Time to get “Pickled”

I happen to have a friend that I swim with 3 times a week that is an excellent Nutritionist.  She often gives nutritional tips to me and the other guys that swim in our lane.  One thing that she recently suggested was to “eat something fermented every day”.

Personally, I have started eating “Pickled Beets”, about one serving every day, and now my digestion has been noticeably better.  I was intrigued by this and I started to read about many of the other benefits of eating fermented foods. I wanted to share a few links that highlight many of the benefits of eating fermented foods on a regular basis.

This first link is to an article written by Dr. David Williams- he is a medical researcher, biochemist, and a Chiropractor.  Dr. David Williams has developed a reputation as one of the world’s leading authorities on natural healing.

A couple of the highlights of his article are how fermented foods balance the production of stomach acid, they help produce acetylcholine- which also aids in digestion, and they improve pancreatic function- which is beneficial to people with Diabetes.


This next article explains how eating fermented foods helps balance the bacteria in our digestive systems, and how they improve bowel health and improve our immunity.  Another bonus, fermented foods will also help you absorb more nutrients from the food you eat.


One more link for you to look at here was written by Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS.  He is a certified doctor of natural medicine, doctor of chiropractic and clinical nutritionist with a passion to help people get healthy by using food as medicine.  He lists his 10 Healthiest Fermented Foods and Vegetables here:


Dr. David Williams says: “Modern Society is Losing Fermented Foods”.  Unfortunately, over the past century many probiotic foods have fallen from favor due to changes in the way we now preserve foods, particularly vegetables.

“When fresh vegetables weren’t as readily available throughout the year, they were often preserved through fermentation. Nowadays, thanks to improved transportation and storage, we can buy various vegetables all year around; and when it comes to preserving vegetables, freezing and canning have become the methods of choice. These techniques are convenient and help retain vitamin content, but they provide little benefit in terms of digestive health compared to fermentation.”

Dr. Williams top fermented foods: Homemade Sauerkraut; Fermented Veggies; Fermented Soy Products; and Kefir.

So, do your gut a favor and try adding some fermented foods to your diet.

If you have any questions about this blog or your health in general, please feel free to contact me at drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com


Don’t Let Your Kids Become a CDC Statistic!

The numbers are staggering.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

  • High school athletes account for an estimated 2 million injuries and 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year.
  • More than 3.5 million kids under age 14 receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year.
  • Children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospitals. On average the rate and severity of injury increases with a child’s age.
  • Overuse injuries are responsible for nearly half of all sports injuries to middle and high school students
  • According to the CDC, more than half of all sports injuries in children are preventable.

Spring sports will be starting soon for your kids.  Don’t let them become a CDC statistic.  Prior to participating in sports your children should have a functional evaluation.  How is their range of motion? How is their posture? Are all the joints in their spine and extremities moving correctly?  How is their muscle tone and balance?  How quick is the muscle activation response time?  These are all good indicators on the state of an athlete’s functional health.  A good thing about being young is that if is a problem they usually respond quickly to chiropractic care.

If you missed the pre-season evaluation or you have a child who is still side-lined and suffering from a sports related injury, do not give up. It is never too late.

In December I meet a young teenage athlete who was not able to participate in sports because of lingering back pain for over a year and a half.  He injured himself in a baseball game where he was the short stop.  He fell over an opponent and twisted as he landed.  He had not been able to participate in sports since this injury.  During the consult, his mother said to me, “I just want a diagnosis so I know what is wrong.”  She had taken her son to multiple physicians without a concrete diagnosis.  He had a course of PT without lasting benefit.  I did my assessment and found dysfunction, or stuck joints, in his low back, muscle guarding and sciatic nerve entrapment.  His mom was relieved on knowing there was something wrong. She was even happier when I was able to provide a mechanical solution to her son’s mechanical problem.  The great news is that he able to swing a bat and throw a baseball again without pain!  He is looking forward to baseball tryouts in a few weeks.

Not only do we assess athlete’s pre-season function and get our patient’s out of pain and back to sports, the most important service we provide is called Performance Care. The goal of Performance Care is to optimize mechanical function and catch little issues before they become serious ones.  All the chiropractors at Performance Health Center get pleasure knowing that we pay a small role in our patient’s success!

Two of our teenage athletes have recently made major accomplishments in their sports:

  • Matt Gastaldo of Natick High School won his weight class at the Division 2 state wrestling meet last month.

I encourage all athletes to have regular chiropractic care during their sports season.  Race cars need more maintenance than street cars, and athletes are like race cars. If there is an injury, as long as there is no blood or guts, the faster they get checked and treated with functional chiropractic treatment, the faster the recovery, the faster they get back to sports and the least chance of lasting injury.

There is often a long term detriment from participating in youth sports. It amazes me how many adults I meet who trace their pain complaints back to high school sports.  If they had the benefit of a sports minded chiropractor when they were participating in youth sports they might not have ended up in chronic pain.

If you have any questions on what is involved in a pre-sports functional examination, want to optimize your performance, or are side-lined because of injury please call us at 508-655-9008, or email me at drbradweiss@performancehealthcenter.com


Dynamic Stretching, the “Pre-workout”

If you look up Wikipedia’s definition of dynamic stretching, this is what comes up, “Dynamic stretching is a form of stretching beneficial in sports utilizing momentum from form, and the momentum from static-active stretching strength, in an effort to propel the muscle into an extended range of motion not exceeding one’s static passive stretching ability”.

Performing dynamic stretches in a “pre-workout” or warmup are a series of active stretches that move the muscles through their range of motion, helps to improve range of motion surrounding the joints, helps to elevate core body temperature, and stimulate the nervous system.

Dynamic stretching primes the muscle to be ready to contract and relax, just as they would need to be ready to function during a sprint, run or jumping motion etc.  Being dynamic stretching is an active movement, it helps to prevent over-stretching, which can also fatigue the muscles.  Fatiguing the muscles prior to a workout can provoke injury or unfavorable symptoms to the area.  That is one of the main reasons coaching have gotten away from prescribing static stretching before a workout.  In fact, many coaches suggest athletes do a dynamic warm up every day to help keep muscles limber and ready to move at all times.

Dynamic stretching also helps to mentally prepare the athlete before the workout or competition.  Static stretching can be more relaxing, and while there is definitely a place for it, static stretching can almost trick one’s body into relaxation mode and make it more difficult to transition to “competitor” or “beast mode”.

Dynamic stretches target major muscle groups when warming up.  For example, when running, dynamic stretches target hamstrings, quads, glutes, hip flexors and calves to help prime these areas for movement.  Usually a couple of minutes of light jogging is recommended first to get the blood flowing before getting into a 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretching.  Walking butt kicks (heel to butt), knee hugs (walking knee the chest), walking toe touches, walking lunges with an overhead reach, glute bridges, heel and toe walks, are just a handful of great dynamic stretches to get one warmed up and the muscle groups prepared for the intensity of the workout that follows.   It really is something so easy to work into a warm up, and would most likely replace a more static routine one is doing, so it would not add much time on to one’s routine either.  Some of you reading this may find that you are already doing some type of dynamic stretching prior to a workout without even knowing it!

Should anyone reading this have any questions in regarding dynamic stretching and incorporating this into their pre-workout routine, please feel free to contact me at: drv@performanacehealthcenter.com




You Got Some Nerve!

The truth is you have a lot of nerve!

  • There are more nerves in your body than stars in the Milky Way.
  • The human brain alone consists of about 100 billion neurons. If all these neurons were lined up it would for a 600 mile long line.
  • The nervous system transmits impulses at 100 meters per second, or 224 miles per hour
  • There are 43 different pairs of nerve which connect the nervous system to every part of your body. 12 pairs exit in your brain and 31 pairs are connected to your spinal cord..

The longest nerve in the body is the sciatic nerve.  It is made up of nerve roots from 5 levels of your low back and sacrum (L4-S3) and ends at the tip of your toes.  The sciatic nerve is about the size of your thumb as it passes through your buttocks.  The sciatic nerve travels in the spaces between the large muscles in your leg (often with the arteries and veins).  Sciatica is the term used when the sciatic nerve gets irritated and causes pain that radiates down the leg.  We treat sciatica successfully every day in our office.

The sciatic nerve can get entrapped anywhere from where the nerves exit the spine to the toes.  When a nerve loses its ability to glide, or move, within it pathway the function of the nerve can be corrupted.  There are areas where the sciatic nerve is more frequently entrapped.  One is the tarsal tunnel.  You’ve heard of carpal tunnel. The tarsal tunnel is in the foot, just below and behind the inside of your ankle bone (or medial malleolus).  Another common entrapment site is the piriformis muscle (one of the deep muscles of your buttocks).

There are functional diagnostic tests to determine if and where the sciatic nerve is entrapped.  Active Release Techniques® (or ART®) has specific protocols to release entrapped nerves.  There are about 35+ ART® certified providers in Massachusetts and only 10+ ART® Nerve Entrapment certified providers, of which 3 practice at Performance Health Center. It amazes me on how many of the patients we meet have been living in pain, sometimes for years with sciatic nerve entrapment.  Having an entrapped sciatic nerve can manifest in many ways, not only leg pain. Since nerve entrapments are a functional condition it requires a functional solution and ART® provides one.

Recently I saw a patient who had bilateral foot pain for 3 years, initially caused by wearing bad running shoes too long.  Over the 3 years before I meet her, she was labeled with having many different pain syndromes from multiple medical providers. She even had nerve release surgery on both her tarsal tunnels.  The day I met her, she gave me her detailed history and I performed an exam with included sciatic nerve entrapment screening.  I uncovered poor motion of the joints of her low back and sciatic nerve entrapment.  The function test of the sciatic nerve was so obvious she understood and felt the tension as I performed the test maneuver.  When I explained to her what I thought was the problem, that her sciatic nerve was entrapped at the tarsal tunnel, and told her I thought I could help her, she teared up. She told me that of all the doctors she had seen over the years, I gave her the most thorough exam, explained her problem in a way she could understand it and gave her hope.

The good news is that after 8 treatments she is doing much better.  The pain level is significantly reduced. She can walk without pain. She is not running yet, but will be within the next 2 months. She had a functional problem caused by faulty biomechanics of her spine and sciatic nerve pathway.  Our functional treatment approach includes manipulation of her low back (where the nerves that make up the sciatic nerve exits the spine), ART ® on the muscles of the LB and leg, plus sciatic nerve entrapment ART® protocols, and Kinesio® Taping to minimize the tension on the sciatic nerve at the tarsal tunnel between treatments.  It is not possible to correct 3+ years of faulty motor patterns in the body overnight, but just like braces on teeth, if we continue to put a demand on the body, it will change.

Getting our patients out of pain is usually the easy part of treatment.  The next and most important phase is the rehabilitation, or re-education to optimize the body’s function.  Of course our patients have responsibilities too.  They need to improve the ergonomics at work and play. They receive stretches and strengthening exercises when appropriate, and are an active participant in their treatment.

If you or anyone you know is sick and tired of being sick and tired, and think they have done everything to get better.  Remind them if they have not had the benefit of ART®, they have not done everything!  As always, after the initial examination, if we do not think we can help, we will make the appropriate referral.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at: drbradweiss@performancehealthcenter.com


Special “K”

No, I am not talking about the Kellogg’s cereal in the big White box with the big red letter K on it.  I am talking about Potassium, which for you Chemistry Geeks is the 19th chemical element with the symbol K (derived from Neo-Latinkalium). It was first isolated from potash, the ashes of plants, from which it was named.

I am writing this Blog this month because I had an interesting eye opening experience with Potassium- more about that later.

Potassium is one of the seven essential macro-minerals, along with calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, and sulfur. We require at least 100 milligrams of potassium daily to support key bodily processes.  Many of us do not get enough Potassium in our diets, and some people end up with Hypokalemia- low levels of Potassium in our blood, a potentially dangerous health condition.

Adequate potassium intake will reduce the risk of stroke, lower blood pressure, protect against loss of muscle mass, preserve bone mineral density, and reduce the formation of kidney stones.

Potassium’s primary functions in the body include regulating fluid balance and controlling the electrical activity of the heart and other muscles.

Potassium is an electrolyte that counteracts the effects of sodium, helping to maintain a healthy blood pressure.  Potassium plays a role in every heartbeat.  It also helps your muscles to move, your nerves to work, and your kidneys to filter blood.

Food Sources:

The best way to get enough potassium is to eat fruits and vegetables. It’s also in dairy products, whole grains, meat, and fish.

Great sources include:

  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocados
  • Fresh fruits (bananas, oranges, and strawberries)
  • Orange juice
  • Dried fruits (raisins, apricots, prunes, and dates)
  • Spinach
  • Beans and peas

How Much Do You Need?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends 4,700 milligrams per day for healthy people. The easiest way to get this amount is by adding high-potassium fruits and vegetables to your diet.

OK back to my recent experience.  I happen to eat a lot, I mean A LOT of high Potassium foods!  It seems like all my favorite foods: (Sweet potatoes, Salmon, Spinach, Broccoli, Asparagus, Bananas, Strawberries, and even my protein powder that I make smoothies with), are all really high in Potassium.  Well, no problem, right? Not so fast!!  I had my annual physical recently and I was alerted that I had Hyperkalemia- too much Potassium in my blood!  This, like Hypokalemia, can also be very dangerous to you and your heart.  A conscious effort to replace some of my high Potassium foods and a switch in my Protein powder and I was quickly back to the normal range. Phew!

So, while it is much more common to have low Potassium in our blood, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. The best way to determine your current blood potassium levels is to get your blood checked on a regular basis, and then you can make the necessary dietary changes to bring your levels back to normal if needed.

If you have questions about this Blog or your health in general, please feel free to contact me at:


Did You Know ALL This About Magnesium???

Magnesium seems to be a hot topic today in the supplement field, so I wanted to dig around a little and present some information to you all about what exactly Magnesium is, what is does, where you can find sources of this mineral, who is at risk to be deficient, and what some of the signs or symptoms are.

Did most of you know that magnesium is a mineral?  Magnesium is also a co-factor in relation to over 300 enzyme systems that control complex biochemical reactions throughout the body.   Muscle and nerve function, regulation of blood pressure, blood glucose control, energy production, protein synthesis, transporting calcium and potassium across cell membranes, bone structural development, and synthesis of DNA/RNA, are some of the most important reactions Magnesium helps to regulate.  I honestly didn’t realize that Magnesium contributed to ALL of these things plus more.

The balance of Magnesium in greatly controlled by the kidneys.  The kidney excretes around 120mg of magnesium into the urine each day. There is about 25g of magnesium in the adult body, and over have of it resides in the bones and the rest in the soft tissue.  There is only a very small amount of magnesium that resides in the actual blood serum.  With that being said, it can be a little more difficult to test, and usually a combination of blood tests, urinalysis, saliva tests, and a thorough consultation are performed to be sure one could be deficient.

There are a wide variety of beverages, animal and plant foods that have magnesium in them.  Tap, mineral and bottled water contain certain levels of magnesium in them.  Nuts, seeds, spinach, legumes, and whole grains contain a good level of magnesium as well.  Fortified foods and cereals may contain added amounts of magnesium, but some types of food processing actually lower the content of magnesium.  Personally, I recommend trying to find magnesium through more natural food sources, not cereal or processed foods if can be helped.  And though you may think you are taking in a fair amount of magnesium through your diet, about 30-40% of dietary magnesium is actually absorbed by the body.

Listed below from The National Institute of Health are some food sources and the levels of magnesium found in them:

Table 2: Selected Food Sources of Magnesium [10]
Food Milligrams
(mg) per
Almonds, dry roasted, 1 ounce 80 20
Spinach, boiled, ½ cup 78 20
Cashews, dry roasted, 1 ounce 74 19
Peanuts, oil roasted, ¼ cup 63 16
Cereal, shredded wheat, 2 large biscuits 61 15
Soymilk, plain or vanilla, 1 cup 61 15
Black beans, cooked, ½ cup 60 15
Edamame, shelled, cooked, ½ cup 50 13
Peanut butter, smooth, 2 tablespoons 49 12
Bread, whole wheat, 2 slices 46 12
Avocado, cubed, 1 cup 44 11
Potato, baked with skin, 3.5 ounces 43 11
Rice, brown, cooked, ½ cup 42 11
Yogurt, plain, low fat, 8 ounces 42 11
Breakfast cereals, fortified with 10% of the DV for magnesium 40 10
Oatmeal, instant, 1 packet 36 9
Kidney beans, canned, ½ cup 35 9
Banana, 1 medium 32 8
Salmon, Atlantic, farmed, cooked, 3 ounces 26 7
Milk, 1 cup 24–27 6–7
Halibut, cooked, 3 ounces 24 6
Raisins, ½ cup 23 6
Chicken breast, roasted, 3 ounces 22 6
Beef, ground, 90% lean, pan broiled, 3 ounces 20 5
Broccoli, chopped and cooked, ½ cup 12 3
Rice, white, cooked, ½ cup 10 3
Apple, 1 medium 9 2
Carrot, raw, 1 medium 7 2

The National Institute of Health also states that the daily recommended amount of magnesium consumed by an adult be between 310-420 mg per female and male, respectively.  Now this may vary between each individual based on their health history and daily life.  It is always recommended that if one is concerned to please consult a qualified health care professional.

Some groups that are more subject than others to have inadequate levels of magnesium are people with gastrointestinal diseases, people with migraines, people with Type II Diabetes, people with alcohol dependencies, older adults, especially those dealing with osteoporosis, and people with hypertension and/or cardiovascular disease.  These groups are more likely to consume insufficient quantities of magnesium, or have a medical condition or take medications that affect the absorption of magnesium in the gut.

Some signs that you are someone may be deficient in magnesium include, but are not subject to: reduced urinary excretion, nausea, vomiting, weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite.  If the deficiency continues to get worse, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions, cramps, personality changes, seizures, irregular heart rhythms or coronary spasms can take place.  Severe issues can involve low blood calcium and potassium levels as well.

I hope that this has been informative to all of you reading this.  Should you have any questions or concerns in regards to magnesium, please feel free to contact any of the doctor’s at PHC or your PCP for further questions or concerns.  If you are someone that takes a magnesium supplement, or is looking too, Metagenics carries very high quality magnesium supplements, some of which we carry at our office.  Metagenics brand is very well known in the medical field, and may also be something your PCP may carry in their office as well.




That Time of Year Again!

Alright everyone, it’s that time of year again where everyone starts mapping out the new year…what to do, what not to do, what could I have been done better last year, did I achieve all of my resolutions, if I didn’t, is it possible I could achieve them this year coming?  I feel for too many people this can be very stressful, and can almost set them up for failure in the new year, and be ever more depressing.  This whole downward spiral can occur in the blink of a second, so many people just decide not to set ANY goals for themselves in the upcoming year.  Notice how I said “goals”, as I did last year too!  Maybe it is because I have an athletic background, but I really feel the word “goal” sets better with me than the word “resolution”.  So, call it whatever you want, but for the remainder of my topic today, GOALS it will be!

I feel that last year I was able to attain many of my goals, but there were a few that did trail off and that got away from me…my weekly stretching, weekly yoga, monthly maintenance in regards to acupuncture, and lack of sleep.  The other 7-8 goals were achieved in 2016, which I was proud of myself for, but I really want to focus this year on these few that got away from me.

I am not sure why stretching more regularly got away from me this year.  Being a chiropractor and all, and preaching mobility exercises to my patients’ day in and day out, you would think this wouldn’t be an issue for me, lol.  Maybe it is like the story of the shoe maker’s children…one would think that their children would go to school with the best shoes, but they were usually the one’s wearing the beat up falling apart shoes.  So, maybe after preaching mobility day in and day out, I just grew tired of it and didn’t want to stretch.  That being said, I do my foam rolling pretty regularly, and shoulder and upper back activation exercises, but that darn stretching was not at the top of my list this past year!  So, in 2017, STRETCHING is going to be at the top of my list.  With our busy lifestyles, and many of us driving multiple hours a week, sitting behind our computers doing work day in and day out, hovering over our phones rounding our shoulders texting, sending emails, and scrolling through FB and Instagram, it is more important than ever that we are be better about stretching.

That being said and leading to my next goal, yoga, more yoga!  Talking about stretching and really helping to open up the body, why did I get off track from that in 2016?  The only thing I can think of is when summer hit, I did not want to be inside any more than I had too, and towards the end of the summer when I was trying to get back into yoga, I did have a series of family events come into play that altered a lot of the free time I would have had.  I know, I know, still not a good excuse, but it is an excuse, and I am using it based on the circumstances.  I have recognized it, and now have to move forward to achieve this goal in 2017!  I even spoke with the owner of Spirit Bear Power Yoga, Christy, in downtown Natick, and she has welcomed me to return and get back on track.  It is a wonderful quaint studio, and for me, the location is key, so NO excuses to not get back on track.  I really felt an incredible difference attending yoga once a week in regards to my posture.  Though I am not behind a computer as often as many people are with their jobs, I still spend a fair amount of time doing office work on the computer, plus bending over patients all day long.

Acupuncture…I see a wonderful practitioner, Kim Griffin, and a colleague of hers from time to time, Betty Woo, at Darcy’s Wellness Clinic, in downtown Natick as well.  Now, I haven’t completely fallen off the wagon this past year, and have probably managed to go every couple of months or so, where normally I would go monthly.  I have no excuse for this one, other than just not making the time.  I have made the time monthly for my chiropractic adjustments and massage, but not for acupuncture.  So, enough is enough, this needs to be much of a priority as anything, and I always feel so much better when I leave the clinic.

Lastly, sleep.  Ugh.  I don’t know where to begin, other then I run out of time to get everything done in a day.  I need to be better about getting more sleep, I really do, and most of us probably do.  This goal is going to have to come in baby steps I am afraid.  At least I am being honest in recognizing this, so that is half the battle I think.  I made a goal in the month of December to minimize being on my phone in bed or right before bed.  I must say, I was able to hold myself accountable most of December.  I am going to challenge myself to continue to do this throughout 2017 as well.  My other goal is to and get to bed 15 minutes or a half hour earlier then I normally do most nights.  I figure if I start small and can attain this, I can then start taking bigger strides.  Sleep really is so important, and so underestimated with everything.  From being able to focus better throughout the day, helping the body heal from injuries and sickness, I could go on and on about the importance of sleep, another time…

So, there you all have it, I guess this is a list of four goals I challenge myself to improve upon in 2017, and are all so important in regards to my overall health and wellbeing.  I challenge you all to sit down and really think about what you want your goals to be in the upcoming year.  Remember, start small and stay positive!  You can achieve anything you set your mind to (isn’t that a famous quote or something?).  Cheers to 2017!




Here we are once again battling frigid temperatures, shorter days, slippery steps and dangerous commutes.  Winter can be stressful in many ways.  Add that stress to the fact that we are all indoors more often in closer quarters, spending much less time outside in the sun breathing fresh air.  The heat inside significantly dries out our mucous membrane which in turn leaves us more susceptible for viruses and bacteria to invade us.

There is a lot of research that indicates that when we are run down, whether it is due to lack of sleep, prolonged stress, strenuous exercise or work, general fatigue , even physical pain, or any combination of the above leave us much more susceptible to catching a cold or getting ill.

What can we do? Get enough sleep, wash your hands on a regular basis, stay hydrated, use a humidifier, do a daily saline nasal rinse and take Vitamin D3.

Here is a big one: Get regular chiropractic care- I- (Please read my blog from last winter about how regular chiropractic adjustments can help boost your immune system). http://www.performancehealthcenter.com/regular-chiropractic-treatments-boost-your-immune-system-part-2/

As you might already know, before I was a Doctor of Chiropractic I was an Exercise Physiologist, coach and personal trainer so I totally believe in regular exercise as a vital part of being healthy overall, so this next one is a no brainer.

Exercise on a regular basis.  Please read my blog from last year about how exercise can boost your immune system.  http://www.performancehealthcenter.com/boost-your-immune-system-with-exercise/

Just be careful not to overdo it as past research has shown exhaustive exercise temporarily lowers your immune system, but there is recent research that indicates some simple things that you can do to help boost that lowered immune response.

Recent research indicates that taking in Carbohydrates during exercise (especially strenuous exercise) can help prevent colds.   I found this research very interesting since I like to work out hard, yet I cannot afford to get sick or I won’t be able to help my patients

This most recent article from The New York Times shows a simple step you can do when exercising that can also help prevent getting sick.


So continue to wash your hands, get enough sleep, and do all those things listed above including exercise… just remember to bring your favorite carbohydrate snack or drink with you.

If you have any questions on this Blog or your health in general, please feel free to Wcontact me at drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com



Half Full or Half Empty Matters to Your Health

How you view the world and your place in it affects the quality of your health!  Google optimism and this is how it is defined:  hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.  Do the same for pessimism and this is what you get: a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen; a lack of hope or confidence in the future

So, are you an optimist or pessimist?  Do you look for the good or the bad in people and situations?  Do you see a silver lining when things aren’t going your way? Do you see the glass as half full or half empty?

If are an optimist you are more likely to have better health, fewer colds, and a lower chance of getting cancer and heart disease.  Study after study has demonstrated that quality of your mental and physical health is better if you are an optimist.

The most recent study was published last month (12/2016) in the American Journal of Epidemiology. It showed a positive relationship between optimism and mortality in more than 70,000 women over a 6 year period.  The optimistic women in this group were 29% less likely to die of any cause!

There are several objective questionnaires that can determine if you are an optimist or pessimist.  You can find them on-line, but I think most people already know what they are.

Both in my personal and professional life I am an optimist and stay as positive as possible.  I am also a realist in that I know conditions I can treat successfully and what I can’t.  Those patients that I can’t help get referred to the correct provider.

I had a learning experience a few years ago when my optimism may have worked again me.  A patient who did not follow my treatment recommendations contacted me.  He stated when I told him he had arthritis in his spine I did not take it seriously and that is why he did not follow through with his treatment plan.  Reflecting back, I think I explained the situation correctly but took it as a learning experience.  Arthritis is degeneration of the spine.  I call it rust. It is not a normal part of aging and is caused by long term dysfunction in the spine.  It needs to be treated correctly and aggressively.  My mistake was that I told him that if we treated his arthritis and he went through my recommended treatment plan, his pain would be relieved, his function would improve and more importantly we could slow down, or even arrest the progression of his spinal arthritis. What I didn’t do, and what he needed to hear from me was that arthritis is a serious diagnosis.

Looking back, I did tell him arthritis was serious, but in a positive way.    Having spinal arthritis is not good news, but it is doesn’t mean you are doomed.  What I should have done, and do now, is tell my patients that arthritis is serious, but 30+ years of clinical experience have given me the confidence to say that if treated correctly arthritis does not have to be debilitating.   I now show before and after x-rays of patients who followed my advice and those who didn’t.  Prior patients who followed through on my recommendations had no progression in their arthritis, and those who did not and returned 5+ years later all showed a progression in their degeneration.   The patients who followed my recommendations and in spite of having arthritis are active and enjoying life!  .  It means you need to treat spinal arthritis correctly and then afterwards maintain that correction like oiling a rusty hinge, or wearing a retainer after your braces come off.

Maybe I was too positive, or maybe this patient was too pessimistic.  I don’t know.  Now I ask questions during my consultations to see if a patient leans more to being an optimist or pessimist and give my explanations accordingly.  I always discuss the seriousness of the diagnosis and offer hope with a detailed recommendation to get them out of pain and on with life.

So what are you, an optimist or pessimist?  If you want to live a long, healthy life, being an optimist improves your odds.   If you are a pessimist how do you become an optimist?

I can tell you all the things you heard before and you dismissed including: avoid other pessimists;  count your blessing; be positive; forgive others; smile more and frown less; exercise regularly; eat healthy and to stop blaming others.  Which are proven strategies to be more optimistic.

My favorite method is to write down 3 things every day that you are grateful for.  Try it!  It’s a New Year!  Start a new habit.  It can take less than a minute to do. Look at the brighter side of life! If you want to live a long healthy life, being more optimistic has been proven to make you healthier!

I wish all of my patients and friends a Healthy New Year!  At Performance Health Center we are committed to getting and keeping you healthy in a positive, supportive and caring atmosphere!

Laughter is the Best Medicine

I am writing this blog the day after Thanksgiving, and one of the things I am always most thankful for is to spend time relaxing and laughing with family and friends.  Just yesterday my daughter Emily had me laughing so hard I thought I was going to pass out, and it got me thinking how important it is to spend time with your family and friends, and how important it is to take the time to relax and just laugh.

Turns out that sharing a good laugh can actually improve your health. The act of laughing actually triggers healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, strengthen your immune system, and diminish pain. Children laugh hundreds of times a day, but as adults we tend to be more serious and laugh much more infrequently, but we can laugh more… we just need to seek out more opportunities for humor and laughter.

Watch a funny movie, TV show, or YouTube video.  Invite friends or co-workers to go to a comedy club.  Read the funny pages.  Seek out funny people.  Share a good joke or a funny story.  Regular laughter can improve your emotional health, strengthen your relationships, find greater happiness and even add years to your life.

Spending time laughing with others on a regular basis is a great way to combat stress, anxiety, pain, and conflict. Humor connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you to release anger and be more forgiving.

Here are some of the benefits I was just reading about and wanted to share:

Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load. Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations without holding onto bitterness or resentment.

Laughter may even help you to live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don’t laugh as much. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer.

Laughter makes you feel good. And the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter subsides. Humor helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss.

Laughter is a natural part of life that is innate and we are born with. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born. Even if you did not grow up in a household where laughter was a common sound, you can learn to laugh at any stage of life.

Begin by setting aside special times to seek out humor and laughter, as you might with working out, and build from there. Eventually, you’ll want to incorporate humor and laughter into the fabric of your life, finding it naturally in everything you do.

Here are some ways to start:

Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter and like laughter, it’s contagious. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling. Instead of looking down at your phone, look up and smile at people you pass in the street, the person serving you a morning coffee, or the co-workers you share an elevator with. Notice the effect this has on others.

Count your blessings. Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter.

When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s so funny?”

Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily both at themselves and at life’s absurdities and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious. Even if you don’t consider yourself a lighthearted, humorous person, you can still seek out people who like to laugh and make others laugh. Every comedian appreciates an audience.

Laugh loudly, laugh often, and most important laugh at yourself.

If you have any questions about this blog or your health in general or would just like to hear a funny story, you can reach me at: drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com