Zinc, It’s Not Just about Vitamin C Anymore…

With school just around the corner, so are all the GERMS that come with this time of year.  Fun times!  Generally speaking, most people reach for the bottle of Vitamin C if they feel a cold coming on this time of year, or to prepare in the event of a possible cold.  I am not saying that Vitamin C isn’t effective (as I do take it daily), but more and more studies are showing that Zinc has some very beneficial qualities when it comes to dealing with the common cold, also known as the rhinovirus.

Without going into great detail, and pulling multiple research studies at this time, some studies are showing that Vitamin C does not actually do much to prevent the common cold.  Sorry Airborne L.  Zinc, being the mineral that it is, seems to somehow interfere with the replication of the rhinovirus. Zinc influences the immune system in a few different ways.  Zinc helps the immune system recruit white blood cells for proper and better immune system function, helps reduce systematic inflammation in the body, and is also an antioxidant – not too shabby Mr. Zinc J.  Some studies that have also been done in the past few years have shown that people who started taking zinc after recently getting sick, had less severe symptoms from the cold, and the duration of the cold was not as long either.

Zinc is what they call a “trace element”.  The cells of our immune system rely on Zinc to function. If one is getting enough zinc into their diet, the T-cells and other immune cells in our bodies can be greatly affected.  Based on what Harvard Medical Researchers say, the suggested daily amount of Zinc is 15-25mg.  Taking in an excessive amount of this supplement can actually cause a reverse reaction on the body, and is usually best to follow the recommended daily amount, or the amount prescribed by your physician.

If you are a person interested in getting more Zinc into your diet naturally, chickpeas, kidney beans, mushrooms, crab and chicken, are all good sources of food where Zinc can be found.  Lozenges like Cold-Ez or syrups containing Zinc, can also help aid in support when you are not feeling well.  If you are a person who would prefer to supplement, or your doctor has told you to do so, Metagenics ( www.metagenics.com ) has a supplement called, Zinc A.G.  Zinc A.G. is a special formula with enhanced absorption to help better address zinc repletion in the body.  This is the brand I use, and that we carry or you can order at or through our office.  I do not necessarily take Zinc all year around, but I do use it through out certain parts of the year to help fight off pesky germs, and when I may be training at a higher intensity for something if needed.  I do not find that Zinc really has any bad side effects either, other than it doesn’t smell the greatest, and sometimes people complain of nausea.  If I don’t take my supplements with some type of food or little snack, I can become nauseous regardless of what supplement it is.  If you have any questions regarding Zinc or other supplements, please feel free to email me anytime at: drv@performancehealthcenter.com.  Happy Back to School everyone, and so not ready for the summer to come to an end!

 

 

Tips to Relieve Back Pain

Your first step should be to seek out professional help.  Whether you see your PCP, a Physical Therapist, an Orthopedic Physician, or a Chiropractic Physician, start by finding a professional trained to diagnose and treat back pain.  There are a multitude of factors that can cause back pain, and getting the proper diagnosis is the best place to start.  If you are looking for a non-invasive non-pharmacologic option, Chiropractic has shown in many studies to be statistically the best choice.

 

“Patients with chronic low-back pain treated by chiropractors showed greater improvement and satisfaction at one month than patients treated by family physicians. Satisfaction scores were higher for chiropractic patients. A higher proportion of chiropractic patients (56 percent vs. 13 percent) reported that their low-back pain was better or much better, whereas nearly one-third of medical patients reported their low-back pain was worse or much worse.”       

Nyiendo et al (2000), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics

 

Keep moving.  Many PCP’s and Orthopedic Physicians recommend bed rest, but this can often make things worse.  We say every day to our patients, “Life is motion”.  We are designed to move each and every day.  Many of our patients tell us the prolonged sitting or standing they do is often their biggest contributor to their chronic back pain.  Let pain be your guide, any movement or motion that does not make your condition worse will usually help it get better sooner.  We find many times the cuase of the back pain are fixated vertebrae- that is they are not moving properly. These “fixations” can be caused by a multitude of factors, i.e. physical or emotional stress, some sort of trauma, poor posture, or even a poor diet can contribute to these vertebral “fixations”, which we refer to as “subluxations”.  Chiropractors are the only specialists that are trained specifically to locate and correct these vertebral subluxations.

If your chronic pain is related to emotional or work-related stress, try some relaxation techniques to help reduce muscle tension.  If your job or lifestyle requires lots of physical stress, make sure to use good posture and be sure to take stretch breaks often.

Exercise regularly- this helps in many ways: gets your spine moving; reduces stress; increases blood flow; and helps strengthen the muscles that support your spine.  What exercises are best for your back?  Well that may be different for each of us, but first find something you can currently do without pain, and make sure it is something you enjoy as you will be much more likely to stick with it.  My people find Yoga and/or swimming to help their chronic back pain, but as I mentioned earlier find what works best for you.  Make sure to warm up properly: including some foam rolling, then be sure to maintain good posture throughout your exercise, and be sure to stretch when you are done.

Get enough rest.  Make sure you have a good mattress to sleep on, and beware of your sleeping “posture” as well.  Avoid sleeping on your stomach as that can cause the neck and head to twist and put stress on your spine.  If you sleep on your back consider putting a pillow under your knees, and if you sleep on your side consider putting a pillow between your knees.

These are just a few more “tips” to help you improve your back pain.  If you have any questions about this Blog or about your health in general, please feel free to contact me at: drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com

 

 

 

It’s Summer and I’m Back on the Courts!

For several months in a row last spring I wrote about my experiences post-knee surgery and the grueling rehab process I was going through.  It’s hard to believe that is now 15 months post-surgery.  The good news is that I am back doing all the activities I was able to do prior to my ACL tear and surgical replacement!

I’ve never had a serious injury before and never had to be a committed and compliant patient.  I worked hard and followed the advice of the skilled professional that I put my trust in.  I was able to ski by mid- winter and since the spring have been playing tennis several times a week.  My knee is strong and pain-free.  I have no limitations.  At times I do get swelling, but regular icing keeps it to a minimum (and feels good on these hot summer days we are experiencing).  I know I am not 100% rehabbed, but am getting closer every day!

This has been a learning experience on many levels.  Most importantly, I have a much better appreciation for the trust and confidence my patients put in me.  It is not easy being compliant with appointments and the homework I prescribe to get out of pain and optimizing function.  Between family and work responsibilities we all have busy lives.  Squeezing in one more appointment is not always easy.  I always remind my patients that it is not easy and there is never the right time to do this, but if they do the work now, they will be glad they did short term, and more importantly long term.

George Burns when he turned 90 said, “If I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself”.  I want all my patients to say when they turn 90, “I knew I was going to live this long so I took great care of myself”.   Of course there are bumps in the road, like my knee injury, and when that happens extra care is needed.  That’s how I live my life and I hope I inspire my patients to do the same.

Now that the hard part of my rehab is over, I will continue with my “extra” exercises to make sure my knee serves me well for the many years I plan to work as a chiropractor and play hard.  Many thanks go to my team of professionals who helped me get to this place.  Dr. Brian McKeon has been my go to orthopedist for 14+ years.  I’ve always told my patients when I made a referral, if it was me, Dr. McKeon is who I would go to.  When it was me that is exactly what I did.  Steve Crowell and his amazing team of physical therapists at Rebound Physical Therapy got me moving.  Rebound Physical Therapy is my “outsourced” physical therapy department and they always make me look good when I refer my patients there.  Drs. VanNederynen and Ball, were instrumental in keeping me functional and relieved the physical stress I was putting on my body from walking funny- 1st with crutches, then with my brace, and then from limp that lasted longer than I expected.  Bernadette, Performance Health Center’s amazing massage therapist accelerated my healing with incredible massages and cupping.  Lastly, Anita Luck, my Functional Movement Therapist, has taught me how to use my body in 3-D so my body can handle the demands I put on it, even when the unexpected happens.

I have and will continue to refer my patients to these exceptional providers I have now experienced firsthand, and have even more confidence in them than ever.

I hope you all have an enjoyable, safe and healthy summer!  Now get out there and have fun!

Brad Weiss, D.C.

drbradweiss@performancehealthcenter.com

It’s Summer and I’m Back on the Courts!

For several months in a row last spring I wrote about my experiences post-knee surgery and the grueling rehab process I was going through.  It’s hard to believe that is now over one year post-surgery.  The good news is that I am back doing all the activities I was able to do prior to my ACL tear and surgical replacement!

I’ve never had a serious injury before and never had to be a committed and compliant patient.  I worked hard and followed the advice of the skilled professional that I put my trust in.  I was able to ski by mid- winter and since the spring have been playing tennis several times a week.  My knee is strong and pain-free.  I have no limitations.  At times I do get swelling, but regular icing keeps it to a minimum (and feels good on these hot summer days we are experiencing).  I know I am not 100% rehabbed, but am getting closer every day!

This has been a learning experience on many levels.  Most importantly, I have a much better appreciation for the trust and confidence my patients put in me.  It is not easy being compliant with appointments and the homework I prescribe to get out of pain and optimizing function.  Between family and work responsibilities we all have busy lives.  Squeezing in one more appointment is not always easy.  I always remind my patients that it is not easy and there is never the right time to do this, but if they do the work now, they will be glad they did short term, and more importantly long term.

George Burns when he turned 90 said, “If I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself”.  I want all my patients to say when they turn 90, “I knew I was going to live this long so I took great care of myself”.   Of course there are bumps in the road, like my knee injury, and when that happens extra care is needed.  That’s how I live my life and I hope I inspire my patients to do the same.

Now that the hard part of my rehab is over, I will continue with my “extra” exercises to make sure my knee serves me well for the many years I plan to work as a chiropractor and play hard.  Many thanks go to my team of professionals who helped me get to this place.  Dr. Brian McKeon has been my go to orthopedist for 14+ years.  I’ve always told my patients when I made a referral, if it was me, Dr. McKeon is who I would go to.  When it was me that is exactly what I did.  Steve Crowell and his amazing team of physical therapists at Rebound Physical Therapy got me moving.  Rebound Physical Therapy is my “outsourced” physical therapy department and they always make me look good when I refer my patients there.  Drs. VanNederynen and Ball, were instrumental in keeping me functional and relieved the physical stress I was putting on my body from walking funny- 1st with crutches, then with my brace, and then from limp that lasted longer than I expected.  Bernadette, Performance Health Center’s amazing massage therapist accelerated my healing with incredible massages and cupping.  Lastly, Anita Luck, my Functional Movement Therapist, has taught me how to use my body in 3-D so my body can handle the demands I put on it, even when the unexpected happens.

I have and will continue to refer my patients to these exceptional providers I have now experienced firsthand, and have even more confidence in them than ever.

I hope you all have an enjoyable, safe and healthy summer!  Now get out there and have fun!

Brad Weiss, D.C.

drbradweiss@performancehealthcenter.com

 

 

Slow Rise Bread, Easier to Digest

If you are like Millions of Americans that are avoiding eating bread for one reason or another, maybe after reading this blog you might give bread a second chance.  I think most people love bread in one form or another, yet the current media perception is that most people should not include it in their diet.  I personally ate tons of bread in the form of bagels, muffins, pasta, etc… growing up with no ill effects.  As I got older I started to notice that many forms of “bread” caused me to feel really bloated.  Many people develop gluten intolerance as they get older and that could be what my problem was.

In March,2017 I wrote a blog about including fermented food in your diet: http://www.performancehealthcenter.com/time-get-pickled/

Recently a good friend of mine suggested I try some “slow rise” bread.  He told me that it was much easier for him to digest.  I have now become a happy bread eater again. This time I’m sticking to bread that has been made the “old fashioned” way.  This “old way” actually allows the bread to ferment some, which for many people makes all the difference in the world as to how their body digests it.

This article below explains some of the health benefits of eating slow rise bread.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/aug/12/rise-sourdough-bread-slow-fermented-health-benefits

In the long slow fermentation that produces sourdough bread, important nutrients such as iron, zinc and magnesium, antioxidants, folic acid and other B vitamins become easier for our bodies to absorb. Diabetics should note that sourdough produces a lower surge in blood sugar than any other bread: in a 2008 study published in Acta Diabetologica, subjects with impaired glucose tolerance were fed either sourdough or ordinary bread: the sourdough bread produced a significantly lower glucose and insulin response. In the sourdough process, moreover, gluten is broken down and rendered virtually harmless. In one small Italian study, published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, in January 2011, coeliac patients fed sourdough bread for 60 days had no clinical complaints, and their biopsies showed no changes in the intestinal lining.

And what’s beyond doubt is that when people switch from supermarket to sourdough bread, they’re often delighted to find they can eat it without bloated belly discomfort. “We get people coming in who say ‘we can eat your bread without any problem unlike ordinary bread which just blows us up”, says Alastair Ferguson, of Brighton’s Real Patisserie, who sells his own sourdough all over the city.

You may ask why isn’t all bread made this way?  The answer is in the word “slow”, slow rise bread takes longer to make. In our fast-paced world… who has time to wait for bread to rise all night? That is where quick-acting yeast came in – oh yes, the big companies are always looking for short cuts. Mass production is more important to them than how your belly feels after eating their bread. They can make a lot more bread in the same amount of time, and sell it cheaper- since it is less labor intensive.

Personally, I think it is worth a few more pennies to eat something that I can digest more easily, and I also think it tastes better.  Where can you get some?  Well, there is a terrific bakery in West Concord Massachusetts called Nashoba Brook Bakery on the shores of the Nashoba Brook.  Don’t want to drive out there?  Well, Whole Foods in Framingham sells Nashoba Brook Bakery slow rise bread. Just look for it adjacent to the instore bakery.

Here is a link to Nashoba Brook Bakery’s web site:  http://slowrise.com/

Give it a try, you might be pleasantly surprised at how good it tastes, and more importantly, how good you feel after eating it.

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

 

Happy Marathon-ing Boston Runners!

It is that time of year!  Spring is in the air… Easter, Passover, April Vacation, and of course, the Boston Marathon are all too quickly approaching.  Woo-Hoo!!!

I wouldn’t be doing my job as a Chiropractor if I didn’t write something this month in regards to the marathon, and offering advice to my patients and friends how they can better take care of themselves during this exciting time of year.

In previous years I have chatted about how runners can be more proactive and take care better care of themselves leading up to the marathon. I want to switch gears and talk a little more about recovery and what runners can do “post-marathon” to help speed up their recovery and get back on the road to training afterwards.  There are so many words of advice, tips, recommendations etc., I am going to just focus on a couple of things that I find to be VERY true and that have worked for me in the past.

Usually the biggest or most commonly asked question by a runner is, “How long should I wait to run again after the marathon?”   Well this was one of the questions I did ask after my first marathon in 2008, it certainly wasn’t the first question I asked.  I am not sure about all of you, but I wasn’t sure I would run again after getting through all of that for the first time, and having no clue what I was doing, lol.  But, for all of those who are inquiring, general rule of thumb seems to be 1-2 weeks depending on how one feels.

Many articles say 5-7 days of rest post marathon, which I am totally fine with. BUT, those articles that people fail to read the entirety of, also state that after 5-7 days off, the next few weeks after that initial week should be taken lightly with training as the body is trying to recover.  Usually within 3-4 weeks a runner can return to regular training, or harder workouts, providing there are no subsequent injuries those runners is dealing with from before the marathon, or an injury resulting from the marathon.

Another hot topic, or should I say “cool” topic, are ice baths for recovery post marathon.  Most runners inquire about the effectiveness of ice baths and when or how long to soak in the tub of ice for.  The general idea in regards to this type of cryotherapy treatment is that the exposure to cold helps the body fight the micro trauma (tiny little tears) in the muscle fibers causing soreness by the repetitive exercise that just took place.  Constricting the blood vessels for a short period of time can help to flush toxins released by the body during the event, and intern, help to decrease or reduce inflammation, swelling, and breakdown of tissue in the body.

Some post-race and post-competition festivities have ice baths at the finish waiting for the competitors after they have cooled down a bit.  If that isn’t all that enticing to you, upon returning home or back to your hotel that day, and before you hop into the shower would be a good time to do so.  I recommend getting into the tub and filling it with cold water around you first (up to your waste), and then dumping the bags of ice into the water after you are submerged.  Or just hop in the tub in your race shorts, and sports bra ladies, and let someone else have the pleasure of dumping the ice in all around you.  It is best to stay submerged in the ice bath for about 10 minutes.  More time is not necessary, and I am sure no one will be jumping at the idea of soaking in a bath of ice any longer then they have to.

I really hope these tips helps you all in your road to recovery post Boston Marathon this year.  If you have any questions about post marathon recovery, please feel free and contact me at drv@performancehealthcenter.com.  And as always, I am a big fan of a post marathon chiropractic adjustment and ART to help realign your body, and a post-race massage within a few days’ post-marathon.  Happy Marathon-ing everyone, think positive thoughts to carry you through that day, and I will be there with you all in spirit!

New Study- Placebo as Good as Meds for Back Pain

Two important studies were published in February 2017 for the treatment of back pain.

The 1st was published on-line (e-publish ahead of print) in the Annals of Rheumatoid Disease.  The 2nd was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. 

For years I have advised my patients that pain medicine mask symptoms and have side effects.  What I should have advised my patients is that they would have had a similar benefit if they took a placebo instead of medication.  The 1st study was a meta-analysis of 35 studies comparing NSAIDs to placebo for pain and disability from spinal pain.  The findings conclude that, “NSAIDs reduced pain and disability, but provided clinically unimportant effects over placebo”.   In addition, “NSAIDs were associated with a higher number of patients reporting gastrointestinal adverse effects in the short-term follow-up.”  This study also looked at other recent studies looking at the clinical value of paracetamol (Tylenol) and opioids for treating spinal pain.  The study conclusion states, “it is now clear that the three most widely used, and guideline-recommended medicines for spinal pain do not provide clinically important effects over placebo.”

The 2nd study updated the clinical practice guidelines for low back pain from the American College of Physicians (ACP).  It recommends spinal manipulation and other non-invasive non-drug therapies, including massage and acupuncture, as a first option for treating acute, subacute and chronic low back pain rather than medication!

So, how long will it take mainstream medicine to adapt these new ACP guidelines for treating low back pain?  How long will it take mainstream medicine to tell their patients that pain meds are as good as placebo for spinal pain?  In the 33 years I have been in practice it hasn’t happened yet, even with multiple valid studies documenting the benefits of chiropractic care in relieving pain and optimizing function.

The good news is that there are a handful of MDs who refer their patients to Performance Health Center.  Unfortunately this still tends to be the exception.  It still amazes me how many new patients tell me during their initial consultation that their MD said they would have to live with the pain.  Part of the problem is that MDs don’t learn about chiropractic health care, or other alternatives to drugs and surgery, during their training.  I know this first hand.  For 8 years, (4 in Vermont and 4 in Massachusetts), Family Practice Residents spent a one day rotation in my office.    I would always ask these residents three questions when I first met them:

1-In all you years in medical school and residency what did you learn                          about chiropractic health care?    Nothing

2-In all you years in medical school and residency what did you learn                          about the musculoskeletal system?   Very little

3-How many vertebrae are in the spine?   Only 1 resident in 8 years knew                     the answer is 24.

After spending one day observing me most of these residents were impressed on the variety of conditions chiropractors treat in our offices every day, and patient satisfaction with their care and results.  If every family practice and internal medicine resident could have the same experience there would be a lot less medicine prescribed for pain and less people suffering with spinal pain.

So what is the moral of this?  Next time your PCP prescribes pain meds for your spinal pain, you’d be better off popping a sugar pill, and making an appointment with your favorite chiropractor at Performance Health Center!  For more information about how to get out of pain without drugs or surgery please call 508-655-9008, or email me at drbradweiss@performancehealthcenter.com

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.

http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/gut-health-and-the-benefits-of-traditional-fermented-foods/

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.

https://wellnessmama.com/2245/health-benefits-fermented-foods/

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:

https://draxe.com/fermented-foods/

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

 

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:

drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com