New Study Confirms Chiropractic Reduces Opioid Use

Opioid addiction and death is still out of control.  New guidelines and regulations are reducing the number prescriptions for opioid medications.  The death rate for opioid deaths dropped 4% in 2018 relative to 2017, but it was still close to 2000 in Massachusetts alone.

It’s crazy.  The US makes of 5% of the world’s population and consumes approximately 80% of prescribed pain medication.  Is it because culturally we can’t live with pain?  Or is the medical community only masking symptoms, not getting to the cause of the pain contributing to pain medication abuse and addiction?

Another fact- According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse nearly 80% of heroin users started with prescription opioids.

We can and should talk about causes of pain in the US.  We are meant to move, but we don’t.  Many of us sit all day at work, then go home and watch TV and go on our computers.   According a paper published in April 2019 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)  the average amount of TV/video viewing time averages 2 hours a day and outside-of-work computer time increased by over an hour.  Total sitting time on a daily basis continues to increase.

“Sitting is the new smoking” now goes the mantra.  Sitting has been attributed to increased musculoskeletal pain in addition to increased risk of multiple diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer.   A recent study suggests it takes 1 hour of exercise on a daily basis to counteract the detrimental effects of sitting 8 hours.  Not enough of you reading this exercise one hour a day.  One solution is Active Sitting, and there is only one chair that can do that.  (Read More about Active Sitting)

Yes there are traumatic causes of pain including car accidents and injuries, and probably more commonly repetitive stress. The key to correct treatment is a detailed history and examination.  The majority of neck or back pain in the medical literature is labeled as “non-specific”. That means there is no obvious cause.  It is not caused by an apparent pathology or disc lesion.  From 34 years of clinical experience it is my opinion that these “non-specific” causes of pain are in fact caused by dysfunction in the mechanical movement of the body.  The spinal column is made up of 24 vertebrae, over 125 moveable joints, ligaments that hold them together and muscles that move them.  That doesn’t include the spinal cord which runs through it with a pair of spinal nerves exiting through small holes on either side of the spine (33 pair of spinal nerves in total).  Abnormal movement or restriction in any of these structures can cause pain.

A functional exam can usually uncover the cause of pain caused by dysfunction.  If the pain is more pathological of course imaging and referral is in the best interest of the patient. If the pain is functional than chiropractic care treats the symptoms and offer pain relief, but more importantly works to correct the cause.

Medications whether NSAIDs or opioids which are prescribed for pain relief only mask symptoms.  The goal of chiropractic care is correct the cause and advice patients on how to improve their lifestyle and ergonomics so they don’t keep hurting themselves.

At the American Association of Pain Management’s Annual Meeting in March 2019, a study from Yale University was presented titled, “Is the Use of Chiropractic Care Associated with the Receipt of Opioid Prescriptions?  A Systematic Review”.  This was a Meta-analysis with a 95% confidence interval.  The results found that 49% of chiropractic patients were less likely to receive an opioid prescription than those who went the medical route for pain.  That is a huge difference.

One solution is for primary care doctors to refer to chiropractors before prescribing opioids or any medications for musculoskeletal pain.  That is not just my opinion.  Another JAMA study from May 2018 found that patients who had “usual medical care” plus chiropractic care felt better faster, with less medications and greater satisfaction than those with just “usual medical care” alone.  In this study the patients with “plus chiropractic are” were referred by their PCP to a chiropractor. (read more about this study)

The key to preventing opioid deaths is to stop the prescription of pain medications.  An excellent start is to refer musculoskeletal pain patients for chiropractic care as the first treatment.  The research has been done repeatedly in some of the most respected medical journals in the world.  Why aren’t medical physician groups encouraging treatments that are more effective and safer than medication?  Why aren’t insurance companies encouraging a greater use of chiropractic care?  I don’t have the answer.  They should!  There is a cost savings as well as faster outcomes in pain relief, without the dangerous side-effects of medications and addiction.  With this information please make sure you and your loved ones make better choices when it comes to pain relief.

If you have any questions, please email me at drbradweiss@performancehealthcenter.com

Quick Spring Gardening Tips

Month 2 at Performance Health Center! I am loving my work here. Treating patients every day and watching their pain levels decrease and their functional ability increase, is an amazing thing to be a part of.
Spring is finally here! This month I want to talk about outdoor chores. I have already had so many back pain complaints from people working hard outside for hours doing chores such as gardening, raking, lawn mowing etc.
Quick tips from your chiropractor for all your outdoor chores:
#1: STRETCH FIRST. Stretching prevents injury. Think “long and strong.” Long muscles are strong muscles. Short/tight muscles are weak, and vulnerable to rips and tears. Stretch for at least 5 minutes, ideally 10 before physical work.
#2: Have a seat! Winston Churchill said “Why stand when you can sit?” Bending over puts ½ your body weight on your low back, that’s 100lbs for the average person. Sit on a low stool for ground level activities. Have your legs and hips open, and knees and feet turned out, away from your body. Then lean forward and work between your knees. In this position, always support your upper body weight with your elbows on your knees.
#3: Knee pads! A pillow, blanket, something thick/foam-like material if you are working on your knees for long periods. Example, tending your garden.
#4: Switch sides! Don’t rake your entire lawn on your dominant side. If you start on your right side, switch to the left in 5 min, then switch back. This will balance out the physical demand you are putting on your body.
#5: PUSH don’t pull. We are strongest when we get behind something and push it forward. We are vulnerable when we pull something heavy. Pulling puts excessive strain on your back, neck and shoulders, your body has to fight to keep something from slipping or tearing. When mowing your lawn for example, or anything that involves moving a heavy object across the ground/floor, please always PUSH!

From all of us at Performance Health Center, have a great Spring! See you next month!

For more info contact me at: drel@performancehealthcenter.com

 

May Flowers and UV Rays

Happy May!  We are just finishing an unusually wet April here in New England, as I write this on April 29th we have had 20 days of at least some rain in the 29 days of April so far.  Well… get ready for a little sun!  They say April showers bring May flowers, and I believe that we will see a lot more of the sun for sure in May.  This is the time of year that we really start spending more time in the sun, and with that we are exposed to more ultra violet radiation. We really should be using some form of protection from the sun all year long, but especially starting now and through the summer as the days are getting longer and warmer and we are spending more time outside.

The President of The Skin Cancer Foundation Dr. Perry Robins warns us… “It’s not just the sunburns that usually occur during the summer or on summer vacations that are associated with skin cancer, it is all of your lifetime sun exposure that adds to your risk of skin cancer.”

Remember that clouds filter out the light from the sun, but not the UV rays from the sun. Ultraviolet A and B (UVA and UVB) light are the cancer causing wavelengths. UVA is present year round, at all times of day, and is unaffected by a cloudy day.

UVA:

Most of us are exposed to large amounts of UVA throughout our lifetime. UVA rays account for up to 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. Although they are less intense than UVB, UVA rays are 30 to 50 times more prevalent. They are present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and glass.

UVA, which penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB, has long been known to play a major part in skin aging and wrinkling (photo aging), but until recently scientists believed it did not cause significant damage in areas of the epidermis (outermost skin layer) where most skin cancers occur. Studies over the past two decades, however, show that UVA damages skin cells called keratinocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis, where most skin cancers occur. (Basal and squamous cells are types of keratinocytes.) UVA contributes to and may even initiate the development of skin cancers.

UVA is the dominant tanning ray, and we now know that tanning, whether outdoors or in a salon, cause cumulative damage over time. A tan results from injury to the skin’s DNA; the skin darkens in an imperfect attempt to prevent further DNA damage. These imperfections, or mutations, can lead to skin cancer.

Tanning booths primarily emit UVA. The high-pressure sunlamps used in tanning salons emit doses of UVA as much as 12 times that of the sun. Not surprisingly, people who use tanning salons are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. According to recent research, first exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by 75 percent.

UVB:

UVB, the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn, tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer and a contributory role in tanning and photo aging. Its intensity varies by season, location, and time of day. The most significant amount of UVB hits the U.S. between 10 AM and 4 PM from April to October. However, UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice, which bounce back up to 80 percent of the rays so that they hit the skin twice. UVB rays do not significantly penetrate glass.

Preventative Measures:

Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.

Do not burn.  Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths. Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.

For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply 1 ounce of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours, or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.  Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months. Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.  See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

I definitely recommend that you do get outside and enjoy the great spring weather New England has to offer, just do not forget to use your sunscreen.

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

When the Best Treatment is NO Treatment

By Dr. Leslie El-Turkmani

I am so excited to be here at Performance Health Center! I’ve met so many nice people, and have already seen some amazing things.  Last week for example……I saw a patient with severe symptoms, crying in pain during the consultation, and could barely get through the physical exam. I knew something more serious was happening.  I told her to come back tomorrow with the MRI of her spine she had taken 1 year ago. The next day she came back, her MRI revealed a “Chiari Malformation.” A congenital condition where the bottom of the brain pushes down the spinal canal at the base of the skull. I knew she needed a neurological consultation right away.

I called our “go to” neurosurgeon, Dr. Krishna Nirmel and got her a priority appointment in 4 days. She should have seen a neurosurgeon at the time of diagnosis, as this condition should be monitored for life. Unfortunately, I had to refuse to treat her. Manipulation could be a contraindication to care. The good news is I may have saved her life or more serious complications from happening by referring her.

At Performance Health Center, we do a detailed consultation, and a thorough physical, orthopedic and  neurological examination on every patient we see. From the examination and my professional training from New York Chiropractic College, I was confident in my diagnosis. Sometimes the greatest treatment you make is to not treat. And you have to know the difference, and when.

“Arnold-Chiari malformation” (CM-1) is caused by the “cerebellum” dropping down the “foramen magnum.” Named after German pathologists, Hans Chiari and Julius Arnold. The cerebellum, Latin for “little brain” is responsible for balance and motor control. The foramen magnum, Latin for “the great opening” is located at the base of the skull, about the size of a quarter with an oval shape. It allows passage of the brain stem and major arteries from brain to body, and vice versa. This herniation of the cerebellum down the foramen magnum is measured in millimeters. It can continue to drop further down over the years. This can lead to poor circulation due to unwanted pressure, and this pressure on the cerebellum can lead to issues with balance, dizziness, headaches, nausea, blurred vision, neck pain, and even atrophy of the structures.

The exact cause of CM-1 is unknown. It is a “malformation” because the individual is usually born with it. It can be symptomatic with signs like what my patient had, or asymptomatic for the individual’s entire life, depending on severity. It is fairly common, every 1:1000 births. It is more common in females. It is best diagnosed by MRI.

Take home message to my patients…pain is not a lifestyle! Nobody likes going to the doctor, but at least when you go see the chiropractor, you’re getting looked at nose to toes, inside and out to find the root of the problem

For more information, or to make an appointment call 508-655-9008.  If you have any questions please email me at DrEl@PerformanceHealthCenter.com

 

 

Spring Time = Tick Time

April is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy this great weather.  This Blog is directed for those of you who like to run, walk or cycle the trails.  I thought this would be a good time to post a Blog on how best to Prevent Lyme disease.  I am amazed at the number of patients that I have encountered who either currently have or that have previously had Lyme disease.  This is something you really do not want to ever get.  If caught early- it can be treated easily, but if not diagnosed right away you may end up with “late stage Lyme Disease” which is very difficult to treat.  I believe your best course of action is in Prevention.  Most of the following information here was written by the CDC (Center of Disease Control and Prevention).  Before gardening, camping, hiking, or just playing outdoors, make preventing tick bites part of your plans.

Lyme disease is spread by the bite of an infected tick. In the United States, an estimated 300,000 infections occur each year. If you camp, hike, work, or play in wooded or grassy places, you could be bitten by an infected tick.

People living in or visiting New England, the mid-Atlantic states, and the upper Midwest are at greatest risk. But you and your family can prevent tick bites and reduce your risk of Lyme disease.

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM TICK BITES

Know where to expect ticks. Blacklegged ticks (the ticks that cause Lyme disease) live in moist and humid environments, particularly in and near wooded or grassy areas. You may get a tick on you during outdoor activities around your home or when walking through leaves and bushes. To avoid ticks, walk in the center of trails and avoid walking through tall bushes or other vegetation.

Use a repellent with DEET (on skin or clothing) or permethrin (on clothing and gear). Repellents containing 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can be applied to the skin and can protect up to several hours. Always follow product instructions! Parents should apply repellents to their children. Do not get repellent on children’s hands or in their eyes or mouth. Products that contain permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing, and camping gear. Treated items can stay protected through several washings.  Shower shortly after coming inside.

Perform Daily Tick Checks

Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Search your entire body for ticks when you return from an area that may have ticks. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body and remove any tick you find.  Take special care to check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:

  • Under the arms
  • In and around the ears
  • Inside the belly button
  • Back of the knees
  • In and around all head and body hair
  • Between the legs
  • Around the waist

Check your clothing and pets for ticks because they may carry ticks into the house. Check clothes and pets carefully and remove any ticks that are found. Place clothes into a dryer on high heat to kill ticks.

REMOVE ATTACHED TICKS QUICKLY AND CORRECTLY

Remove an attached tick with fine-tipped tweezers as soon as you notice it. If a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, your chance of getting Lyme disease is extremely small; however, other diseases may be transmitted more quickly.

Over the next few weeks, watch for signs or symptoms of Lyme disease such as rash or fever. See a healthcare provider if you have signs or symptoms.

BE ALERT FOR FEVER OR RASH

Even if you don’t remember being bitten by a tick, an unexpected summer fever or odd rash may be the first signs of Lyme disease, particularly if you’ve been in tick habitat. See your healthcare provider if you have symptoms.

PREVENT TICKS ON ANIMALS

Prevent family pets from bringing ticks into the home by limiting their access to tick-infested areas and by using veterinarian-prescribed tick collars or spot-on treatment.

CREATE TICK-SAFE ZONES IN YOUR YARD

It’s pretty simple. Keep patios, play areas, and playground equipment away from shrubs, bushes, and other vegetation. Regularly remove leaves, clear tall grasses and brush around your home, and place wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to keep ticks away from recreational areas (and away from you).

  • Use a chemical control agent. Effective tick control chemicals are available for homeowners to use, or a professional pest control expert can apply them.
  • Discourage deer. Deer are the main food source of adult ticks. Keep deer away from your home by removing plants that attract deer and by constructing barriers (like a fence) to discourage deer from entering your yard and bringing ticks with them. ​

I definitely want you to continue to lead the active healthy lifestyle that you want, and enjoying the outdoors is a great way to do so, just please be aware of the potential hazards of tick-borne illnesses, and please follow these guidelines to help prevent you or anyone you love from Lyme Disease or any other potential tick-borne illness.

If you have any questions about this Blog or your health in general, please feel free to contact me at: drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com or by phone at: (508) 655-9008.

What is the Difference Between 50 degrees in the fall and 50 degrees in the spring?

Question: What is the difference between 50 degrees in the fall and 50 degrees in the spring?

Answer: In the spring 50 degrees feels warm!

This last weekend was the first “nice” weekend of spring!  When I went out to get the morning paper the birds were singing and overnight flowers had bloomed in my garden, including crocus, bluets and periwinkle.  After breakfast I went for my first mountain bike ride of the season.  There were many other bikers and trail runners out.  I rode by a baseball game- must have been opening day!  As I passed a playground it was full of parents with little kids playing on the swings and slides.  Heading home the landscapers were doing spring clean-ups and spreading mulch.

I love this time of year! For many after a sedentary winter the weather gets warmer and we into activity.  Spring sports are starting for our youth athletes, we itch to get our gardens back in shape, we tune up our bikes and spring into action.

Many of us spring into action too fast and furiously and pay the price in pain. Monday mornings after weekends like this our phone rings off the hook with people who hurt themselves.  We get the traumatic injuries, but more commonly it is caused by overuse.  “Spring cleaning” the garden, playing catch with our kids for hours,  running a little more than their bodies are ready for, or hitting the gym too hard trying to get into bathing suite shape.   Whatever the cause of that flair-up, it is almost always caused by doing too much too fast.  One of the 1st questions I ask in a treatment room is, “did you stretch first”?  The answer is universally no.

I hope you are not one of those Monday morning phone calls looking for emergency pain relief.  If you are know that we are here and ready to help you.  We have a long stretch of nice weather heading our way leading into summer which I want you to enjoy.  No one want to be sidelined from an injury that you could have prevented.

Please remember to pace yourself.  Stretch before and after activity.  If you get injured, before calling the office start with home care.  This leads to the age old debate of whether to ice or heat.   I’m a big fan of ice.  You can’t have pain without inflammation and ice is the best, safest and most localized anti-inflammatory.  The only time I recommend heat is if you wake up the next morning and you feel sore like you haven’t used muscles in a while.  If there is pain at a joint or along your spine then ice is probably the best therapy.  The best way to ice in the first 24 hours after injury is 15 minutes on, wait 15 minutes then repeat.  After 24 hours you should  ice for 20 minutes than wait an hour before repeating.   Whether you ice or heat it should be moist otherwise you can freeze or burn the skin.  I like to dampen a paper towel then squeeze all the water out. This is damp enough for the ice or heat to penetrate, but doesn’t make a wet mess.

Spring is also a great time to do a spring tune-up to your spine.  Your spine is made up of 24 vertebrae and has over 120 joints. It is the chassis for your torso and also houses and protects your spinal cord.  My job as a chiropractor is to make sure these joints are moving correctly and to make sure the muscles that move the spine and support your posture are balanced and functioning properly.  At Performance Health Center we take care of your spine and all the joints of your body.  Before you spring into spring activities, now is a great time for a body tune-up.

To see if your body is ready for the spring, or to get that spinal-tune-up that maybe overdue, please call the office at 508-655-9008.  If you have any questions please email me at drbradweiss@performancehealthcenter.com

 

Use Your Left Hand to Be in Your Right Mind

Recently I had surgery on my right hand, leaving me essentially left-handed for these past few weeks.  I have been taking it on as a challenge and I have been working on my dexterity and strength on my once weaker side.  Besides improving my strength and dexterity on my left side, I have also found that there are other benefits that you get from using your non- dominant hand and I thought I would share those with you.

Regardless of which hand you prefer, your preferred hand is hooked up to the opposite side of your brain. Your right hand is connected to your left brain, the side responsible for language, judgment and intellect. The left side is connected to your right brain, the source of creativity, perception and empathy.

Since our hands are connected to our brains, we can stimulate our brains by stimulating our hands. The process utilizes brain plasticity, our brain’s ability to change at any age for better or worse.

Here are the best reasons to routinely use your other hand:

  1. Increase Your Creativity

Because brain mapping shows that creativity is housed in the right hemisphere of our brains, experts say we can stimulate this right brain through working with our non-dominant hand. This also works for lefties, as studies indicate that one hemisphere is active when we use our dominant hand, but both hemispheres are activated when we use our non-dominant hand.

In this way, we can use the combination of our two hands to create new connections between our ears. “By its design, our right mind is spontaneous, carefree and imaginative. It allows our creative juices to flow free without inhibition,” according to Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., a neuroanatomist with the Indiana University School of Medicine. “If creativity is located in your non-dominant hemisphere, then using your non-dominant hand may stimulate those cells,” she says.

Another national expert, Lucia Capacchione, has done research which shows that, regardless of which hand we favor, writing and drawing with the non-dominant hand gives greater access to the right hemispheric functions like feeling, intuition, creativity, and inner wisdom and spirituality. “When a dialog occurs between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, both emotions and thoughts are more fully expressed and understood,” according to her website. Her book The Power of Your Other Hand gives a nine-step process for accessing our creative centers by using our other hand.

  1. The Brain Benefits

Beyond the jumpstart in creativity, using the other hand helps your brain to better integrate its two hemispheres, experts say. “There is research that musicians who use both hands have about a 9 percent increase in the size of their corpus callosum [the part of the brain that connects the two hemispheres], so certainly using both hands create more transfer,” says Hale, who works primarily with children with cognitive challenges, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia. “One could argue that this increase in exchange between the hemispheres could benefit intelligence or processing,” he says.

  1. Be More Open Minded

It seems that our dominant hand may have a hand in our life choices, too. Studies show that we often favor things that fall on our preferred side and discard those on our clumsy side. A recent Stanford University study by David Casasanto backs up this handy theory. Participants were asked to imagine they were hiring personnel for a new company and purchasing new items. They were asked to make hiring and purchasing decisions based on brief descriptions of candidates and items arranged in columns on the right and left side of a page. Results showed that right-handers were more than twice as likely as left-handers to choose candidates and items described on the right side of the page. Left-handers preferred candidates on the left.

  1. Balance out your body

Most of us have some imbalances in our physiques from left to right. These aren’t usually desirable, often resulting in postural problems and various other ailments that can be avoided with some balancing out. While it’s not necessarily true that something low-impact like brushing your teeth with the same hand every day is causing a muscular imbalance, more complex actions might well be. If you always use your mouse with your right hand, does that cause you to lean a certain way in your chair most of the time? Do you always sleep on the same shoulder? Shift your weight to the same foot?

Just like with higher-energy exercise like weight lifting, it’s worth paying attention to how balanced you are in your everyday movements. They may well be impacting you more than you realize now.

You do not need to injure your hand to get all of these benefits and achieve these same results, you just need to consciously start using your non-dominant hand.  I suggest start with brushing your teeth and then slowly add in other daily activities.  Your brain and body will thank you for becoming more “balanced”.

I am looking forward to getting back to work and helping my patients feel and function better and showing off my new skills with my left hand.  If you have any questions about this blog or your health in general you can contact me at: drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com

The Future of Sitting is Here in Natick!

“Sitting is the new smoking” is quoted day in day out in the media. Research continues to be published documenting all the detrimental effects of sitting on the job including increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even cancer. 

I’m constantly talking and demonstrating to my patients on how to sit correctly and how to use the features of their ergonomic desk chair correctly.  The problem is that sitting is static and even the most expensive ergonomic desk chairs keep you locked in one position.  No matter how you slice it or dice it sitting is detrimental to our health and until now there has not been much you can do about it.  Standing desks are popular, but standing in one place all day is not good for you either. Life is motion and the more you move, the healthier you will be.

The future sitting has finally arrived. It is a concept called active sitting. I saw an ad a few months ago in a chiropractic trade magazine for a revolutionary new chair. I thought it was an exciting concept but I did not want to take a chance of buying a chair online without first having the opportunity to sit on. After looking at the website, reading and watching a few videos I was hooked.  I noticed the chair was made in Burlington Vermont, where I used to live.  I knew I’d be back for a visit soon. Three weekends ago I went to Burlington. The night before I call the 800 number left a message and got an immediate call back from Tucker Osler, M.D. the inventor, founder and owner of the company. I asked if I could visit the showroom. He said they don’t have an official showroom yet but he’d be happy to show me their workspace and allow me to demo the chairs.

Dr. Osler and I met, hit it off and spent a long time discussing our mutual passion for ergonomics, body mechanics and health.  The company is called QOR360 and they have several models of chairs.  These chairs have a unique patented seat rocker that keeps you moving, engages your core and puts you in good posture with your head over your shoulders and a lumbar lordosis.  I was sold! I truly believe that this has the potential of being the future of sitting.  It’s tough to change human behavior and habits, but if you could put your butt in these chairs, and give it a chance it will sell itself, especially those of you who sit in front of a computer all day.

I came home with two chairs, choosing the Ariel which is model designed to be an office chair.  One I am sitting on right now in my home office and other is in the reception room at Performance Health Center so my patients can experience this unique chair. Monday morning I showed the chair to Linda, my receptionist, so she could explain to our patients about the chair and encourage them to try it.  Linda sat down and declared that the chair “is mine”. I have since gotten a third Ariel so that Linda can actively sit all day and have a chair for patients to try in the reception area. The response has been enthusiastic!

If you are sick and tired of sitting in an office chair that hurts your back, keeps you immobile and compromises your health, I encourage you try out the Ariel chair in our reception area.  Performance Health Center is the only location in greater Boston where you can experience the future of sitting!

What is it like?  If you have ever sat on an exercise ball it is a similar concept. The problem with using exercise balls as desk chairs is that they are large and bulky, it is easy to you fall off them, they puncture and in order to move your pelvis the whole ball moves moving you away from your computer.  With a QOR360 chair just the seat moves. It forces the activation of your core muscles and encourages  good posture with your head over your shoulder.  It is on a stable platform so there is no danger of your falling off and getting hurt.  It allows you to sit in front of your computer but your muscles stay active and engaged.

Sitting on the a  QOR360 chair takes a little getting used to. You can’t just sit down for five seconds and experience it.  It is recommended that you sit for at least minute or two and feel how your body reacts. It forces you sit on one your “sit bones”(or ischial tuberosities to be anatomically correct).  My “sit bones” were a little sore after my first prolonged sitting session. I give Dr. Osler this feedback and he responses saying that is typical, and it does take a little getting used to it because you’re not used to sitting on your sit bones. If the seat cushion was softer you would not be able to find your sit bones. He was true to his word and now I can set for extended periods with no soreness. Still you should always get up and take breaks when sitting even with active sitting, at least every 15-20 minutes, even if just for a 30 seconds of full body motion.

If you can’t get to Natick, MA, to sit on the QOR360 chair, know that it comes with a 30 day money-back guarantee.  The QOR360 chair can only be bought on-line, if you use the code PHC at check-out you will get a 5% discount.   Sorry if this blog sounds like a sales pitch, but after 34 years in practice helping people in pain caused by sitting all day this is the best solution I have found.  It really believe the QOR360 chair is the future of sitting. Like all paradigm shifts, it is going to take little time to gain traction.  If sitting on the Ariel chair in my reception room for a few minutes is not enough to convince you that this is the chair you should be sitting on at work, I’ll let you take one back to the office for up to a day so you can give it a good test drive.  Of course, your co-workers will be curious and hopefully you’ll share and let them try it as well.  Please call in advance at 508-655-9008 to make sure our loaner chair is available.

For more information please email me at drbradweiss@performancehealthcenter.com.  Of course check out the QOR360 website.  Please visit us at Performance Health Center  in Natick if you want to experience the future of sitting.  Lastly, if you are going to purchase remember to use the code PHC to get your 5% discount.

Play More Tennis and Live Longer!

That’s right.  Yet another new study has come out showing the health benefits of being active, this time as it relates to longevity.  The December 2018 issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings has a research study titled: Various Leisure-Time Physical Activities Associated with Widely Divergent Life Expectancies: The Copenhagen City Heart Study.  This study following 8577 participants for up to 25 years looking at various forms of physical activities to see which gave the most benefit in adding years to life. 

Playing tennis was the most beneficial extending life expectancy by 9.7 years relative to the sedentary control group.  Seven other leisure activities also increased life expectancy, but not as much! 

Here is the list:

Tennis-        9.7 years

Badminton- 6.2 years

Soccer-         4.7 years

Cycling-       3.7 years

Swimming-  3.4 years

Jogging-       3.2 years

Calisthenics-3.1 years

Health Club Activities- 1.5 years

The study tried to analyze what makes tennis and the other top life extending activities more beneficial than the later activities on the list.   One big difference is that tennis, badminton and soccer tend to be social sports that depend on interactions with others. According to the authors, “Belonging to a group that meets regularly promotes a sense of support, trust, and commonality, which has been shown to contribute to a sense of well-being and improved long term health”.   They also state, “A scientifically rigorous and widely cited meta-analysis on the topic found that social support had a stronger effect on long-term survival than any other factor, including being a nonsmoker, staying lean, or having normal blood pressure”

Another possible reason that tennis, badminton and soccer participants have increase longevity is that these sports require quick interval bursts of full body motions compared to the other sports studied which have more continuous repetitive body motions.  The jury is not out, but according to the study, “a growing body of evidence indicates that short repeated intervals of high intensity exercise appear to be superior to continuous moderate intensity PA (physical activity) for improving health outcomes”. 

It’s a New Year and no better time to make a commitment to being active.  Exercising in a health club may not increase longevity as much as playing tennis or even cycling, but it does have significant benefits which include reducing the risk of many types of cancer, developing Type 2 Diabetes, decreases cholesterol levels, reduces the risk of heart disease and increased the natural protection of cold and flu viruses to name a few.

I’m an avid tennis player so was very happy to see these benefits in longevity.  The moral of this study is that you need to be active to live longer. Of the 8577 participants in this study, 12% reported being sedentary and 66% engaged in at least 1 activity.  The weekly average was almost 7 hours of activity a week.  That’s about 1 hour a day which is the minimum recommended by many different studies.

A study in Lancet in 2016, concludes that it takes 1 hour of exercise a day to reverse the negative mortality effects of sitting 8 hours on the job.  Less than 25% of us meet this minimum requirement. More and more studies are demonstrating the importance of motion.  My favorite mantra to my patients is, “life is motion”.  The Mayo Clinic study is just the latest.  It also give hints on which activities you might want to focus on if you want to live longer. It really doesn’t matter what you do, just do something for at least one hour a day.  It doesn’t have to be continuous.  In fact, the Lancet article suggests you move at least 5 minutes every hour, making the 1 hour of exercise cumulative rather can consecutive!  Just walking is an excellent exercise. The social interaction of walking with a friend probably increases the benefit exponentially!

Before you start any new activity you should have a functional musculoskeletal examination to determine if you are capable.  At Performance Health Center we specialize in getting our patients out of pain and in optimum functional health so they can enjoy pain-free active living!  Wishing all our friends and patients a Healthy, Active and Happy New Year!  For more info email me at: drbradweiss@peformancehealthcenter.com

10 Reasons to Use a Humidifier

As a Doctor of Chiropractic, I see a lot of sick and injured people every day, and it is my job to help these patients get better.  Yes… Chiropractic can also help with colds and flu- studies show that getting regular chiropractic adjustments helps boost the immune system which in turn can help prevent getting the common cold or even the flu.  I wanted to write this month’s blog on how using a humidifier this winter can also help you prevent getting the cold or flu.

We are just now entering the coldest months of the year, and a time where people are more likely to get sick.  The old theory was that we spend more time in the winter indoors and more time inside in close proximity closer to other people, but more recent research has shown that it is the big drop in humidity that leaves us more susceptible to colds and the flu.  Winter air is dry air. Humidifiers put moisture back into the air, which can create a lot of benefits for you and your family.

A 2013 study, for example, showed that increasing humidity levels to 43% or above significantly reduced the ability of airborne viruses to cause flu infections. In fact, in a low humidity environment, 70-77 % of viruses could transmit the disease through coughs, but when humidity was increased to 43% or more, that number dropped to only 14%.

An earlier 2009 study showed similar results, with humidity limiting the transmission of the influenza virus.

Using a humidifier may help you avoid getting sick this winter, and it can offer other benefits for you, and your family and it may even benefit your house.

10 Benefits of Using a Humidifier

  1. Reduce risk of infections. Viruses and bacteria can’t travel as well in moist air. A humidifier could mean the difference between getting the flu this winter and remaining healthy.
  2. Softer, more vibrant skin. Cold, dry air saps moisture from your skin, which causes all kinds of problems, including dryness, dullness, flaking, and accelerated aging. A humidifier can help prevent all these damaging effects, and help you maintain that glowing, vibrant look for all your holiday parties and get-togethers.
  3. Comfortable sinuses. You know that dry, tight feeling you get in your nose in the winter? Even if you don’t have a cold (it’s worse when you do), winter air can dry out your sinuses, lowering your resistance to bacteria and viruses. Sleep with a humidifier and wake up with a more comfortable nose—and throat!
  4. Faster healing times. Say you do end up with a cold, a sinus infection, or the flu. A humidifier will shorten your suffering. Keeping your nasal passages and your throat moist will help you heal faster, and will reduce symptoms like coughing and sneezing.
  5. Healthier houseplants. Plants help pull toxins out of the air. But they can suffer in dry, winter air. Have you noticed that the soil is dryer than usual? Are the leaves looking droopy and sick? A humidifier can help keep your houseplants healthy—which helps keep you healthy, too!
  6. Protected wood furnishings. Dry air can damage wood furniture, as well as moldings and doors, causing them to split and crack. A humidifier can help preserve the integrity of the wood, maintaining your pieces for years to come.
  7. No growling morning voice. Do you often sound like a bear in the mornings? That’s dry air getting to your vocal cords. Sound more like your normal self when you sleep overnight with a humidifier in your bedroom!
  8. Reduced heating bill. Did you know that moist air feels warmer than dry air? It’s true. If you add some moisture to the air, it will feel warmer, which can help you save on your heating bills this winter.
  9. Fewer electric shocks. No one likes a static electricity shock—especially not the cat! But you may have noticed that in the winter, it’s harder to avoid it. That’s the dry air again. Use a humidifier and leave the lightning outside.
  10. Improved sleep. If you or a partner snores, a humidifier may help. We tend to snore more if our sinuses and throats are dry. A moist environment also tends to feel warmer and more comfortable, which can encourage a good night’s sleep.

Some Precautions

While humidifiers are great for you for a number of reasons, they do need to be cleaned regularly. Otherwise, they can become a source of bacteria and mold, which you don’t want floating around your home.

Here are some tips to help:

  • Use distilled or demineralized water. This can save you a lot of work. Regular tap water has minerals that create buildup in your machine and promote bacterial growth. Distilled and demineralized water contain fewer minerals and will save you from having to clean as often.
  • Clean once a week. If you make this a regular part of your routine, you’ll be able to get it done quickly and will keep your home healthy. Put if off and you’ll face a harder job and risk bacteria and mold buildup.
  • Change filters regularly. If your humidifier has a filter, follow the manufacturer’s directions for changing it.
  • Too much humidity can be just as problematic as not enough. Use a “hygrometer” (you can find one at home improvement and electronic stores) to measure the humidity in your home. Ideal, as shown by the study, is about 40-50 percent.

We are here to help you feel and function better so you can do all the things you like to do.  If you have any questions about this blog or your health in general, please feel free to contact me at: drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com