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.

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

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

The Benefits of Yoga

I recently started practicing Yoga again on a weekly basis, and I wanted to share some of the Health benefits that I have found from practicing Yoga.  I always feel mentally and physically refreshed after practicing yoga, and here are some of the benefits listed.

Physical Benefits

Many people find that the relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, and headaches.

Other physical benefits of yoga include:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased muscle strength and tone
  • Improved respiration, energy and vitality
  • Maintaining a balanced metabolism
  • Weight reduction
  • Cardio and circulatory health
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Protection from injury

Mental Benefits

Aside from the physical benefits, one of the best benefits of yoga is how it helps you manage stress, which is known to have devastating effects on the body and mind.  I see it every day with my patients…stress can reveal itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, and an inability to concentrate. Yoga can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life.

Yoga’s incorporation of meditation and breathing can help improve a person’s mental well-being. Regular yoga practice can help create mental clarity and calmness; increase your body awareness; relieve chronic stress patterns; relax your mind; and maybe even sharpen concentration.

While there are more than 100 different types, or schools, of yoga, most sessions typically include breathing exercises, meditation, and assuming postures that stretch and flex various muscle groups.

Beginners Are Welcome

Because there are so many different kinds of yoga practices, it is possible for anyone to start.

There are more than 100 different forms of yoga. Some are fast-paced and intense. Others are gentle and relaxing.

Examples of different yoga forms include:

Hatha – the form most often associated with yoga, it combines a series of basic movements with breathing.

Vinyasa – a series of poses that flow smoothly into one another.

Power – a faster, higher-intensity practice that builds muscle.

Ashtanga – a series of poses, combined with a special breathing technique.

Bikram – also known as “hot yoga,” it’s a series of 26 challenging poses performed in a room heated to a high temperature.

Iyengar a type of yoga that uses props like blocks, straps, and chairs to help you move your body into the proper alignment.

Getting Started

Classes are a great way to get into yoga, even if you’re already pretty fit. In addition to yoga studios, classes are widely available at health clubs, community centers and spas. Most of these places offer introductory or gentle yoga classes that will familiarize you with the basic yoga format and style.

Give Yoga a go, you might be surprised how much you like it.

I believe that Yoga is a lot like Chiropractic in that they both focus on your body’s natural tendency toward health and self-healing.

If you have any questions about this Blog or your health in general you can contact me at: drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com

 

Bioelectric Medicine or Electroceuticals : The Future of Modern Medicine?

The future of medicine maybe closer than you think!  Bioelectric Medicine and Electroceuticals are top name contenders for this new branch of medicine.  As researcher’s better understand and learn how to manipulate the electrical impulses of the nervous system we will have more targeted and safer ways to treat disease and stay healthy.  Last year clinical trial was published demonstrating a small electrical device  implanted in the neck near the vagus nerve to eliminate the cause of inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis showed positive results in 12 out of 17 patients.   Medicare already pays for electrical treatments of Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.  A well known example of Bioelectric Medicine are Pacemakers which have been used to electrically regulate heart rhythms for decades.

Venture capitalists have already invested $100 million in Biomedical Medicine.  Imran Eba of Action Potential Venture Capital located in Cambridge said, “If we can understand how…electric signals travel through the nervous system…then we can start treating disease in a totally different way.”   New advances in medicine are always exciting.  Influencing the nervous system is fascinating.  Influencing the nervous system to restore and maintain health is not new news to the chiropractic profession!  Chiropractors have been influencing the optimizing nerve energy in the body since its founding in 1895!

In 1895, chiropractic care began in Davenport, Iowa.  The founder, D.D. Palmer‘s first adjustment did not relieve low back pain, it restored deafness! The story goes; D.D. Palmer was a self -taught healer.  (Prior to the Flexner Report in 1910 medical training was not standardized and many healers were self-taught.  D.D. Palmer was on those self-taught healers).  Harvey Lillard was a janitor in the building D.D. Palmer had his practice in.    Harvey was almost completely deaf.  Seventeen years earlier while in a cramped, stooped position, he felt a pop in his spine and went deaf.

After hearing Harvey’s history and feeling his spine, D.D. Palmer postulated that there was a bone out of place interfering with the flow of energy in the nervous system.  He got permission from Harvey to push the vertebrae back into place.  Immediately after Harvey’s hearing was restored.  D.D. Palmer proclaimed that he corrected the flow of nerve energy which restored his hearing.

I was deaf 17 years and I expected to always remain so, for I had doctored a great deal without    any benefit. I had long ago made up my mind to not take any more ear treatments, for it did me no good. Last January Dr. Palmer told me that my deafness came from an injury in my spine. This was new to me; but it is a fact that my back was injured at the time I went deaf. Dr. Palmer treated me on the spine; in two treatments I could hear quite well. That was eight months ago. My hearing remains good. HARVEY LILLARD,

D.D. Palmer named this new healing art that restores nerve energy flow chiropractic, which comes from a Greek work which means “done by hand”.  D.D. Palmer in his voluminous writings preferred to use the term “dis-ease” rather than disease to explain many human ailments.  He defined dis-ease as “too much or not enough nerve energy”.   Today research continues to prove D.D. Palmer’s theory’s correct on many levels.  Your body can not be healthy unless the brain can communicate properly to all the cells of the body, and this communication is electric.  Conventional wisdom now points to the fact that nerves can get pinched by herniated discs, but probably more often spinal joints don’t move correctly and get stuck which irritates the nerves.  The original premise of Chiropractic is that adjustments, or spinal manipulation, puts motion back into the spine which corrects the electrical impulses of the nervous system which control all the systems in the body.

Chiropractic care for those who keep up with the literature is the most effective, safest and most cost-effective treatment for musculoskeletal problems. Ninety-Five percent (95%) or more of my patients present for pain syndromes associated with the spine.  Sitting, computers, cell phones and just standing on 2 legs can be challenging to the spine and the delicate nervous system.  Maybe it’s time for all of us to stay healthy by keeping nerve energy flowing optimally to present dis-ease.

Medical advances are amazing and as a result we are living longer and more productive lives.  Maybe Bioelectric Medicine is the future of healthcare since there is promise that it can target cells and malfunctions in the body without the side-effects and cost of modern medicine.  Still, we should always start first with the body’s ability to heal itself naturally.  Chiropractic care has always been a big part of natural healing because it optimizes the function of the nervous system and optimizes nerve energy so the brain communicates properly to the various organ systems in the body.  In 34 years of practice it is amazing how many patients who came to see me because of back pain comment on how their digestive issues or allergies have improved or cleared up. How is your nervous system energy functioning?  If you are not sure, start the New Year with a nervous system function check-up at Performance Health Center.

For more information please email me at drbradweiss@performancehealthcenter.com
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Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

This is the time of year (colder temperatures and shorter days) that you might want to add in a daily Vitamin D supplement.  Recent statistics show that most people aren’t getting enough vitamin D to stay healthy. This is called vitamin D deficiency. It is estimated that over one billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency. You may not get enough vitamin D if:

  • You don’t get enough sunlight. Your body is usually able to get all the vitamin D it needs if you regularly expose enough bare skin to the sun. However, many people don’t get enough sunlight because they spend a lot of time inside and/or because they use sunscreen. It’s also difficult for some people to get enough vitamin D from the sun during the winter.
  • You don’t take supplements. It’s very difficult to get enough vitamin D from the foods you eat alone.
  • Your body needs more vitamin D than usual, for example if you’re obese or pregnant. 

WHO IS AT RISK FOR VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY?

  • People with darker skin. The darker your skin the more sun you need to get the same amount of vitamin D as a fair-skinned person. For this reason, if you have dark skin, you’re much more likely to have vitamin D deficiency than someone who is fair skinned
  • People who spend a lot of time indoors during the day
  • People who cover their skin all of the time. For example, if you wear sunscreen or if your skin is covered with clothes
  • People that live in the North of the United States or Canada. This is because there are fewer hours of overhead sunlight the further away you are from the equator
  • Older people have thinner skin than younger people and this may mean that they can’t produce as much vitamin D
  • Infants that are breastfed and aren’t given a vitamin D supplement. If you’re feeding your baby on breast milk alone, and you don’t give your baby a vitamin D supplement or take a supplement yourself, your baby is more likely to be deficient in vitamin D
  • Pregnant women
  • People who are very over weight (obese).

Regardless of cause, deficiency of vitamin D has significant medical and psychological consequences. Every tissue in the body has vitamin D receptors, including the brain, heart, muscles, and immune system, which means vitamin D is needed at every level for the body to function.

Vitamin D is also the only vitamin that is a hormone. After it is consumed in the diet or absorbed (synthesized) in the skin, vitamin D is then transported to the liver and kidneys where it is converted to its active hormone form. Vitamin D as a hormone assists with the absorption of calcium, helping to build strong bones, teeth and muscles.

In addition to its well-known role in calcium absorption, vitamin D activates genes that regulate the immune system and release neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, serotonin) that affect brain function and development. Researchers have found vitamin D receptors on a handful of cells located in regions in the brain-the same regions that are linked with depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mood disorder featuring depressive symptoms, occurs during the dark times of the year when there is relatively little sunshine, coinciding with the sudden drop in vitamin D levels in the body. Several studies have suggested that the symptoms of SAD may be due to changing levels of vitamin D, which may affect serotonin levels in the brain.

Mental health is one of many types of ailments connected to vitamin D deficiency. For more information on vitamin D and its links to mental and physical health please visit the organization Vitamin D Council at www.vitamindcouncil.org  founded by Executive Director John J. Cannell, M.D. Cannell, a trained psychiatrist, founded the Vitamin D Council in 2003 with a keen interest in clinical nutrition and a strong conviction that vitamin D deficiency, a highly preventable yet prevalent condition, contributes to many physical and psychological conditions affecting scores of people. 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY?

The symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are sometimes vague and can include tiredness and general aches and pains. Some people may not have any symptoms at all.

If you have a severe vitamin D deficiency you may have pain in your bones and weakness, which may mean you have difficulty getting around. You may also have frequent infections. However, not everyone gets these symptoms.

If you think you may have vitamin D deficiency, you should see your physician, or have a blood test to check your vitamin D levels. 

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE DEFICIENT?

The way doctors measure if you’re deficient in vitamin D is by testing your 25(OH) D level, but most doctors just call this a vitamin D blood test. Getting this blood test is the only accurate way to know if you’re deficient or not, so ask your PCP for this test. 

HOW CAN YOU GET MORE VITAMIN D?

There are two ways to get more vitamin D: by exposing your bare skin to the sun or by taking vitamin D supplements.

There is much less sunlight at this time of year, so it’s a good time to take supplements.

WHAT DO WE NEED VITAMIN D FOR?

  • It is crucial for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous, which have various functions, especially the maintenance of healthy bones.
  • It is an immune system regulator.
  • It may be an important way to arm the immune system against disorders like the common cold, say scientists from the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston.
  • It may reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis is much less common the closer you get to the tropics, where there is much more sunlight, according to Dennis Bourdette, chairman of the Department of Neurology and director of the Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Center at Oregon Health and Science University, USA.
  • Vitamin D may have a key role in helping the brain to keep working well later in life, according to a study of 3000 European men between the ages of 40 and 79.
  • Vitamin D is probably linked to maintaining a healthy body weight, according to research carried out at the Medical College of Georgia, USA.
  • Various studies have shown that people with adequate levels of Vitamin D have a significantly lower risk of developing cancer, compared to people with lower levels. Vitamin D deficiency was found to be prevalent in cancer patients regardless of nutritional status, in a study carried out by Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SUPPLEMENTS?

We offer Metagenics Vitamin D3 which is the best form of Vitamin D to take:

This is the version your body prefers, and one Ultra concentrated Metagenics Vitamin D3 (easy to swallow) soft gel has 5000 IU in a single dose.  You can get yours here at Performance Health Center.

We have made it easy for you to enjoy the convenience and savings by ordering nutritional supplements online! Visit and order directly from our Metagenics site:  Performancehealth.metagenics.com

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

For the month of December 2017, get 10% the regular price of Vitamin D

Combat Cold and Flu Season with Echinacea!

Believe it or not, many people are unaware of what Echinacea is, and all the benefits of this powerful little herb.  Echinacea is native to various areas east of the Rocky Mountain Range, but is also grown in more western parts of the United States, Canada, and Europe.  There are several types of Echinacea grown.  The leaves, flowers, and roots of this herb were first used by the Great Plains Indian Tribes for medicine and to make herbal remedies.  Settlers later on began using this herb for medicinal purposes as well.  And, for a little trivia that I didn’t even know about…from 1916-1950, Echinacea was listed in the US National Formulary, and fell out of favor in the US when antibiotics were discovered. Boo!!!

Good news though…more people are becoming re-engaged in the use and benefits of Echinacea, because more and more antibiotics are becoming more resistant to certain strains of bacteria.   It seems that Echinacea contains some types of chemicals that can directly flight yeast and certain kinds of fungi.  Echinacea activates chemicals in the body to help reduce inflammation, and laboratory research also shows that it can stimulate the body’s immune system. Echinacea is largely used to combat infections, including the common cold, flu, and many upper respiratory infections.  There are various ways people use Echinacea to combat these infections.  Some people will take Echinacea at the first signs of a cold, and some people will use the herbal remedy after their symptoms have started to help minimize the severity of the infection.

Echinacea can be used to fight many other infections such as tonsillitis, strep throat, ear infections, swine flu, malaria, typhoid, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, indigestion, anxiety and rheumatoid arthritis.  If not taking this herb orally, Echinacea can be applied to the skin to treat boils, gum disease, skin wounds, ulcers, burns, bee stings, hemorrhoids, herpes simplex, and the list goes on. And, believe it or not, Echinacea can be injected to treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections as well.  WOW! I had no idea until researching this little herb that Echinacea could be used to treat so many things.

Echinacea comes in many forms nowadays.  Tablets, juice and tea seem to be among the more popular choices in the US.  However, in the US particularly, there are more concerns about the quality of some of the Echinacea products being sold commercially.  It seems as though some types of Echinacea products are being mislabeled, and don’t actually even contain Echinacea in them!  Really?  Just because the label reads “standardized”, I guess it doesn’t always mean much these days. Some of the Echinacea products are even contaminated with lead, arsenic, and selenium.  YUM!

With that being said, it is very important that you make sure you are purchasing all supplements, herbal or not, from a reputable source.  If you are unsure of which brand to purchase, be sure to ask your health care professional which brand they would recommend.  At our office, we carry the brand, Metagenics.  Many types of doctor’s offices carry this brand, as it is highly reputable, and what is listed on the label is actually what is in the bottle (funny how that is supposed to work, hmmm).  Should any of you have any questions about Echinacea, or any other supplements for that matter, feel free to ask me when you are in the office for a visit, or email me at: drv@performancehealthcenter.com.

For the month of December 2017, get 10% the regular price of Echincea
 

Do You Know How Much Your Child’s Backpack Weighs?

Your child’s backpack should never weigh more than 15% of their body weight. Every years we give a series of Backpack Safety Workshops at a local Middle School. A random sampling of the student’s backpacks found the majority were 25-30% of their body weight. Only one student’s backpack was below 15%.

Heavy backpacks are one of the major causes of back pain in school age students. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics 6% of 10 year olds and 18% of 14-16 year olds have low back pain. Only 7% of those children with low back pain seek medical treatment.

There are many causes of low back pain in children including laptops, sitting, smart phones and poor posture. Here we will focus on backpacks. Below are important tips to make backpacks less dangerous to your school aged children:

  • Make sure your backpack weighs no more than 10 – 15% of your body weight
  • Empty your backpack periodically to insure it contains no unnecessary items
  • Make sure your backpack hangs no more than 4 inches below your waist
  • Use both straps!
  • Use thickly padded straps
  • If your backpack has a waist strap, use it!
  • Always place the heaviest items closed to your back (your center of gravity)
  • Always lift with your legs, without twisting

Now is a great time to weigh your child’s backpack. If it weighs more than 15% of their body weight, go through it and make sure it only contains what they need for school. If you child complains of back pain take it seriously and seek chiropractic care ASAP. If your school would be interested in our Backpack Safety Workshop please contact me. We do these as a public service. It is also important to measure torso length first in order to choose the right backpack.

DrBradWeiss@PerformanceHealthCenter.com

“The Wayland Middle School Wellness department is so thankful to have partnered with the amazing chiropractors at Performance Health Center for a second year. Through their generous donation of time, we were able to teach over 200 6th graders about proper posture, how to properly pack a backpack, and how to prevent injuries by teaching them the guidelines on how to wear a backpack properly.”

Pam Riddle, M.Ed., ATC, CMT

Wellness & Health Teacher

Dynamic Stretching, the “Pre-workout”

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Need Sleep?

How did you sleep last night?  If you answered not well, you are not alone!  30% of all Americans have sleeping problems.  The National Institute of Health recommends 7-9 hours a sleep for adults (18-64 years old).  If you are not getting the minimum hours of sleep you put yourself at risk. Sleep is vital for good health and healing.

New research has shown that the brain cleans itself when you sleep. The brain actually shrinks and there is a significant increase of cerebrospinal fluid pumped into and out of the brain.  This action washes away proteins that are toxic to your brain cells. Without a good night sleep these toxins build up. Beta Amyloid, which forms sticky plaques in the brain and is associated with Alzhiemers, is one of the waste products removed from the brain when you sleep.

Web MD lists 10 serious effects of sleep loss: 1- Increased accidents (100,000 fatigue related car accidents a year); 2-Dumbs you down; 3-Increased risk of serious health problems (including- heart disease & stroke); 4- Kills sex drive; 5-Depression; 6- Ages your skin; 7- Forgetfulness; 8- Weight Gain; 9- Increased risk of death;  and 10- Impairs judgement. http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/10-results-sleep-loss#1

You know who you are.  Do you lie in bed at night wired?  Are you sending out emails a 2 or 4 AM?   Do you feel like your brain is in a fog most of the day?  Chances are you are sleep deprived.  There are dozens of reputable websites which have tips for a good night’s sleep.  These tips include: exercising regularly; avoiding caffeine products after 3pm; No TV or electronic devices  in the bedroom;  keeping your bedroom dark; going to sleep the same time every night; avoiding back-lit reading devices before bed; avoid big meals in the evening; avoid alcohol before bed; get fresh air during the day; and there are more.

What if you do these things and you still can’t consistently get a good night’s sleep?   There are prescription medications and some over-the –counter products you can try. The problem is that many of them have side effects.  They can also cause you to wake up feeling “out of it” and not well rested.

There is a sleep aide that has been used for 1000s of years and has no down-side. It is not addictive and there are no side-effects.  I have been recommending this herbal supplement for years to my patients who complain of not being able to sleep.  The herb is Valerian root, and I recommend the Metagenics formula MyoCalm PM.  In addition to Valerian root it also contains magnesium and calcium which relax muscles.  There is also Passionflower, hops and lemon balm, which also have calming effects.

Two weeks ago we were having dinner with some friends, only to hear for the 1st time that the father and oldest child were having significant sleep problems.  They had tried everything and were at wits end, especially for the teenager.  I told them about Valerian root and they were more than willing to try it.  The great news is that both are sleeping much better!

So, if you do not sleep well at night and you have exhausted all the most popular tips, why not give Valerian root a try.   We always have MyoCalm PM in the office.   If you are reading this at 3 AM because you can not sleep, you can even order metagenics products on-line.  Go to http://performancehealth.metagenics.com/store  and create an account.  You get 20% off your 1st order and the shipping is always free!