CHEERS TO CHERRIES

Just this morning after a nice bike ride, my friend and I were comparing smoothie recipes and were discussing what we each like to put in our smoothies.  I have been using a combination of coconut/almond milk, pineapple, Vega-one protein powder and a mix of frozen berries which includes blueberries, strawberries and cherries.  I always thought the blueberries were the best source of antioxidants, but after a little research I see that cherries pack even a bigger punch.  I decided to look into what other health benefits cherries can provide us and I wanted to share that information with you.

Cherries are high in antioxidants and high in quercetin. 

Cherries are full of antioxidants. These antioxidants have a number of different benefits, including the ability to prevent cancer and heart disease, as well as fighting off free radicals. The antioxidants found in cherries also work to slow the signs of aging. All cherries contain their own antioxidants but sour cherries have the most, beating out even blueberries with their antioxidant content.

Cherries are rich in quercetin, a natural flavonoid that is associated with strong antioxidant and health properties. Quercetin helps neutralize potential DNA damage caused by free radicals and may help protect against heart disease and certain cancers, including breast, colon, prostate and lung. In addition, it has strong anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effects.

A serving of sweet cherries (5 ounces, 1 cup or about 21 cherries) provides 90 calories and 3 grams fiber.  Cherries are a good source of potassium and vitamin C. Cherries are also a great source of anthocyanins, bioactive compounds that provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, cardiovascular and other benefits. Research shows that melatonin, catechins and flavanols in cherries contribute to the fruit’s healthfulness, too.

They stabilize blood sugar levels. Cherries have among the lowest glycemic index and glycemic load values of all fruit. The glycemic index for cherries is 22, and the glycemic load is three. The glycemic index measures the effect that a carbohydrate-containing food has on blood sugar levels. A score of zero to 55 is considered low. The glycemic load measures the blood sugar response in a standard serving of the food.

They help ease joint pain. Several studies suggest that the anti-inflammatory properties of cherries can help reduce inflammation that affects individuals with arthritis and gout. A study from USDA study found that Bing cherries specifically helped lower participants’ blood uric acid levels. High blood uric acid is associated with gout. Another study found that cherry consumption was associated with a 35 percent reduction in incidence of a gout attack over a two-day period. Cherry intake coupled with traditional gout pharmaceuticals reduced incidence of attacks by 75 percent. 

They act as an all-natural sleep aid. Research with tart cherry varieties show that they are rich in melatonin, a compound that helps regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake patterns. Studies show that supplements with cherry juice concentrate have been associated with improved sleep.

While your body does have the ability to produce its own melatonin, it typically does so only in darkness and not everyone is able to produce all the melatonin that is needed. Factors such as the artificial lighting that is found in many offices and homes limit how much melatonin is produced by your body. Eating cherries might help boost melatonin levels in your body.

You’ll get more out of your workouts. Cherries and cherry juice are often promoted for recovery post-exercise because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. One study showed that strength athletes who consumed tart cherry supplement experienced better recovery from intensive strength training, compared to when they took a fruit juice control beverage. Other studies with endurance athletes also link cherry compounds to enhanced recovery following exhaustive exercise.

They’re all-American. The United States is the second-leading producer of cherries in the world (Turkey is No. 1). Sweet cherries are grown primarily in Washington, Oregon and California, while tart cherries are grown primarily in Michigan, Utah and Washington.

Enjoy fresh cherries now because their season is short – from May through August. Or you can always use frozen cherries in your own smoothie recipe- they will boost your smoothie’s nutritional power!

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

Magnesium, What a Hot Topic These Days!

Magnesium seems to be quite a hot topic today in the supplement field, and the field of health and wellness!  I have been poking some and  want to share some of the information with 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…

Magnesium is a mineral, for those of you that are not familiar.  Magnesium is also a cofactor in relation to over 300 enzyme systems that control complex biochemical reactions throughout the body (a little more technical them some of you probably care to know, but have to throw a little of the science and medical part in here and there too).   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, until I started digging around for more information.

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 (muscles, tendons, fascia, etc).  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 if one is deficient or not.

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 in through your diet, only 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
serving
Percent
DV*
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 310-420mg 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.  Keep in mind that if you are getting enough Magnesium in through natural food sources that one may not need to take a supplement, or as high of a dose.  I do manage to take in a good amount of Magnesium naturally, so I usually take one, or maybe two tablets of the Metagenics Magnesium per day.  It seems to be very gentle on my stomach, and I prefer to take my Magnesium towards the end of the day.  There are properties that are supposed to help relax the muscles and the body, and I figure I can use all the help I can get before bedtime.

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 in general.

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, or email me at any time, drv@performancehealthcenter.com .  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 that include Calcium in them as well for better absorption.  The Metagenics brand is very well known in the medical field and among health care practitioners, and can be found in many of health care providers offices.

 

 

 

 

TURMERIC, Not Just a Spice Anymore…It’s So Much More!

I have been seeing Turmeric pop up everywhere these days, whether it be in the natural root form at many grocery stores, or all over at pharmacies and health stores.  There is a big push being made for being one of the best anti-inflammatories out there!

 

If you are someone that has or takes Advil, Ibuprofen or NSAIDS (non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs).   more often than not, this may be worth reading through… These over the counter (OTC) medications are really not that good for you and can bring about serious health complications.  That being said, these are the most common over the counter drugs used for chronic pain and out there these days!  Chronic pain can be very debilitating, as well as acute pain and injury, and can have detrimental and adverse effects on one’s quality of life.  However, a majority of people trying to find a “reasonable and workable” solution for pain, usually end up reaching for a bottle of NSAID’s.

 

Most of the population doesn’t know how NSAID’s really work when ingested to help target and decrease pain in the body.  NSAIDS TEMPORARILY block the overflow of production of inflammatory cells/chemicals to the site of pain.  NSAIDS basically “trick” the body into overriding its inflammatory response to an injury.  When this happens the pain also lessens or subsides too.  With inflammation comes pain, if inflammation is removed or “blocked” more realistically, the pain is most likely “blocked” from getting to the area as well.  This helps people to feel better, so therefore they continue to take more of it to feel better.  It also gives false interpretation that the person may be “feeling better” due to having less pain, but the NSAIDS have only “masked” the symptoms and the pain usually returns, but more importantly with the possibility that the person has done more damage to the area injured thinking it was feeling better because of the NSAIDS.  We see this all the time with patients in our office, and it is our job to help educate them about the pros and cons of taking OTC NSAIDS, and when it really is or isn’t necessary.  Aside from this, use of NSAIDS can cause stomach pain, stomach ulcers, indigestion, internal bleeding, constipation, headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and allergic reactions such as hives, vomiting, throat swelling etc.  I mean, why would someone not look for more natural ways to help decrease inflammation, pain and swelling?

There are many natural supplements out there now that help to decrease pain and inflammation (which I will write about in some future articles), but turmeric by far seems to be one of the most powerful.  Turmeric is a plant, and not only one of the most popular spices around, but one of the most powerful super foods.  The root is what is most commonly used in medicine.  Medicinal use of turmeric is dated back over 4,000 years ago, wow!  Today there are many uses for turmeric such as detoxification, promoting radiant skin, mood balancing, supporting cardiac health, decreasing inflammation, etc.  A few of the most important uses of turmeric are reducing pain, being a very strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.  Turmeric helps to lower the levels of two different enzymes in the body that cause inflammation, not “block” the inflammation to the area of injury.  Antioxidants also help to fight free radicals that can even potentially reduce some of the damage these free radicals cause in the body.  This helps in regards to the level of inflammation in the body as well, or when responding to inflammation from an injury.  I figured this was a good month to help remind our patients and many others that read the newsletter about Turmeric and its health benefits.  Being that spring, well maybe even summer is possibly here (though, I will believe it when I see it), everyone is getting outside doing yard work, and starting to exercise more, and we have seen an increase of injuries in the office, and wanted some other ways to help our patients feel better naturally when not in the office.

Many turmeric supplements, like other vitamins and supplements, are not absorbed well into the body, so it is important to make sure you are buying turmeric from a reputable company.  As we always say, please be sure to speak to your naturopathic doctor, chiropractic physician or nutritionist in regards to any questions concerning the quality of the supplement you may be taking.  At Performance Health Center we carry a very popular and reputable brand of vitamins and supplements by MetagenicsMetagenics makes a supplement called, Inflavinoids (which I know I have probably mentioned several times over the years in practice), that has turmeric in it as well, along with some other natural anti-inflammatories.  We prescribe this supplement primarily to decrease inflammation in the patient’s body if a patient is dealing with an injury.  It almost acts like a “natural Ibuprofen”.   A patient can take 2-4 capsules 2-4 times a day, just as someone taking some other type of NSAID would.  This supplement helps when people are dealing with chronic back pain, ankle sprains, and even whiplash from an accident, but even helps in many acute situations and injuries as well.  I personally take 1-2 capsules a day for preventive measures to help keep levels of inflammation lower in my body.  I also keep it on hand as it has helped decrease symptoms when I get a headache as well.  There are some other supplements by Metagenics we offer as well that help to decrease inflammation, and that are more helpful with acute injuries, that I will discuss another time.  Until then, this is something you may want to speak to one of us about in the office during your next visit.

Many other chiropractic facilities and medical offices carry the Metagenics brand as well. Should you have more questions in regards to this topic, please feel free me at DrV@PerformanceHealthCenter.com.

 

 

Share This With Your PCP!

Unfortunately the following saga is way too typical in our office. Last month I saw a new patient who had severe low back pain (LBP) for over 2 years. The pain was so severe she was living on pain meds, going right home from work and going to bed. She was not participating in life and was extremely frustrated. She had seen her Primary Care Physician (PCP) from the onset of her pain. She was referred to multiple specialists for advanced testing, injections and more medications, none of which gave her any real relief or hope.

Finally after two (2) years, at the repeated encouragement of Lyn Rome, her hair stylist, she came into my office, explained in detail all she had been through and the frustration of living with pain. My exam ruled out all the “red flags” or pathological causes of her pain. My diagnosis was dysfunction of her left Sacro-iliac joint and sciatic nerve entrapment. Simply put, the largest joint in her body (in the butt area) was stuck and the longest and thickest nerve in the body which goes from the low back to the toes was not gliding properly. Of course she also had muscles spasms because her muscles were short and tight to protect the joint that was not moving, setting up a visors cycle of pain that kept perpetuating itself.

I felt confident I could help her, but since she was skeptical and nervous from her prior medical treatments I recommended a 2 week trial of chiropractic care to see how she would respond. I wish all of my patients responded so quickly, but after 2 treatments she had significant decrease in pain, stopped the pain meds and didn’t have to go right to bed after work. Obviously the trial of care was successful and she is on the road to recovery.

Two (2) years of her life was wasted because of ignorance (or bias) on the part of her PCP. Unfortunately this is a scenario I see all the time at our office, but it shouldn’t be that way. Any competent medical doctor who keeps up with the literature should know that chiropractic care has been well documented as an effective treatment for LBP. (It is not the only condition we treat, but the most researched). There really is no excuse for collaboration between your PCP and the chiropractic profession for the best interest of the patient, especially for the treatment of LBP.

Now there is even more proof! In the May 2018, on-line edition of the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), a new studies found that “usual medical care plus chiropractic care reported a statistically significant improvement in low back pain intensity and disability at 6 weeks compared with those who received usual care alone.” In a study of 750 people, from the ages of 18-50, the addition of including chiropractic care documented statistically significant improvement included less reported pain, less disability, more patient satisfaction and less pain medications used. Across the board including chiropractic care reduced pain and suffering.The conclusion of this study states, “this trial provides additional support for the inclusion of chiropractic care as a component of multidisciplinary health care for low back pain, as currently recommended in existing guidelines”. Note the words…as currently recommended in existing guidelines.

The number one cause of disability worldwide is LBP! At least 20% of Americans will have LBP lasting at least 1 day over the next 3 months. LBP is the 2nd reason why patients visit their PCP. The direct cost of LBP in 2010 was $34 billion, and adding in lost work and productivity costs the US economy up to $200 Billion. At the present time only 8-14% of the US population receives chiropractic care annually. So why aren’t PCPs referring to chiropractors. Getting historical, there have been excellent studies validating chiropractic care and multiple government reports recommend a greater utilization of chiropractic care.

As far back as 1993 the Ontario Ministry of Health published what is called the Manga Report. The Manga Report’s conclusion was to make chiropractors the gatekeepers for treating LBP for many reasons concluding: “On the evidence, particularly the most scientifically valid clinical studies, spinal manipulation applied by chiropractors is shown to be more effective than alternative treatments for low back pain. Many medical therapies are of questionable validity or are clearly inadequate; there is no clinical or case-control study that demonstrates or even implies that chiropractic spinal manipulation is unsafe in the treatment of low back pain. Some medical treatments are equally safe, but others are unsafe and generate iatrogenic (doctor-induced) complications for low back pain patients. Our reading of the literature suggests that chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain; and there is an overwhelming body of evidence indicating that chiropractic management of low back pain is more cost-effective than medical management.”

Then in 1994, the US Agency on Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) released Clinical Guidelines for Management of Acute Low Back Pain. These Guidelines were created an expert panel to provide PCPs with recommendations on the assessment and treatment of LBP. Again the conclusions included:
• Conservative treatment such as spinal manipulation should be pursued in most before cases considering surgical intervention;
• Prescription drugs such as oral steroids, antidepressant medications and colchicine are not recommended for acute low back problems.

The benefits of chiropractic care both in human suffering level and economic savings is well documented and recommended by multiple government agencies. I still don’t understand why the chiropractic profession is not getting more referrals from the medical profession. Going back to the patient in the first paragraph, in her words she lost 2 years of her life and had lost hope of ever being able to function and doing the most basic activities like walking with her husband or sitting in a restaurant. My bias is that she should have been referred for chiropractic care after the pain lasted for 2 weeks while following her PCPs advice. When the pain persisted and multiple therapies failed, at the very least her PCP could have said I don’t know much about chiropractic health care, but since you are not feeling better why don’t you give it a try.

I don’t fault the present generation of medical doctors. Chiropractic care is not part of their educational curriculum. I have seen this first hand. For eight (8) years family practice residents first at University of Vermont and then Tufts had a one (1) day rotation at my office. I asked each resident in all your years of medical school and residency how much did they learn about chiropractic health care. The answer across the board was “nothing”. Then I’d ask how much did they learn about the musculoskeletal system? The answer across the board this time was “not much”. Then I’d ask my final question which was how many vertebrae are in the spine? In 8 years only 1 Family Practice Resident was able to rattle off the correct answer which is 24.

Then the medical resident spent the day with me watching me interact and treat my patients. At the end of the day across the residents would say how impressed they were. They didn’t realize the scope of chiropractic practice and the benefits of manipulation. My advice was always the same. When you finish your residencies and hang up your shingle to practice, meet a few chiropractors in your community, find one or two that you feel comfortable with and refer your patients to them. Unfortunately this type of rotation at a chiropractic office was and still is a rare event in the training of medical residents.

Hopefully you have read down this far. The only way your PCP is going to know about this new study (and historical guidelines) is if you share this article with them. Please email your PCP and attach this article. Ask if he/she has read the new JAMA study on the significant benefits of including chiropractic care in collaboration with “usual medical care” for patients with low back pain? If not the link is here: Effect of Usual Medical Care Plus Chiropractic Care vs Usual Medical Care Alone on Pain and Disability Among US Service Members With Low Back Pain: A Comparative Effectiveness Clinical Trial

Sharing this article with your PCP this will help build bridges between the two professions and the winner is you, the consumer of health care.

For more information please contact me at drbradweiss@performancehealthcenter.com

Now that Summer is Here: Get Outside!

Here are a few health benefits of getting outside:

Eye Health– Getting outside can improve your eye health   Do you work on a computer for a living?  Do you watch TV when you’re not working?  If so, you’re at risk of developing the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). CVS can be caused by staring at a screen close to your face for prolonged periods.  Symptoms include: blurred vision, double vision, red eyes, eye irritation, headaches, and neck or back pain.  Getting outside and focusing on objects that are more than two feet from your face can help to prevent and even reverse these symptoms.

Artificial Light may contribute to Nearsightedness.  New research is showing that our increased exposure to artificial light may be having a negative impact on nearsightedness.  A 2007 study of children of nearsighted parents that spent at least two hours per day outdoors were four times less likely to be nearsighted than those who spent less than one hour per day outside.  Artificial light is the problem, natural light is the solution.

If your eye sight is starting to get worse, get outside.

Improve Sleep–  Our sleep patterns are regulated by an internal body clock called the circadian rhythm.  Our circadian rhythms are naturally tied to the sun’s schedule.  Spending too much time inside – away from natural light and with increased exposure to artificial light, can alter our circadian rhythms and disrupt our sleep

Those who perform shift-work or travel frequently are also subject to having their natural circadian rhythms disrupted. Early morning exposure to sunlight has been shown to help recalibrate these sleep cycles

If you are not sleeping well, get outside!

Grounding or “Earthing”, which results from bare skin contact on a natural surface (dirt, sand, grass).  The theory states that because the earth is negatively charged- and has a greater negative charge than your body- we absorb earth’s electrons.  The rubber soles of our shoes prevent this absorption of electrons from occurring.  According to a study reported in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, grounding can have an intense anti-inflammatory and energizing effect on the body.

If you want to feel the energy of earth, get outside and walk in the grass barefoot.

Exercise– Most people enjoy exercising outside more than inside- and if you enjoy it more, you are more likely to keep doing it on a regular basis. Even a light walk has immense health benefits, especially contrasted with sitting- which has been referred to as the smoking of our generation.  Sitting too much results in impaired fat burning capacity, decreased bone density, increased blood pressure, and a shortened life span.  Conversely, exercise can help prevent or improve heart disease, strokes, type II diabetes, obesity, back pain, osteoporosis, and a host of psychological disorders.

If you want to live longer, get outside.

Mental Health– there are many beneficial effects getting outside can have on our mental wellbeing.  Spending time in nature has been linked to improved attention spans, and boosts in serotonin- which makes us feel better mentally. Being outside also increases activity in the sections of the brain responsible for empathy, emotional stability, and love.

If you’re feeling down, get outside.

Immune System– Get outside for more natural Vitamin D, which is essential to maintaining a healthy immune system.  Those who don’t get enough Vitamin D are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.  Getting enough sunlight has also been linked with the prevention of diabetes, auto immune disorders, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease.

If you want your body to function properly, get outside.

Remember to keep your regularly scheduled Chiropractic appointments as well. Regular spinal adjustments are also good for your immune system.  One of my previous blogs was about just that: https://www.performancehealthcenter.com/?s=immune+system&submit=Search

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

Does Chiropractic Help with Allergies?

It appears that spring is finally here.  The temperature is rising, the days are getting longer and the flowers and trees are budding. Along with all these great things is an increase in pollen and the start of spring-time allergies for many people.

Many people are hypersensitive to pollen and other environmental substances. This condi­tion causes a number of irritating symptoms that can make life miserable.  An allergy is a hypersensitivity that can surface in many ways: Skin reactions, breathing difficulty and irritations to the sinuses are some of the most frequent allergy symptoms. If you have a food allergy, then problems like bloating, indigestion and diarrhea may result.

An allergic response is when your immune system activates and attempts to remove a substance that is usually considered harmless from the body. Essentially, the allergic reaction is caused not by the substance itself but by your body’s interpretation that the substance is poten­tially harmful. Inflammation, sneezing, cough­ing and vomiting are methods the immune system uses to expel any dangerous substance ingested by you.

When an allergic reaction starts, the body activates special immune cells called mast cells. On the surface of their membranes, these mast cells possess receptors that recognize substances considered either harmful or helpful to the body. When harmful substances are detected, the cells release histamines. This triggers the body to react, often with an increase in swelling, coughing, or sneezing.

An allergic reaction can be considered an interpretation of your environment. In order for your body to interpret, your body must first get information. The nervous system is part of this information-gathering function of the body. If your nervous system is dysfunctional, then the information interpreted will be altered, and this makes you vulnerable to abnormal reactions like allergies.

Many people report that Chiropractic can help with Allergies

Many chiropractic patients report a reduction of allergy symptoms when treated regularly for vertebral subluxations (misalignments and/or dysfunctional movements of the vertebrae).  These misalignments or dysfunctional movements of vertebra can cause a focal irritation in the spine, which then creates an abnormal signal received by the central nervous system.  When this abnormal signal is received by the central nervous system, the body may not interrupt the information correctly.  When this occurs, an allergic reaction can result.

Although scientific research shows chiropractic adjustments do not cause an improvement in all allergy cases, they’re definitely beneficial for some.  The reason for the inconsistency may be because there are a number of different causes for a patient’s hypersensitivity.  Vertebral subluxation is only one of many potential causes.

If you or someone you know suffer from seasonal allergies, consider chiropractic care.  I have many of my patients tell me they have fewer allergy symptoms when they consistently come in for their regular Chiropractic care.

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

 

Talk About an Inspiration…OMG!

I

I was so excited to write May’s little article I could hardly wait!  I know many times we write about topics that will help improve our patient’s health, or insightful information to help give our patients advice and educate them, but I wanted to change things up a little this month.  Though I was unable to be out on the course for the 2018 Boston Marathon this year, I promise I was there in spirit checking all my patients and friends progress, and keeping track of the race, while doing much over day paperwork.  It’s call multitasking folks J.  I guess if I was going to pick a year to have to miss, this was certainly a good one in regards to the weather, and coldest temperature to start the race in years, if not ever.

While I was away that weekend, I actually had a moment to sit down and read the newspaper.  That never happens, ever!  I usually keep up with the news or current events through my patients, friends, and family.  In the sports section in the New York Times, I came across an amazing and beyond inspirational article, and wanted to share my feelings and thoughts about it this month.  The article gave me the chills reading it.  The title of the article I read on that Sunday before the 2018 Boston Marathon was, ‘It’s Pure Torture.  But It Works.’  I shared the link on my FB page, and I am sure if you go the New York Times website, anyone can find it online.

The article was about a professional triathlete, Tim Don.  For those of you who do not recognize the name, he is the world-record holder in the Ironman, setting that record at almost the age of 40, in Brazil, 2017.  He had obviously qualified for the World Championship in Kona for 2017, and was there on his last training ride 2 days before Kona, when he was hit by a utility vehicle.  Needless to say, the Ironman World Championships in Kona, and his goal to win it was quickly put on hold.  The article itself goes into much more detail about everything.  Tim had what was called a “hang-man’s fracture”.  It is a fracture of the C2 vertebra in the neck, NOT GOOD, not good at all! Reading the article, I am just amazed that he is alive, let alone not paralyzed.  The surgeons gave Tim 3 options, the third option being the best bet if he were going to try and return to any type of professional career after recovery.

Get ready folks, as this is the part that amazes me even more then him not dying or being paralyzed that tragic day, I think…Tim’s fracture somehow was stable, and option 3 was for Tim to be put in a halo device for 6 months.  It is a metal device that is secured to one’s skull by way of 4 titanium screws (that have to be screwed in to the skull)! There are 4 extended pieces that come down to set around his lower neck and shoulders.  The doctor in the article describes it as a “mid-evil torture device, but it works”.  WTF!  He had to basically be still for almost 3 months until he could start moving around and trying to do anything. I cannot begin to imagine how painful all of those days were, let alone after devising a return to training plan that he started to embark on after those few months with is former physical therapist that come from overseas to work with him.

All of this said, and to start trying to sum up a much longer story, though amazing at the least, Tim had set a goal to compete in the 2018 Boston Marathon, and even better, in hopes to have a finishing time of 2 hours and 50 minutes or better!  NO WAY!  I was sitting there thinking and shaking my head reading this article, how is this even possible? I immediately shared this article on social media, and tried to send it to everyone I knew that was running the Boston Marathon this year.  I was hoping people would find this as inspiring as I did, and help to get them through a less than ideal day, 4/16/2018.  And guess what folks, Tim Don finished in just under two hours and fifty minutes.  I followed his story all morning, along with our new American Female Boston Marathon Winner as well.  I know these were beyond less than ideal conditions for 2018, but just 5 years since the marathon bombing, talk about maybe one of the most memorable marathons possibly.

 

I was amazed at how Tim’s body could handle what it did.  I do not go into detail about the amount of pain Tim must have been in, and the article only touches on just a fraction on what I am sure he was really experiencing.  But, Tim’s mind set and determination were unbelievable.  It also helped that he was in tremendous condition, but also goes to show that if the body is healthy and taken care of properly, the ability for a better or even full recovery is more than possible.

 

As I was thinking about the article after reading it, I feel this concept plays into in a lot of what I do on a daily basis for work.  I am always trying to help educate my patients how to take better care of themselves with chiropractic care and Active Release Techniques (ART), PT, and acupuncture.  Whether it be different ways to exercise, stretch, roll, recover or heal, about nutrition, supplements to take etc., I am always trying to impress upon patients how important it to take care of their bodies, as we only get one!  Many or most times this is in regards to a patient coming in seeking help after some type of injury, but in reality it is just important to take care of our bodies just the same regardless of injury, actually more important.  If we all put more emphasis on the “preventive” and “maintaining” part taking care of our bodies, I truly feel we will all be much further ahead in life, and we will all be able to bounce back so much faster in regards to a minor, moderate, or even major injury in regards to Tim Don’s case.

A little side note before concluding this month’s story: Tim Don’s next goal is to race another ironman late spring or early summer to qualify for Kona in the fall of 2018.  GO TIM!!!

 

 

 

 

Does Chiropractic Help with Allergies?

It appears that spring is finally here.  The temperature is rising, the days are getting longer and the flowers and trees are budding. Along with all these great things is an increase in pollen and the start of spring-time allergies for many people.

Many people are hypersensitive to pollen and other environmental substances. This condi­tion causes a number of irritating symptoms that can make life miserable.  An allergy is a hypersensitivity that can surface in many ways: Skin reactions, breathing difficulty and irritations to the sinuses are some of the most frequent allergy symptoms. If you have a food allergy, then problems like bloating, indigestion and diarrhea may result.

An allergic response is when your immune system activates and attempts to remove a substance that is usually considered harmless from the body. Essentially, the allergic reaction is caused not by the substance itself but by your body’s interpretation that the substance is poten­tially harmful. Inflammation, sneezing, cough­ing and vomiting are methods the immune system uses to expel any dangerous substance ingested by you.

When an allergic reaction starts, the body activates special immune cells called mast cells. On the surface of their membranes, these mast cells possess receptors that recognize substances considered either harmful or helpful to the body. When harmful substances are detected, the cells release histamines. This triggers the body to react, often with an increase in swelling, coughing, or sneezing.

An allergic reaction can be considered an interpretation of your environment. In order for your body to interpret, your body must first get information. The nervous system is part of this information-gathering function of the body. If your nervous system is dysfunctional, then the information interpreted will be altered, and this makes you vulnerable to abnormal reactions like allergies.

Many people report that Chiropractic can help with Allergies

Many chiropractic patients report a reduction of allergy symptoms when treated regularly for vertebral subluxations (misalignments and/or dysfunctional movements of the vertebrae).  These misalignments or dysfunctional movements of vertebra can cause a focal irritation in the spine, which then creates an abnormal signal received by the central nervous system.  When this abnormal signal is received by the central nervous system, the body may not interrupt the information correctly.  When this occurs, an allergic reaction can result.

Although scientific research shows chiropractic adjustments do not cause an improvement in all allergy cases, they’re definitely beneficial for some.  The reason for the inconsistency may be because there are a number of different causes for a patient’s hypersensitivity.  Vertebral subluxation is only one of many potential causes.

If you or someone you know suffer from seasonal allergies, consider chiropractic care.  I have many of my patients tell me they have fewer allergy symptoms when they consistently come in for their regular Chiropractic care.

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 That Time of Year Again, Boston Marathon Time!

Calling all Boston Marathoners, it’s that time of year!  Spring is in the air, hopefully the snow is done, and the marathon is quickly approaching.  So exciting!!!

Once again, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t offering a little advice to all my patients, family and friends on how they can better take care of themselves during this exciting time of year, and the rest of the year, as “marathon-ing” is starting to become an all year round sport.

I cannot stress how important it is that runners and athletes in general be more proactive to take care better care of themselves leading up to a marathon, and in their recovery post marathon as well.   Being proactive pre-race and post-race, whether it being seeing your chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist, or acupuncturist, can really help prevent injury from occurring leading up to the race, and certainly help speed up your recovery and get back on the road to training after the race.  There are so many words of advice, tips, recommendations etc., that I am going to just focus on a few things that I have found myself to fall short on after running a marathon or completing a triathlon.

One of the most commonly asked question by a runner or triathlete is, “How long should I wait to run again after the marathon?”.   After my first marathon, I had no clue, and I thought I could just jump back into running like it was nothing!  I mean, I had just completed 26.2 miles of running, I felt like I could do anything!  Boy was I wrong, and it certainly wasn’t the first question I asked.  So…for all of those who are inquiring and don’t want to be like me on the first time around, general rule of thumb seems to be 1-2 weeks depending on how one feels.

A lot of articles say 5-7 days of rest post marathon, which I am totally fine with.  More importantly though, 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 injuries that the runner or triathlete is dealing with from before the race, or an injury resulting from the race.  As for triatletes, usually one can get back to swimming right away, as it is not compressive to the body, but I wouldn’t be trying to “kill it” in the pool.  As for the bike, again, less compressive to the body, but listen to your legs and your body, and how you feel over all.  To go a little lighter for a few weeks post-race is not a bad thing.  You can still get some good training and exercise in without destroying your body.

Again, as I have mentioned before, ice baths for recovery post race are awesome.  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 microtrauma (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. I recommend getting into the tub and filling it with cold water around you first (up to your waste), then dumping a bag or two of ice into the water after you are submerged. It is best to stay submerged in the ice bath for about 10 minutes if you can tolerate it.

As always, I am a HUGE fan of a post marathon chiropractic adjustment and Active Release Techniques® (ART) to help realign your body, and set your straight for the rest of the season, or whatever race you have coming up next.  Post-race massage within a few days’ post marathon or whatever race you have done is so important, and something I always do without fail.  Without my chiropractors and massage therapists, physical therapist, and acupuncturist, I do not think I could train the way I do, and keep going after all of these years, seriously!

I really hope some of this information helps you all in your journey to the Boston Marathon this year, or whatever race or competition you have on your calendar in 2018.  And, in particular to the month of April, Happy Boston Marathon-ing to everyone racing.  Think positive thoughts to carry you through that day, and I will be there with you all in spirit!  If you have any questions about pre and post marathon or race recovery, please feel free and contact me at drv@performancehealthcenter.com.

 

Improve Your Posture With These Exercises and Stretches

Most people feel like they could improve their posture, yet they are not quite sure where to start.  I will list some key stretches and exercises that will help improve your posture, but first we need to determine what is causing our poor posture.

Most of us spend too much time sitting. Add up all the time we spend sitting in the car, at home, and at work and it may equal more than half your waking hours. The problem stems from the way we typically sit, or slouch, hours at a time in front of a computer, or behind the wheel of a car, or slumped on the couch at home.  Typical poor sitting posture includes: neck protracted, shoulders internally rotated, hamstrings shortened, glutes and core muscles disengaged. Consistently sitting like this will inevitably lead to muscular imbalances that translate into poor posture.

When you do sit, remember to keep your back straight with your head in a neutral position. Allow your shoulder blades to sink into your back pockets. Align your ears over your shoulders, and your shoulders over your hips to avoid that forward slouch.

Better yet, sit on a stability ball, or replace the chair, even some of the time with a stand-up desk arrangement. At the least, incorporate frequent breaks into your workday to break up extended hours of sitting at a desk.

During your breaks from sitting, stand up and do some muscle activation exercises and dynamic stretches to wake up the lines of communication to underused muscles and to increase mobility in tight areas.

MUSCLE ACTIVATION EXERCISES:

Activate your core by pulling your belly button toward your spine; then raise your arms above your head and lean back slightly while balanced on one leg. Hold it for five seconds; then switch to the other leg.

Activate your hips by standing on one leg and moving your opposite leg back and to the side. Hold for five seconds; then switch legs. Or, stand on both legs and alternately squeeze one glute and then the other, as you sway side to side.

Specific stretches to improve posture:

Open up the chest with a doorway stretch.  Stand in a doorway with your hands on each side of the opening- allow your body to “enter the room” with your hands still on each side of the door opening behind you.  Hold for 30 seconds.

To stretch your back, start with a half wall hang. With your feet shoulder-width apart, place your hands against a wall. Slowly step away from the wall as you slide your hands down the wall until your hands, shoulders, and hips are aligned and parallel to the floor. Push your hands into the wall and pull your hips away from the wall as you feel a stretch in your lower back.

From the half wall hang, move into a full hang to target more of your hamstrings. Move your hands down the wall to the floor and hang with waist bent and head relaxed.

SHOULDER RETRACTION EXERCISE:

The shoulder retraction exercise helps vertically align your head and neck with your spinal column and helps your thoracic spine move into extension. The shoulder retraction exercise is designed to relax your tight neck and pectoral muscles.

Stand up straight and keep your feet about shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing straight ahead. Slowly contract your abdominal muscles to keep your hips in a stable position. With your arms dangling freely at your sides, flip your palms over to face directly ahead and then lower your shoulders down and back so that your shoulder blades move toward your spine. Push your breastbone out and up. Position your head so that it’s directly above your spinal column and then tuck your chin to your throat. Hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Perform this stretch one time per working hour.

REVERSE SHOULDER SHRUGS:

Perform reverse shoulder shrugs by standing or sitting up straight and keeping your head in a neutral position, directly above your spinal column. In one fluid motion, lift both of your shoulders toward your ears. Then roll your shoulders backward and down as your shoulder blades move toward your spine. This exercise helps extend your upper thoracic spine and opens up your chest. While you’re performing this exercise, you should feel a light stretch in your chest and shoulder muscles. Perform 20 reverse shoulder shrugs two to three times a day, five days a week or more if you’re doing a lot of computer work.

CHIN TUCK EXERCISE:

Perform the repetitive chin tuck exercise to stretch your neck muscles and promote better posture. The repetitive chin tuck exercise targets the muscles in your upper cervical spine, which are situated just below the base of your skull.

Perform the repetitive chin tuck exercise by standing tall and keeping your spine straight. This is your starting position. Keeping your gaze level, pull your head and neck straight back (without tilting your neck backward) and bring your chin to your throat. You should feel a light stretch in the back of your neck, just under the base of your skull. Hold your stretch for five to seven seconds and then return to your starting position. Repeat this exercise 10 times five days a week. To enhance your stretch, you can use your index finger to place gentle pressure on your chin.

My favorite “improve your posture exercise” involves a stability ball, also known as a Swiss ball, this passive stretch should be part of your daily routine.  Lie with your back supported by the stability ball. Plant your feet firmly in the ground, hip-distance apart.  Open your arms to the sides of the room and let them hang so you feel a stretch in your chest muscles. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.  This exercise feels great as it unloads your spine from gravity and reverses the forward hunched posture we get from prolonged sitting.

To learn these and more Postural Restoration exercises in person, come to my next workshop, Postural Restoration.  Included in the class is a new Stability Ball pumped up for you.

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