the meat.  This adds to reduced sensitivity to antibiotics and digestive issues by reducing the effectiveness of our natural intestinal flora.  Unnatural consumption of hormones in these meats containing hormones is thought to lower the age that girls go through puberty by up to three years and increase the age for that of boys by six months.  Increased infertility issues may also be related.  New information relates common prostate issues for men to hormones in our food.

It is best to buy meats, dairy products and poultry that have no antibiotics, no hormones, and the animal should be fed 100% organic feed, or grass fed.

Wait!  This article is for both men and women.  Because most of us have a very sedentary lifestyle and many people sit during the day while at work, even if we work out several days a week, our pelvic floor muscles weaken over time.  While you sit these muscles relax because they are not being used which weakens them.  If you don’t use it you lose it; atrophy of these muscles has been attributed to many pelvic organ problems.

Pelvic floor exercises, also called Kegel exercises, are mainly thought of for women during pregnancy and post-delivery.  Due to wide spread incontinence of people 50 years old and older, Kegels are now becoming known to help with incontinence issues.  Have you noticed all the TV commercials for Depends?  Like with many areas of life, it is better to be proactive than reactive, therefore I propose that everyone should be doing Kegels.  For the few minutes they take to do and considering they can be preformed while doing a current daily activity, the benefit can be great.  You can do a few contractions while you are doing normal activities such as:

  • Brushing and flossing your teeth
  • Waiting in line or at a stoplight
  • Watching commercials on television
  • Driving to work
  • Loading and unloading the dishwasher

Kegel exercises have been shown to improve mild to moderate urgency and stress incontinence. When performed correctly, these exercises help to strengthen the muscles at your bladder outlet. The only way to get results from these exercises is to do them consistently. Even if you take medications for urgency incontinence or overactive bladder, you will see better and faster results if you combine your medication with pelvic floor muscle exercises. Through regular exercise you can build strength and endurance to help improve, regain, or maintain bladder and bowel control. Pelvic muscle exercises also help improve sexual enjoyment.

Many bio-mechanical problems we face are directly correlated to improper walking and poor foot health.  Proper walking has to do with more than just what your legs and feet are doing.  While walking, your entire spine, as well as your pelvis, arms and shoulder girdle, should move fluidly creating an efficient stress-free and injury-free gait.  The two main causes are not crawling long enough before walking as an infant/toddler and improper foot wear which create problems with our feet.

According to the Podiatry Society of NY, 99% of feet are perfect at birth, 8% have trouble at one year, 41% at five years and 80% by age twenty.  Most people should not need supportive shoes and orthotics.  Too much support and restriction from shoes will cause atrophy (or weakening) of foot and leg muscles as well as bunions, hammer toes and claw toes.

Proprioception is your body’s ability to know where your body parts are without looking at them.  As an example you should not have to look down to see what your feet are doing when you are walking.  As we age our proprioception decreases which is why many of the elderly begin to stumble and need to look down which causes them to hunch over.  Loss of proprioception is increased with the deterioration and atrophy of the structure and muscles of the feet.

Except for people with specific podiatry issues, we should try to walk barefoot (or with socks only) as much as possible. When wearing shoes, especially for children, moccasin type shoes are best for freedom of movement and natural foot development. It is best to have a few different pairs of shoes and rotate them daily to give your feet a variety of physical stimulation.  For women, heels should be restricted to approximately one and a half to two inches; higher heels should be worn seldom. 

The concept of barefoot running has been in vogue recently.  Conceptually it is great, but practically there is much more to it.  First, natural barefoot running was not intended to be done consistently on hard pavement.  Soft dirt or grassy surfaces are a better choice for barefoot running.  Secondly, you should phase into barefoot running or walking with a more neutral shoe first.

If you choose to change to a less supportive or more heel-neutral shoe or running shoe you must plan to phase it in slowly and in stages.  Try a shoe in between where you are and where you want to go first for a while before making the final change.

Too often we substitute one food for another thinking the later is more healthy and find out just the opposite.  Such is the case with soy.  Some people replace milk with a soy drink or other dairy products with similar soy products.  Others replace animal protein with a soy protein powder shake or possibly with tofu.

Too much soy or improperly processed soy can be attributed to several health problems including thyroid dysfunction and breast cancer.  Soy is healthiest in its natural bean state and then fermented.  Once it is isolated and made into a powder its properties change enough that consumption can be harmful.

Soy protein isolates are high in mineral-blocking phytates, thyroid-depressing phyto-estrogens and potent enzyme inhibitors that depress growth and cause cancer.  Diets in which powdered proteins from soy, (and also egg or milk powders) that are fed to animals or humans cause a negative calcium balance that can lead to osteoporosis.

Soybeans must not be used like other legumes in soups and other dishes but only as fermented products like miso, natto and tempeh.  It is also a mistake to rely on tofu or bean curd as a protein food because of its high phytate content.  Those who wish to eat tofu would be wise to imitate the Japanese who eat small amounts of tofu in fish broth and not as a substitute for animal foods.

Soy should not be used as a substitute for other foods and moderation would suggest that not more than two helpings of soy a week is wise.  For healthy variety, look for fermented soy preparations

Electromagnetic stress is not all bad.  That from the sun, in healthy doses, (helps you produce vitamin D) and the electromagnetic field of the earth helps control the rhythm of our hormones, our mood, and other physiological functions.

Harmful electromagnetic exposure includes over-exposure to the sun, x-rays, and extremely low frequency pollution from computers, cell phones, microwave ovens, electric clocks, electric motors, heated car seats, TV and entertainment equipment, and electric blankets.  Living near high voltage power lines and even electrical circuits in your walls can contribute to the electromagnetic pollution which can disrupt natural sleep/wake cycles and cause dysfunction of your hormonal and autonomic nervous system.

There are four major health concerns regarding electromagnetic pollution:

1.      The effects on the immune system. A reduction in the ability of the circulating white blood cells to kill tumor cells. This has been shown in cell culture work and partially corroborated in animal studies.

2.      Effects on fetal development including fetal abnormalities. Epidemiological work has also shown that miscarriages may be linked to electric blanket use and some electrical home heating.

3.      The area of the control and regulation of cell growth, including tumor formation.

4.      The effects on the central nervous system and the brain in ways which affect very powerful hormonal mechanisms, which in turn have connections to cancer and cancer-related problems.

The following are actions you can take to minimize your exposure:

·         Move furniture, particularly the bed and seating arrangements, away from areas of high electrical fields.

·         Do not carry your phone or hand held electronics in your pockets, especially your pants pockets.  Put them in your purse, briefcase, and/or set them down away from you.

·         If you use a microwave oven, do not stand near it when it is in use.

·         Laptop computers should not be used directly on your lap, especially if you are in the reproductive years.

·         Avoid using heated car seats and electric blankets.

·         Avoid the use of electrically operated adjustable beds and furniture, as these give off strong magnetic fields.

·         Electrical clocks, clock radios, phones and other electronic devices should be more than one meter from your body while sleeping and baby monitors should also be placed more than one meter in distance from the infant, or unplugged and not used when not necessary.

·         Entertainment equipment, computers and TVs are of course a major source of electrical fields. It is a good idea to sit as far away as possible from the monitor and computer tower and use a device to neutralize the electrical fields.

There has been much recent debate regarding genetically modified food and its affect on human health.  Often when a natural food is modified our digestive system and enzymes do not recognize it as the same food because the molecular structure and/or the genes are altered so the end product is sometimes totally different.  Corn is one of the most genetically modified foods.  Because there are not many long term studies to show possible associated health problems, there are people on both side of the discussion.

What we do know is that corn is fed to livestock to fatten them up.  When consumed in excessive proportions, corn can fatten humans too.  However, eating a large share of corn on the cob during summer corn season is not the problem.

One of the problems is that a great number of processed foods are made from corn, as filler, or a corn syrup.  Without reading the labels, you would never know.  Therefore, it can be difficult to control or monitor the amount of corn in our diet.

Corn products and especially corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are blamed for much of the obesity problem plaguing the country today.  High fructose corn syrup is also known to be a neuro-toxin, affecting and possibly damaging the nervous system. 

It is also known that corn fed livestock produce meat with a less healthy omega 3 fatty acid ratio.  Grass is the natural food for cattle.  Grass fed beef is not only leaner but also has less of the LDL cholesterol, which everyone is trying to avoid.

Most people think of corn as a vegetable but it is actually a grain.  People often think corn chips are healthier than potato chips, but are they?  For years people have been looking for sugar-free alternatives, but food products sweetened with high fructose corn syrup are known to be hazardous to your health.

Corn does not have to be eliminated from your diet but it should not be over eaten.  Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup should be avoided at all cost.

There is much in the health news recently about Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity.  So much that, the marketing of “gluten-free” processed food has exploded.  Wheat is the oldest farmed crop dating back more than 2000 years.  Because it is considered a cash crop, over the years it has been over-farmed and thus in many cases over consumed.

It is my opinion that the FDA food recommendations are up-side down; too many grains being suggested.  With that being said, there are many healthier grains than just wheat.  Barley, millet, quinoa, steel-cut oats, lentils and buckwheat are better for you and at least should be phased into your diet if not replacing wheat completely.

Genetic modification of wheat, over the past 20 or more years, has produced a crop that is easier to grow, more resistant to pests and results in increased yields.  At the same time it produces wheat that is less digestible by humans.  Before genetic modified farming, the wheat plant had been naturally mutated with the help of unknowing farmers over the centuries.  By domesticating the crop, it was made to grow in places that it would not otherwise grow and thus facilitating the cross pollinating and natural mutation of different varieties. Wheat even 100 years ago was far different, and less digestible than the wheat of 2000 years ago.

Wheat is inflammatory.  It causes bloating and gas in most people. Most people are at least gluten-sensitive to some degree, if not allergic to it.  The problem, mainly, is in the over consumption of wheat.  Due to the inflammation it causes in our digestive tract and in our arteries, many health problems develop.

Gluten is one of the hardest proteins for humans to digest.  This is why traditional cultures usually soak or sprout grains before eating them.  There is some research showing that those who are more sensitive to wheat and still consume it have a shortened life span and reduced fertility.

For good health, consume sprouted wheat products; for better health, replace wheat with other sprouted grains; and for optimal health, minimize grains and increase your consumption of healthier vegetables and leafy greens.

We are the only mammal that drinks milk beyond infancy and additionally the only mammal that drinks another mammal’s milk.  Dairy and cow’s milk products are inflammation producing and should be avoided by older children and adults. 

Human breast milk is necessary for proper infant development and immune system development.  An infant is not able to produce all the enzymes necessary to digest food, but is able to consume breast milk.  As the digestive and immune systems develop, the baby can be weaned from nursing.  (Length of time for nursing, and baby formula can be discussed at a later time.)  It is recommended by some for babies beyond nursing and toddlers to drink cow’s milk to maintain a healthy fat intake for brain and nervous system development.  It is also believed that goat’s milk and sheep milk are closer in digestibility to human milk and thus better for a baby, and an adult for that matter.

As a toddler’s digestive system develops it becomes less likely to be able to digest milk.  In this manner, all adults are lactose intolerant/sensitive to some extent.  Did you ever feel bloated or congested after drinking milk or eating dairy products?  That is your body not responding well to dairy.  Consumption of dairy produces mucus, which is an immune response due to the milk’s inflammatory nature.

Additionally, pasteurization of the milk denatures the protein in milk rendering the protein mostly useless to our bodies.  Milk that is not certified organic is usually filled with hormones used in raising the cows, which can have an adverse affect on our health.  Another health issue with milk is that it is fortified with vitamins, which like other fortified processed foods, the quality of those nutrients are not always at a level that our bodies can use them.

Yogurt is one dairy product, due to its fermentation process, that has more health benefits than negatives.  The active bacterial cultures in yogurt, which are killed in milk’s pasteurization process, are beneficial for a healthy flora in the digestive tract.

In conclusion, most dairy products should be avoided by most people due to their inflammatory nature, except for infants who need them for the fat content.  Yogurt and fermented products like kefir can be beneficial.  If you are going to eat cheese, harder cheeses without food coloring are best

The root of most diseases and unhealthy physiologic states is inflammation.  If we could eliminate or effectively manage inflammation in the body, health would be in abundance.  Inflammation plays an important role in the healing process and with the immune system.  However, when inflammation gets out of control, body tissues and systems breakdown, contributing to the disease process.

Habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol and over eating in general can cause increased inflammation.  Those are practices that should be avoided or at least minimized.

Another major way to reduce out-of-control inflammation is by managing what you eat.  Minimizing or avoiding the intake of inflammatory foods is where most people can make a significant difference.  The major foods that are inflammatory are sugar, dairy, wheat and corn.  These foods can affect your health so significantly that “moderation” is not even appropriate.  Minimizing or avoiding is essential.

In most cases, inflammation slowly deteriorates your tissues and systems so gradually you do not feel the effects coming on until one day a disease process is diagnosed.  On the other hand, once you have minimized inflammatory foods from your diet, an occasional binge will be greatly noticed by how badly you will feel.  You will wonder how you ever ate those foods in the past so frequently.

In most cases you do not want to replace inflammatory foods with “sugar-free”, “dairy-free” or “gluten-free” substitutes.  These foods have other chemicals in them that are sometimes worse than what you are trying to avoid.

Then what do you eat instead?  Widen your appreciation for vegetables, the one food group that is vastly missing from our diet.  Familiarize yourself with collard greens, Swiss chard, asparagus, carrots, turnips, parsnips, kale, beets, cabbage, mushrooms and many others.  Put vegetables in front of fruits, but don’t forget them also, they are great for snacks.  Combine vegetables and fruits with hormone-free meat and fish and other protein sources for a balanced diet.

Cleansing is an ancient practice of detoxifying the body.  However, in today’s complex environment cleansing is even more relevant.  The first objective would be to remove or avoid our exposure to harmful chemicals when possible, but that is not always simple.  There are chemicals in our food, water, air, on our lawns, in makeup, toiletries, body lotions, sun screen, household cleaners, and pharmaceuticals not to mention chemicals you may be exposed to at work.  For this reason it is important to choose products made from non-hazardous ingredients.

Your liver and kidneys are your body’s natural filters for blood and urine.  Additionally, your lungs cleanse and re-oxygenate your blood with every breath, thus emphasizing the importance of proper and deep breathing.  Another detoxing organ is your skin.  Toxins from within are released through the skin unless pores are blocked.  Often rashes are an indication that your body is purging itself of a poison or your body is reacting to a toxin that is being absorbed through the skin.  What you put on your skin eventually gets absorbed into your blood stream and can slowly poison you if it contains toxins.  Any substance that you would not put into your mouth should be considered before putting onto your skin including makeup, lotions and sun screen.

There are many types of cleanses, the three most popular being a colon cleanse, a liver cleanse and a heavy metal detoxification.  Each serves a specific purpose depending on your health, diet and exposures.  Due to today’s toxic environment most people should cleanse at least twice a year and more often if more toxic.  Cleansing can improve body and mind function, improve your immune system and can significantly affect the way you feel.

In chiropractic terms, people who do not "hold" their adjustment well, or who are constantly out of spinal alignment for no reason, are usually toxic and can benefit from a cleanse.

The human body was designed to be physical and active.  Not only is exercise important for health, it is necessary for life.  Movement is life.

Most people’s lives revolve around sedentary activities whether we are talking about work (desk jobs) or leisure (watching TV or sports).  Also, due to being sedentary, we de-condition our core muscles (spinal/structural muscles) and create an environment for poor posture.  Because of this lifestyle, we must plan for condensed workouts or activities instead of being naturally active throughout the day.

The most widely accepted and sought after benefit of exercise is weight loss.  Obesity is the number one general health problem today, and just being over-weight by 10 or 20 pounds can have serious health problems, some that go undetected for years or decades.

A weak core and improper posture can contribute to bio-mechanical and over-use injuries.  Additionally, poor bio-mechanics lead to nervous system interference causing a whole host of functional problems.

Three types of exercises are cardio, resistance training and functional exercise.  Cardio increases your heart rate and breathing for a sustained period of time focusing on heart and respiratory health.  Weight loss can also be a benefit.  Cardio includes walking, running and using any of many types of gym equipment like the treadmill, elliptical, stair-stepper and spinning bike.  Walking or running outdoors, without music, taking in the scenery, will produce the most healthful results.  For the beginner, great benefit can be achieved by just walking briskly for 35 minutes.  Cardio should be performed for a minimum of 35 minutes for optimal effect and a longer lasting increase in metabolism.

Resistance training involves lifting weights or using some gym equipment to achieve the same.  It is not necessary to lift heavy weights and doing so can cause injury.  The benefit of this type of exercise is to increase muscle strength and bone strength.  Resistance training and a proper diet is the best way to prevent osteoporosis.

Functional exercise trains your body to move properly and improve your posture.  Functional training can be done with minimal equipment and can incorporate cardio and resistance training with agility, balance and natural motions.  Consult a personal trainer for proper form and optimal results.

For more information or questions, please call 580-3246.

Years ago normal deliveries of breached births were common.  Doctors and midwives were just patient and eventually the baby was delivered.  However, there were slight added risks so these days babies that present in breached position are too often delivered by cesarean section.

A recent case was reported of a woman at 36 weeks, nearly full term, whose baby was in breached position.  Her doctor recommended they plan for a cesarean section but the woman had hoped for a natural delivery.

She sought the services of a chiropractor who performed a specific adjustment on her called Webster-In-Utero Constraint technique.  After 5 adjustments with trigger point work to release abdominal muscle tension, the baby turned around to the normal head first position.  The intent of the technique was to relax intrauterine constraints, allowing the baby to turn.

Of course, cesarean sections can be lifesaving in certain situations but they should not be considered normal, and carry their own risks and drawbacks.  In this situation the mother was able to avoid the cesarean section and had a normal full-term head-first delivery.

For more than a decade, the media has been glutted with direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs.  Increasingly, pharmaceutical companies have been required to include information on the side effects of their drugs, a minimal concession to truth in advertising. But is anyone listening to these lists of dangerous, damaging or even life-threatening effects? Announcers quickly read off a list of these effects that would make any mother cringe.  The real story behind some of these effects in only hinted at. It seems to be up to the consumer to take the hint... or not.

Look at the effects that follow. Would anyone in their right mind risk these side effects unless their lives depended on it? Most of these drugs are not intended for the treatment of life-threatening illnesses.

Some of the side effects of the most advertised medications are decrease or loss of vision or hearing, serious skin reactions, stomach and intestinal bleeding and ulcers, stroke, severe liver reactions, perforated intestines, kidney injury, hypertension and sudden death.

In short, the safest way to achieve health is by living a healthy lifestyle that supports good immunity and overall health, rather than depending on drugs that may one day be shown to be killers. Chiropractic can boost your immune system.  Learn more about a chiropractic lifestyle for healthy living. Choose chiropractic for natural healthcare.

Your body is made up of billions of cells.  These cells are organized as all kinds of different tissues and further organized as organs.  A group of organs that works together is called a system (such as the digestive system).  When all your systems work in a harmonious, coordinated fashion they create a healthy living you.

The center of all this is a delicate balance between your brain and nervous system.  Your brain communicates with the rest of your body through your spinal cord.  Information travels from your brain through your spinal cord to billions of nerve fibers to reach all the cells in your body.  If there are any blocks in this flow, the information gets disrupted or sometimes never gets through, impeding proper function.  A block in the spinal cord is called a subluxation.

Vertebral subluxations are common and can be caused by physical, chemical or emotional stresses that the body is often exposed to.  Many times vertebral subluxations are painless so most people do not even know they have them.  Getting regular check-ups from your Chiropractor can correct and help to prevent vertebral subluxations allowing all of your systems to function properly and help you feel your best.

Flip-flops seem to have taken over as the choice of shoe for many people this summer.  But are they really the best choice for the health of your feet?

Wearing flip-flops alters the way people walk, changing their gait in subtle ways that can lead to serious problems.  When you walk in flip-flops, you have to scrunch up your toes to keep the flip-flops on your feet when the heel lifts up in the air.  This motion stresses the plantar fascia, the tough band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot supporting the arch, changing the biomechanics of your foot.  Poor foot motion and incorrect biomechanics of the foot are a major contribution to many common ankle, knee, hip and back problems.

No matter what type of shoe you wear (but especially those who wear flip-flops), I recommend and regularly adjust my clients' feet for improved health.  Chiropractic adjustments to the feet can additionally help restore and improve the inner joint motion of the foot improving proprioception, steadiness and reaction time of everyone from athletes to the elderly.

A study in Denmark compared the results of administering chiropractic care or medication to infants between 2 and 10 weeks of age who suffer from colic.  The 50 infants chosen had suffered one or more violent spells of crying for 3 or more hours per day for at least five of the prior seven days.  Twenty-five of the infants were given spinal manipulation by a local chiropractor and the others were given two weeks of dimethicone treatment.  The parents in both groups were counseled on care and feeding.  The results of the treatments were recorded in daily diaries.
After the third day of treatment, the spinal manipulations group showed an improvement in colic behavior greater than the improvement shown by the group treated with dimethicone.
At eight to ten days, the difference in response in the chiropractic group was even more marked.
Also of note is that nine of the infants dropped out of the dimethicone treatment group due to a worsening of the infant's symptoms.  None of the infants treated with chiropractic dropped out of care.
Due to the "trauma" at birth, you should have your infant's spinal health checked in our office.  Spinal mis-alignments, left unchecked can result in colic and other symptoms.

Fibromyalgia disables muscles and muscular tissue fibers.  Those who suffer from this epidemic are in constant pain, sleep poorly, feel fatigued and become depressed.  So far, little relief or treatment is available, but there is good news - Chiropractic adjustments are helping to reduce the symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

John C. Lowe, M.A., D.C. in Houston, Texas recently concluded a year-long study supporting Chiropractic care as a proper and effective treatment for Fibromyalgia.  He found repetitive adjustments reduce muscle inflammation and reduce pain.  His report is timely, as support for chiropractic treatment is growing.

Rheumatologist Dr. Frederick Wolfe, a well-known investigator of Fibromyalgia, clinical professor, University of Kansas School of Medicine, pointed out Chiropractic does help.  Wolfe and his colleagues, recently completed a study showing Chiropractic among the most effective Firbromyalgia treatments. 

Dr. Bernard Rubin conducted a study at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.  He studied the effects of spinal adjustment, drugs and placebos on Fibromyalgia patients.  One group received only placebos, the second only adjustment, the third were given drugs and the fourth, drugs with adjustment.  Results showed spinal adjustments improved the patients most, giving them a better sense of wellbeing.

Sometimes there are amazing outcomes when people have regular chiropractic care.  One of my patients wrote to me about how pleased she was that I was able to help her 11 year old son. The mother heard that there were some documented cases where chiropractic helped resolve a bedwetting problem

Upon performing a history and examination with the mother and child, it was discovered that the child had suffered a fall from a bicycle at age 4.  This correlated with the bedwetting onset.  Also, spinal restrictions were found in the area of the spine where the nerves that control the bladder are.

After only four treatments to relieve the nervous system pressure in the spine, it was reported that the bedwetting was under control.

After having to deal with this embarrassing problem for seven years, the child had much more self esteem and was able to participate in his first sleepover without the anxiety of having an accident.

Since falls and minor traumas are common, children can benefit from regular chiropractic care to ensure that their spine is free of restrictions that may result in nervous system interference causing many various symptoms and health problems.

A study published in The Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research showed that Chiropractic is an effective therapy for anxiety disorders. 

The study focused on the case of a 19-year-old female diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder.  She had suffered from headaches and psychiatric symptoms for two years prior to seeking Chiropractic care. 

Her previous medical treatment included multiple visits to the emergency room, visits to private specialists, and thousands of dollars for tests and drug therapies including Praxil, Xanax and Celexa - all of which failed to alleviate or resolve her symptoms and all while she was in crisis for two years. 

During the patient's health history, she revealed a head injury during one of three car accidents she had been involved in.

During her initial consultation, subluxations were detected and she began Chiropractic care.  After four months of care, the patient reported 80% reduction in anxiety symptoms and a 90% decrease in headaches.

A simple, non-invasive spinal screening ultimately provided the findings that made the difference: her spine was subluxated, impinging on the nerves and altering proper function of her nervous system.  She was also able to resume a normal lifestyle without resorting to prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

A recent study conducted by the Medical Research Council (MRC) revealed that Chiropractic combined with an exercise regimen is an effective treatment for back pain.  1,300 patients participated in the study.  Each participant had previously sought treatment from a general medical practitioner, which provided no relief.

Participants were divided into three groups: a physical exercise program, a Chiropractic program or a combination of Chiropractic care followed by an exercise regimen.  Results of the study, published in the British Medical Journal, showed that the greatest reduction of pain and greatest increase in back function was experienced by patients who received the combination treatment of Chiropractic and exercise.  Researchers noted that this treatment protocol provided a "Significant relief of symptoms and improvements in general health."

The MRC promotes medical and related scientific research to improve health and the quality of life among the general public.  The MRC is funded by the country's taxpayers and is at liberty to select the type of research it supports.

This study reinforces the effectiveness of Chiropractic care.  Studies published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics and the journal Spine found that Chiropractic was more effective than medical care for treating chronic pain.

The most prevalent reason for spinal conditions resulting in nervous system problems is chronic sitting.  Today people, young and old, sit too much.  Whether it is sitting at work, at school, lounging on the couch, in front of the computer, or using some hand held electronic device there is too much sitting happening.  This can cause hip joint problems, poor posture, digestive issues, arthritis, a weak core and pain in the back, neck and generally in the joints.  And remember, when there is pain there is usually nerve damage and neurological problems that you are unaware of.  Stand up and move more.

Another common reason is that we walk on flat hard surfaces all the time.  We have made our lives convenient by creating flat surfaces like side walks, parking lots, hard concrete floors in most work settings.  Our feet with 26 individual bones were designed to walk over uneven surfaces, and when the neuro-receptors in the feet do not get the stimulation that is required, degenerative processes ensue, not only in the feet, but also in the spine. Additionally, shoes that are too supportive or too cushioned also inhibit proper motion, causing many whole body structural problems.  Come in and see how we can help.

Inflammation is the start of almost all disease processes and illnesses.  Inflammation can be the beginning of arthritis, muscle soreness, muscle tears, and tendonitis.  Additionally and more importantly, it is now recognized that heart disease, vascular disease, strokes and even cancer are all caused when there is too much inflammation in the body.

The suffix "-itis" means inflammation, so other inflammatory diseases are: appendicitis, pancreatitis, vasuulitis, cystitis, prostatitis, dermatomyositis, polymyositis and myositis just to name a few.  Other common inflammatory diseases are IBS or irritable bowel disease, Celiac disease, Crohn's disease and most digestive disorders.

What can you do?  Since stress can cause inflammation, avoid stressful situations and add activities that help de-stress such as exercise, yoga, massage, reading or meditation.

The area you have the most control of and can have the most harmful impact is what you eat.  Flour (especially white flour), sugar, dairy, "corn-fed", high-fructose, and corn syrup are the inflammatory food groups that need to be avoided, or at least minimized.

Two major joints of the body are the sacroiliac joints lying where the vertebral column meets the pelvis.  The function of these joints is to support the weight of the vertebral column and transmit motion between the spine/pelvis and the lower extremities.

When the area is in proper alignment and working smoothly during walking, the limited amount of movement generated actually provides some shock absorbing action for the body.  However, when alignment problems begin to occur in the area, a discrepancy in leg length is frequency the noted.

Low back pain may be the first clue to a chiropractor to check for dysfunction. It is common for the source of the pain to be the person's foot, especially in the case of an aging adult.  A common cause of the unleveling of the pelvic area is the loss of motion and function of the foot due to tarsal bone joint restriction.  Restrictions of the foot bones occur so gradually, that there is usually no foot pain.

Once the restrictions are discovered, a chiropractor may begin corrective procedures by adjusting the foot and pelvis.  This alone may put the patient on the road to recovery as this corrects the anatomical dysfunction and diminishes the unwanted force that is being transmitted to the sacroiliac joints (pelvis) with each uneven step the person takes.

Far too many people still believe that Chiropractic care isn't necessary unless they are suffering excruciating headache or lower back pain.  The millions who do receive regular adjustments and have a natural, healthy lifestyle know that Chiropractic can resolve their back pain, and more may also be learning about the potential non-musculoskeletal benefits.  Most Chiropractic clients experience better balance, coordination and joint range of motion
Additionally, accordingly to a recent study featured in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, nearly one in four Chiropractic patients experience some form of improvement other than less back pain or fewer headaches.  The six most common improvements are 1) easier to breathe, 2) more clarity and better, sharper vision, 3) improved digestive function, 4) better circulation, 5) improved blood pressure, and 6) improved hearing.

Now there is some actual proof that measurable changes to the body's nervous system  occur as a result of a Chiropractic adjustment.  By stimulating the nervous system, we can improve the function of the while body.  This is something that chiropractors and their patients have known for years and now we have some scientific evidence to prove it. 

A research study involved 12 subjects who were documented as having reoccurring neck pain.  All of the adjustments involved manipulations of dysfunctional cervical joints.  Using a series of EEG evaluations, researchers were able to show that signals are carried by the nervous system to the brain and change the way muscles are controlled. 

This is the first time that anyone has used EEGs to prove that there are definite changes  to the way the brain processes information after Chiropractic care.  The process is like rebooting a computer.  The signals that the adjustments send to the brain via the nervous system reset muscle behavior patterns. 

People who have enjoyed Chiropractic adjustments can relate to these findings.  Is it any wonder that  people frequently  notice immediate changes in the way they feel or the way a particular part of their body is functioning after an adjustment - and in many cases, notice it immediately?  If the body systems do indeed reboot along the lines of a computer, changes can happen quickly with marvelous results. 

Wide spread pain, often referred to as Fibromyalgia, is characterized by physical findings of local tenderness in many specific but widely dispersed sites. Most patients with Fibromyalgia remain symptomatic for several years, with no known cure yet identified.  A study was executed to find out if Chiropractic could alleviate some of the chronic pain of this condition.
Fifteen patients each received 30 Chiropractic treatments consisting of a variety of techniques.  The results of this course of treatment were a significant reduction in pain and improvement in quality of sleep and fatigue levels in nine of the subjects.
These improvements were maintained after one month without treatment.  The subjects that did not respond to care tended to have more severe symptoms.
In our office, we have treated many patients with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain with great results.  Most have their pain symptoms virtually eliminated, while the remaining patients' conditions have been controlled by periodic Chiropractic treatment.

People who think that Chiropractic care is only about adjusting the musculoskeletal system might be in for a bit of a surprise.  According to a world wide survey of Chiropractic clients, more than 40 percent of clients visits were initiated for the purposes of health enhancement and/or disease prevention.

This Statistic comes from a recent survey aimed at finding out why people engage the services of a chiropractor.  Researchers set out to explore the extent to which consumers seek wellness care from chiropractors, especially when their practice methods are known to include periodic evaluations and interventions to maintain wellness and prevent disease.

Survey data on Chiropractic usage was collected from 1,316 clients in 27 different offices and clinics in the United States, Europe and Australia.  Each person completed a survey regarding their reason for seeking care.  "Optimizing health" and "preventing disease" were indicated by over 40% of the people surveyed as their reason for being in the chiropractor's workplace.  One reason for this large percentage has to do with better client education and awareness of Chiropractic methods.  An office that addresses the entire body at each visit is more likely to achieve these whole body results.

From the peer-reviewed scientific journal, the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research (JVSR), comes a very large literature review study showing the multiple benefits of chiropractic care on people who are not suffering from pain or other obvious problems. 

This review looked at more than 20 studies involving subjects who were specifically described as, asymptomatic, healthy, normal, or free from physical injury.  In addition, an equal number of studies were found also documenting objectively measured health benefits in subjects who had no symptomatic presentation.

The results of this large review showed measurable objective improvements in range of motion, blood pressure, heart rate, plasma catecholamine levels, immune responses, enhanced respiratory burst, pupil reactions, slower heart rate, improved pulmonary function, as well as many other objectively measured indications of improved body physiology.

In conclusion, Data reviewed in this article lend strong support to the popular contention that chiropractic adjustments, for the purpose of correcting subluxations, confer health benefits to people regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms.  The JVSR article authors further conclude, A significant amount of preliminary evidence supports that people without symptoms can benefit from chiropractic care.  It is plausible that chiropractic care may benefit every function of the body and have the potential for long-term, overall health benefit to those receiving chiropractic care.

Two hundred pediatricians and two hundred chiropractors were surveyed to determine what, if any, differences were to be found in the health status of children who routinely received either medical care or Chiropractic care.

With usable responses of 35% from the chiropractors and 36% from the pediatricians, analysis of the results indicates a definite correlation between Chiropractic care and superior health. While the ‘medical’ children had a history of fewer childhood diseases, they also had received a considerably higher percentage of childhood immunizations (94%), as compared to the ‘Chiropractic’ children (25%).

The ‘Chiropractic’ children showed a 69% otitis media-free response, while the ‘medical’ children only had a 20% otitis media-free response.  Pediatricians were more likely to feel that every child would

have been on a course of antibiotics at least once, and some suggested that almost 100% of children suffer from otitis media, whereas many chiropractors reported that children under their care had never been on antibiotics.  The occurrence of infectious diseases was significantly less among the Chiropractic sample.

The results of the study confirm the benefits of the Chiropractic model of healthcare on the health status of children.