Duncan Blog

Dr. Eric Duncan Blog

Duncan Chiropractic Group P.C.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Tip Of The Month

Tips To Make Things Last Longer And Save Your Hard-Earned Money...

Times are tough. The economy is bad. Use these simple tips to make what you have last longer, save money, and make your life easier and more secure...

Very few people have money to burn these days. Most are just trying to make ends meet. Too many are really struggling to keep their home and feed their family. What many people don't understand is just how large of an impact a handful of small changes can make. For example, according to http://www.simplyinsulate.com/, "If your home is as little as 5 to 10 years old, you likely have one of the 46 million under-insulated homes in the U.S., according to the Harvard University School of Public Health. Adding more insulation is easy. Plus, insulation is one of the lowest cost options for improving the energy efficiency of your home. It pays off fast and keeps paying off with better comfort and energy savings for as long as you own your home."

Free Guide To Save You Money

If you go to http://www.simplyinsulate.com/, you can download a guide from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help you make your home energy efficient and save money for years and years. The site even has an "energy savings calculator" you can use to find out an estimate of how much you will save by making your home energy efficient. Decreasing both heat and air conditioning bills can really add up.

How Your Car Can Save You Money

Another great way to save money is to keep your car in tip top shape. This will not only seriously decrease your odds of a very expensive breakdown in the middle of nowhere... it will save you money for gas, tires, repair bills and your car will last much longer. Keeping your tires properly inflated is extremely important. Underinflated tires cause you to burn more gas and wear out much faster - not to mention safety issues. Rotating tires every 5,000-8,000 miles can dramatically expand the life of your tires.

Tires And Pressure?

Also, having the right size tires for you car will actually save you money. Smaller tires may be cheaper today, but they will wear much faster and have to be replaced. Keep a tire pressure gauge in your glove compartment and check the pressure at least once a week. Tire pressure gauges are only a few bucks and can be purchased in many stores or gas stations. And make sure you get the oil changed every 3,000 miles and have a mechanic you trust keep you up-to-date on all other scheduled maintenance. Changing the oil routinely is one of the most important things you can do to keep your car running properly for years and years. Keeping up with regular maintenance is always cheaper in the long run than "driving until something breaks." Ironically, the same is true about your body and health. :-) As a general rule - spend a little to maintain now as opposed to a lot later.

Remember, we're always here to help your body heal and maintain the health you deserve.

Did You Know?

Shoppers who do not regularly wash their reusable grocery bags may be placing themselves and their families at heightened risk of food borne illness.

It is estimated there are about 76,000,000 cases of food borne illness in the United States every year. Most of these illnesses originate in the home from improper cooking or handling of foods. Reusable bags, if not properly washed between uses, create the potential for cross-contamination of foods.

Only 3 percent of shoppers wash their reusable grocery bags out regularly. Most shoppers don't use separate bags for meat and produce, and some shoppers even use their bags for toting objects other than food. Contamination potential exists when raw meat products and foods traditionally eaten uncooked (fruits and vegetables) are carried in the same bags, either together or between uses. This risk can be increased by the growth of bacteria in the bags.

Washing the bags by machine or hand reduces bacterial presence to nearly zero.

The Lazy Person's Way to Weight Loss...

Study Says: SLEEP MORE To Drop Pounds!

Are you lazy? Come on - it's just the two of us. You can admit it and it will be our little secret!
Well, even if you aren't "lazy," I'm sure you look for the quickest and easiest way to get things done.

For example, if you had these two weight loss programs - that work equally as well - which one would you pick...
1. You have to wake up at 5:00 a.m. every day and run 5 miles, then you eat almost nothing for breakfast, then almost nothing for lunch, then you workout like a dog for 2 hours after work, and eat a teeny tiny dinner. Then, you go to bed and do it all over again tomorrow. And you do this every day. Or...
2. You take a pill, sleep late... and wake up skinny.
Obviously, you'd probably choose #2. Any sane person would - as long as the "pill" was safe.
Anyways, you get the point.
Well, there is no "pill" that works like that. But, a study has just been published that claims sleeping is a very important part of weight loss.
In fact, research from the University of Chicago showed dieters who slept for 8.5 hours lost 55 percent more body fat than dieters who slept only 5.5 hours.
The authors of the study stated, "Lack of sufficient sleep may compromise the efficacy of typical dietary interventions for weight loss and related metabolic risk reduction."
Researchers think sleep may affect levels of a hormone called ghrelin. Increased levels of this hormone have been shown to increase appetite and increase fat retention. The subjects in this study who slept less claimed to be hungrier than those who slept more. According to the study's authors: "Together, these results suggest that the loss of sleep at times of limited food intake amplifies the pattern of ghrelin-associated changes in human hunger, glucose, fat utilization, and energy metabolism." It should be noted the sample size in this study was small and further research on this subject is needed to make definitive conclusions. While we are on the weight loss topic, here's another study you might find interesting...

Diet & Exercise?
USA Today reports two-thirds of people in the United States are overweight. "Overweight" is defined as being 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight. This means 66% of Americans, because of their weight, are at higher risk for Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and even some types of cancer. That's why it is so important to lose weight if you are overweight. New research published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared exercise combined with diet versus diet only.

Here's what researchers found... At six months, people in the diet-and-exercise group lost an average of 24 pounds and had better reduction in belly fat and liver fat than those in the delayed-exercise group, who lost an average of 18 pounds. After a year, people in the diet-and-exercise group lost 27 pounds compared to 22 pounds in the delayed-exercise group. "This shows that a traditional diet-and-exercise program can work for people who are very obese," says lead author, Bret Goodpaster, an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Most participants in the study lost between 30-40 pounds... but a handful lost nearly 100.

Recently, a study published in the September 2008 Journal of Obesity raised a few eyebrows. The study contrasted diet versus exercise for weight loss and concluded that, even though exercise may be good for strengthening bones and muscles, improved mental health and mood, lowering blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels and reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer... it may not be the best thing for weight loss. According to one of the study's authors: "We would love to say that physical activity has a positive effect on weight control, but that does not appear to be the case." This obviously contradicts the previous study mentioned in this newsletter, at least on the surface. This is one of the problems with studies - they are often conflicting, which is why common sense must enter into your decision-making process.

Researchers in the last study mentioned the reason exercise may not have been effective in weight less is because an increase in exercise may cause people to eat more. This clearly does not mean exercise is not effective - it means people were unable to control what they ate. Just because some people use a little exercise as an excuse to eat whatever they want does not mean exercise is not effective.

"All Natural" Foods That Are Far From All Natural

We all want to eat as healthy as possible, but with time constraints and money issues, eating right can be very difficult. Now there is one more hurdle you must watch out for...

And that hurdle is: Food companies making blatantly false claims about their products. For example, Ben & Jerry's seems to be a great company. They contribute greatly to many causes such as family farmers, climate change, etc. - all great stuff. But, their claim that their ice cream is made from "all natural" ingredients is false.

According to food.change.org; "The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recently asked Ben & Jerry's to remove the 'all natural' stamp from its ice cream containers, claiming that ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, alkalized cocoa, and hydrogenated oil are far from natural. These ingredients are, in fact, quite heavily processed." Ben & Jerry's heeded CSPI's demands and agreed to remove the "all natural" label from its ice cream containers.

Ben & Jerry's may be the one taking heat from CSPI, but the ice cream maker is hardly alone in its misuse of the "all natural" label. Other ice-cream makers like Edy's/Dreyer's, Breyer's, Friendly's, Turkey Hill, and more do the same exact thing. This problem is not isolated to just ice cream. The real problem is that while the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates the "all natural" claim, they have no real definition of what an "all natural" food item is.

Ben & Jerry's voluntarily removed the "all natural" label from its products. Others have not.

Do You Or Your Kids Eat McDonalds?

This is a shock - but not surprising. Manhattan artist, Sally Davies, photographed a McDonald's Happy Meal every day for 6 months. The results? The Happy Meal did not appear to age. There was no mold or evidence of decay. In fact, the pictures at 6 months show it to look as fresh as the day it was bought.

Here's something even more shocking: Wellness educator and nutrition consultant, Karen Hanrahan, has kept a McDonald's hamburger since 1996 to illustrate its nonexistent ability to decay. Aside from drying out a bit and having "the oddest smell," it apparently hasn't changed much in the past 12 years.

Something to think about before stopping at the drive-thru...

And don't forget, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your health talk to us. Contact us with your questions. We're here to help and don't enjoy anything more than participating in your lifelong good health.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tip Of The Month

Shocking And Surprising Things Chefs Don't Want You To Know - What order makes them mad and what THEY never order when they go out to eat.Roaches? Recycled Bread? And What Happens To Your Food When You Send It Back!!!

Have you seen the movie, "Waiting..."? If not, it's about shenanigans that go on at a restaurant by the waiters, managers and cooks. It's a comedy and not "real." But, it shows a lot of things people are afraid actually happens behind the scenes when they go out to eat.

For example, one customer sends his steak back because it is not cooked to his liking. So what does the cook do? He freaks out. Throws the steak on the floor... says, "oooops"... picks it up and puts it back on the grill. The movie shows a lot worse than that!

Well, does any of this stuff really occur? And besides that - what are some of the things chefs probably don't want you to know? Food Network Magazine surveyed thousands of Chefs (anonymously) across the country - and here's what they found...

Chefs Are Picky Eaters But Hate Picky Eaters!

Yes... this may be a little contradictory. But come on - you probably don't like some of the things you do either! According to the survey, 60% of chefs said requests for substitutes were annoying. One of the biggest annoyances was when customers "pretend" to be allergic to something. Hmmmm... one has to wonder how they knew they were "pretending?"

Chefs Have Expensive Taste And Avoid Pasta And Chicken

The restaurant chefs listed the most as "best in the country" was The French Laundry in California's Napa Valley. Dinner there is $240 per person, before wine. They avoid chicken and pasta because they are often the most over-priced items on the menu. Ironically, they like fast food... Wendy's topping the list.

What About Roaches?

Are you sitting down? You are... good. 75% said they have seen roaches in the kitchen! Also, on a scale of 1-10, 85% of chefs rate their kitchen as an 8 or above for being clean.

Do Chefs Spit In Your Food If You Send It Back?

Only 13% said they saw chefs do bad things to people's food. The worst was, "Someone once ran a steak through a dishwasher after the diner sent it back twice. Ironically, the customer was happy with it then." Three of the chefs said they re-used uneaten bread after it was taken back from the tables.

Chefs also work hard!

They average between 60-80 hours a week and work holidays. Their average pay is $75,000 a year. And there's more... like menu specials are often experimental dishes, fresh fish deliveries do NOT come on Sundays, and the appropriate tip for your meal is 20%. The complete article can be found by googling "25 Things Chefs Never Tell You Food Network Magazine".

Remember, we're always here, using Chiropractic and Massage to help your body heal and maintain the health you deserve.

Did You Know?

Plants have been used for centuries as medicines.

Now, genetically modified plants can produce plastic, skin tissue agents and human blood proteins. Biotechnologists have created genetically modified (GM) plants that can grow plastic. They managed this by inserting 4 genes from plastic-producing bacteria into varieties of oilseed rape (Eurasian plant) and cress. Conventional plastics are made from oil and do not degrade easily, but the plant plastic is biodegradable. But it is expensive, costing five times more than petroleum-derived plastic.

Actually, mankind has been "genetically modifying" everything from food to dogs for many centuries, but in the past, the only tool has been selective breeding. There are a variety of ways that scientists now modify plants and animals with genetic engineering techniques.

In the meantime, before you grow your own plastic plants, take good care of your real plants. Clean them often, speak to them, and play them some nice music - there is a lot of research that shows playing melodic or classical music to plants makes them grow healthier.

Shocker: Heavy Drinkers Outlive Non-Drinkers?

Discover what a new paper in the Journal Alcoholism found that might make you fall off the wagon!

Is it possible? Can it be true? There is no way... right?

As revealed in a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, people who do NOT drink alcohol do NOT live as long as people who do.

According to an article in Time Magazine, "Research suggests that -- for reasons that aren't entirely clear -- abstaining from alcohol does tend to increase one's risk of dying, even when you exclude former problem drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.

"Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies."

WOW! According to this paper, people who do not drink at all die sooner than heavy drinkers... not people who have a drink or two a night - but... HEAVY DRINKERS!

According to the article, a moderate drinker, defined as 1-3 drinks per day, had the lowest mortality rate.

Even though researchers do not know the real answer, there are plenty of theories as to why these findings exist.

One is that moderate alcohol consumption (especially red wine) can improve circulation, cardiovascular health and reduce stress. Stress reduction may be the most important item on the list. Here is why...

There is a vast amount of research linking stress to poor health, possible disease and shortened lifespan.

In fact, a press release from September 3, 2010 states researchers had finally found direct evidence linking stress to heart attacks.

It's All About HAIR

According to the press release, "Researchers at The University of Western Ontario have provided the first direct evidence using a biological marker, to show chronic stress plays an important role in heart attacks. Stressors such as job and marital and financial problems have been linked to the increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease including heart attack."

This study, published in the journal Stress, said researchers developed a method to measure cortisol levels in hair. This is important because cortisol levels are an indicator of stress levels and now the cortisol/stress level can be measured for several months leading up to the heart attack.

Until now, cortisol levels were only measured in saliva, urine and serum. Because of this, stress levels were only seen at the time of the measurement - not leading up to the event. Doctors and researchers have suspected for a long time that stress was bad for you but it has been hard to measure and "prove." Now, it looks like we can all say with relative accuracy... that...


This might shed new light on the alcohol research above. Maybe it's not alcohol as a chemical compound that is beneficial to your longevity... Maybe the key is alcohol's role in stress reduction.

Who knows? Right now, no one knows for sure, but we do know that correlation is not causation. In other words, just because drinkers live longer does not mean "alcohol is good for you." For example, if the reason drinkers live longer is actually due to a reduction in stress... then it may be possible to get the same results without alcohol consumption. Maybe learning to control stress through meditation and other ways will be found to be just as effective. The mind-body connection is what's really important. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, and science has now linked it to your stress levels, which basically links it to the way you think.

The way you handle situations in life every single day is actually a matter of not just happiness... but of...

Life and Death

So here's a little advice: Learn about stress and stress management ASAP. Most likely it will not only lead to a happier life... but a longer one.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tip of the Month

The "Technical" solution to kids getting a good night's sleep

Everyone wants the best for their children. And that's exactly why you will find this information so important...

So let's jump right in with the "technical" solution to kids getting a good night's sleep. Studies have recently shown kids are using forms of technology - such as cell phones, gaming systems and computers - late into the night. This not only keeps them up late, it can excite the brain so even when they try to sleep, it can be difficult. One of the worst things you can do right before bedtime is to surf the internet or play a video game. Your brain gets all "charged up" and it takes some time for it to relax so you can sleep soundly.

"Any factor that deteriorates the quality or quantity of sleep will lead to difficulty with school performance and behavior problems," said William Kohler, MD, Medical Director at Florida Sleep Institute. "When children stay up late at night texting in bed or playing computer games, they are increasing their risk for neuro cognitive problems."

According to an article published August 11, 2010 in Science Daily, "having a regular bedtime was the most consistent predictor of positive developmental outcomes in four-year olds. In this 8,000-person sample, language, reading and math scores were higher in children whose parents reported enforcing regular bedtimes."

It is important to keep the same bedtime and wake time seven days a week. Staying up late and sleeping in on weekends can make it difficult to re-adapt during the week. Constantly shifting sleep patterns is not a good idea. Maintaining a regular bedtime routine is important; doing the same thing every night like changing clothes, washing up and brushing teeth will signal the brain that it's time for sleep. Exercise, caffeine, and sugary foods should be avoided. The room for sleeping should be quiet, dark and kept cool... below 75 degrees. Technology should not be used for at least an hour before bedtime. According to the Science Daily article, "Insufficient sleep and poor sleep habits have been linked to health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, moodiness or irritability, reduced memory functioning, and delayed reaction time."

Did You Know?

The Human body is comprised of various body organs, cells and tissues which are functioning in a synchronized and cooperative manner. Each organ has its own very specialized function.

Following are the significant facts about the different organs and their functioning:

The purpose of eyebrows is to keep sweat from running into the eyes

Hair is the second fastest growing tissue on the body. Bone marrow is the first.

Hair is made out of the same substance as fingernails

Around 20% of the oxygen you breathe goes to your brain

You cannot properly tickle yourself as your brain knows that you are touching yourself and will not react in the same way as if something foreign were touching you

An adult human body requires around 90 pounds of oxygen per day

The heart produces enough pressure that it can squirt blood at a distance of over 35 feet

The human heart beats an average of 35,000,000 times per year - thus, the average human heart beats around 100,000 times per day

The volume of tears on the surface of our eyes is 7 micro liters (seven one thousands of a milliliter) when resting

Most common solid tissue to be transplanted in the world is the cornea.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A World Without Wrinkles or Skin Cancer?

...Have Scientists Finally Discovered How To Reverse Damaging Effects Of The Sun?

Have you ever gotten a sunburn? If you have, you are not alone. Most people, at one time or another, have played in the sun a little too long and turned a sweet shade of pink or even red. Until recently, the long-term damage done by sunburn was not fully known. Nowadays, most people now know the effects of a sunburn come out years later in the form of premature aging- like leathery skin, wrinkles and "sun spots." Even worse, overzealous sunbathing can cause skin cancer. But, what if there was a way to completely erase all the damage done to your skin by the sun? What if you could wipe out wrinkles, sun spots, rough skin and even skin cancer... and do it in a fraction of the time it takes you to blink an eye?

Wouldn't That Be Amazing And One Of The Best Scientific Discoveries Ever?

Well, scientists haven't quite discovered the ultimate cure for skin related aging and cancer yet... but with this incredible discovery, it looks like they are very close... Here's the discovery: Researchers have long known humans lack an enzyme that most other animals and plants have that reverses damage done by the sun.

Now, for the first time, researchers have actually seen how this enzyme works... on the atomic level... to repair sun damage. According to an article published in physorg.com, "The discovery holds promise for future sunburn remedies and skin cancer prevention. In the early online edition of the journal Nature, Ohio State University physicist and chemist, Dongping Zhong, and his colleagues describe how they were able to observe the enzyme called photolyase inject a single electron and proton into an injured strand of DNA. The two subatomic particles healed the damage in a few billionths of a second."

According to the article, Ultraviolet (UV) light damages cells by causing bonds in the DNA to form in the wrong places. Photolyase seems to break up the "wrong" bonds and "reset" them so atoms in the DNA can move back to their original positions.

Photolyase is present in all plants and most animals... even insects and bacteria. Only mammals are missing this enzyme. According to the article, "Now that researchers know the mechanism by which photolyase works, they might use that information to design drugs or lotions that heal sun damage, Zhong said. Normal sunscreen lotions convert UV light to heat or reflect it away from our skin. A sunscreen containing photolyase could potentially heal some of the damage from UV rays that get through." But until modern science actually comes up with the solution - the best thing to do is not get a sunburn.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Health Update: Carpal Tunnel

What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

So what IS CTS? According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (National Institutes of Health), CTS occurs as a result of the median nerve, which is located in the middle of the forearm and hand on the palm side, getting pinched or squeezed at the wrist. This results in numbness, or tingling and later, weakness in the part of the hand that is innervated by the median nerve (palm and index, 3rd and half of the 4th fingers). The reason this occurs so frequently is primarily due to the way the wrist is designed. There are 8 little wrist bones that make up the "tunnel."

There are 9 tendons that travel through the tunnel and the median nerve sits on top of the 9 tendons, just under the "roof" of the tunnel (a ligament). When the hands and fingers have to move rapidly such as when typing, playing piano, working on a fast paced, repetitive motion job (eg., packing cookies, meat packaging, etc.), the tendons rub together and create friction. As a result, the tendons swell and the median nerve gets squeezed or pinched between the swollen tendons and the roof (ligament). This process results in the symptoms: numbness, tingling, burning, itching, "half-asleep," driving numbness, difficulty picking up things with the finger tips, buttoning a shirt, grip/pinch weakness (opening a jar weakness), difficulty in differentiating between hot and cold, and sleep interruptions from the numb/tingling sensations. If not properly treated, the muscles at the base of the thumb can shrink ("atrophy").

Chiropractors are appropriately trained to diagnose and treat CTS - most importantly, WITHOUT SURGERY! The following represents a logical, effective chiropractic treatment approach for CTS: 1) Joint manipulation: this includes the hand, wrist, forearm, and in some cases, the elbow, shoulder, and neck; 2) Muscle release techniques: this may include deep tissue active release technique, spray and stretch, mobilization, contract/relax techniques, and teaching you how to perform some of these on your own; 3) Exercises: wall/wrist stretches, isometric and isotonic resistance; 4) Cock-up wrist splint use, especially at night; 5) Ergonomic modifications (workstation issues); 6) Physical therapy modalities such as low level laser therapy.

We realize that you have a choice in who you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend or family member require care for CTS, we would be honored to render our services.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Health Update: Low Back Pain

Running and Low Back Pain

Have you ever noticed every time you go running, you have lower back pain either during or after the run? If so, I'm sure you're wondering if you should quit running, find an alternative sport, or simply stop all activity and adopt a sedentary lifestyle. If you love the benefits of running and want to continue, is there anything you can do to make running tolerable? First, NEVER stop doing activity and adopt a sedentary lifestyle - it will start a slow decline with an unhappy ending! So let's see if we can make running work for you!

STRETCH: In general, stretching helps "warm up" your muscles and joints and can prevent the low back from hurting during or after your run. In past newsletters, we've reviewed simple stretches that can be done from a sitting position (when you're in a hurry), as well as others.

Yoga based exercises are also excellent!

FOOT STRIKE: The "proper" gait or, method your feet hit the ground is very important! To avoid low back injuries (not to mention foot, ankle, knee or hip injuries), run SMOOTHLY so the heel strike is gliding/glancing vs. a hard vertical load. The foot then "ROLLS" from heel to toe, first on the outside of the foot and then shifts to the inside during which time the arch flattens out, getting ready to "spring" you forward. The heel then lifts up and you push off the ball of the foot and big toe.

RUNNING POSTURE: Lean forwards when you run - DON'T run vertically like a Po-Go stick! By doing this, your momentum will be to move forwards - NOT downwards into the pavement (like a "jack hammer")!

CORE STRENGTHENING: By keeping your "core" (midsection) strong, your back is more supported and less likely to become injured. Core exercises include pelvic tilts, the "dead-bug", bridges, prone swimmers, lunges, squats, sit-ups, arch-ups, side bridges, 4-point kneeling/opposite arm/leg, and many others. These can be done on the floor and/or with a gym ball. Balance exercises are also very important!

RELAX: Have you ever noticed when some people run, they just look "tight" and uncomfortable.

RELAX - don't shrug your shoulders up to your ears; let your arms hang down bent at your sides; don't clench your teeth or make a fist - RELAX!!!

PADDED INSOLES: There are many brands of padded insoles - try some and see how they work for you.

RUNNING SHOES: The key here is TRY THEM ON and walk around inside the store. There are a lot of good supportive shoes so just find a brand that works for you!

FLAT FEET: This is common and NOT a reason to stop running. Ask us about foot orthotics and the function and importance of the arches.
We realize you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fibromyalgia: Exercise Recommendations

Health Update: Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic condition that affects the muscles of the body in a generalized way, producing pain that is usually located in many areas. This widespread pain can impact many aspects of one's life and disrupt jobs, hobbies, and relationships.

Last month, we discussed dietary strategies that can be employed to minimize the inflammatory process in the body.

This month, we will continue the concept, "...what else can I do to help myself?" When you adopt the dietary recommendations described last month with the exercise recommendations that will be presented here, this combination will have a dramatic effect on minimizing the activity disabling qualities of fibromyalgia.

Let's break exercise down into three categories: strengthening, stretching, and aerobics. It is recommended you choose exercises from each category that are most appealing to you so you can develop a "regular habit" with these approaches. Recognize that as long as you're breathing, you will need to exercise. It's not like, "...once I get into shape, I can stop and enjoy my healthy condition that I've worked hard to achieve." Hence, make exercise automatic - something that you "look forward" to doing (not dreading). Presented here are three categories of exercises - choose several from each category and mix them up - and do it EVERY DAY!!! * Bruegger's Stretch: Sit up VERY straight, extend the arms back (straight elbows) spread fingers, tuck chin, breath full/slowly and repeat 3 times.

Note, we can help teach these to you if you're not sure how to do these!

We recognize the importance of including chiropractic in your treatment planning and realize you have a choice of providers. If you, a friend or family member requires care for FM, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Monday, September 20, 2010

What Isn't Carpel Tunnel Syndrome?

That's a strange question....well, maybe not as crazy as it sounds! Knowing what isn't carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, may help you avoid an unnecessary surgery for a condition that looks very similar to CTS. Because CTS is such a common problem, it's not uncommon for other conditions to be mistakenly called "CTS." Because of that, subsequent surgical treatment will fail.

So, what are similar conditions you should know about? You'll be surprised at the possibilities: Pronator tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, radial tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, cervical radiculopathy, peripheral neuropathy, De Quervain's Disease, fracture/trauma, degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis), ganglion cysts, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), serum lupus erythymatosus (SLE), scleroderma, syringomyelia, multiple sclerosis, pregnancy, obesity, hypothyroid, gout, diabetes mellitus, Paget's Disease, acromegaly, mucopolysaccharidoses, eosinophilic fasciitis, hyperlipidemia...

Obviously, you get the picture. There are MANY conditions that can either contribute and/or "cause" CTS. So, let's discuss how we can determine what the condition is that may be causing CTS. CTS is "likely" if none of the above causes or contributes to these symptoms of CTS:

1. Numbness/tingling in the distribution of the median nerve in the hand only (not forearm) affecting the 2nd and 3rd (sometimes part of the 4th) fingers.

2. The need to shake and "flick" your fingers repeatedly during certain activities such as writing, sleeping, typing, driving, reading/holding a book / newspaper.

3. Waking up at night due to numbness.

4. Difficulty buttoning a shirt, picking up fine things, unscrewing a jar, riding a bike and more.

It may be necessary and appropriate to have some blood tests performed to help "rule out" (that means, "...get rid of..") some of the above long list of conditions. Some of these blood tests include (but are not limited to): a sedimentation rate (ESR), rheumatoid factor (RA), ANA antibody test (for SLE), uric acid (for gout), glucose (for diabetes mellitus), thyroid profile (for hypothyroid), lipid profile and even a Lyme's disease test to rule out the possibilities of that! If any of these blood test return "positive," get those conditions treated FIRST before consenting to CTS surgery so you can avoid having a poor / unsatisfying result.

Remember, you can always have surgery later, but you can't "undo" the surgery after the fact (if it doesn't help).

Therefore, why not consider a non-surgical treatment FIRST and if that fails, AND, blood tests prove none of the above conditions are present, THEN you can feel more comfortable that no underlying condition is present that is causing or adding to CTS. Some of the common non-surgical treatments you can expect from our chiropractic approach for CTS include: wrist manipulation / mobilization, active release technique (ART) applied to the flexor forearm muscles, night wrist splint use, low level laser therapy, activity modifications, ergonomic or work station modifications. Once you're sure no other underlying metabolic cause or contributor is present, call us and we will help you with our non-surgical, no negative side-effect treatment approach!

We realize you have a choice in who you are considering for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend or family member require care for CTS, we would be honored to render our services.

Tip Of The Month

Do You Know The Two Times You Should Not Eat Sugar?
Plus: Study shows Tylenol PM® and other common medications cause brain problems...

Do you know the two times you should not eat sugar? If you do not, eating sugar at these two times of the day can strain your system and wreak havoc on your strength, fitness and health. In just a moment, you will discover these two very important times.

But first, here's some important news about... Common Over The Counter Medications And Brain Damage...

According to a July 13, 2010 issue of Neurology, drugs called anticholinergics block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, and are widely-used medical therapies. They are sold over the counter under various brand names such as Benadryl®, Dramamine®, Excedrin PM®, Nytol®, Sominex®, Tylenol PM®, and Unisom®. Other anticholinergic drugs, such as Paxil®, Detrol®, Demerol® and Elavil® are available only by prescription.

Older adults most commonly use drugs with anticholinergic effects as sleep aids and to relieve bladder leakage problems. Researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine conducted a 6 year study with 1,652 African-Americans over the age of 70 with normal cognitive function.

Results: "We found that taking one anticholinergic significantly increased an individual's risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and taking two of these drugs doubled this risk. This is very significant in a population, African-Americans, already known to be at high risk for developing cognitive impairment," said Noll Campbell, PharmD, first author of the study.

Dr. Campbell is a Clinical Pharmacist with Wishard Health Services. "Simply put, we have confirmed that anticholinergics, something as seemingly benign as a medication for inability to get a good night's sleep or for motion sickness, can cause or worsen cognitive impairment, specifically long-term mild cognitive impairment which involves gradual memory loss. As a geriatrician I tell my Wishard Healthy Aging Brain Center patients not to take these drugs and I encourage all older adults to talk with their physicians about each and every one of the medications they take," said Malaz Boustani, M.D., IU School of Medicine Associate Professor of Medicine, Regenstrief Institute Investigator and IU Center for Aging Research Center Scientist.

Did You Know?

Vitamin D deficiency is widespread among infants and most pediatricians remain unaware of the problem. Only 5 to 13 percent of breast-fed infants receive at least 400 IU of Vitamin D per day, the amount currently recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Human breast milk is actually relatively low in Vitamin D, probably because during our evolutionary history most babies got plenty of exposure to sunlight. An infant would need to drink 32 ounces of fortified formula per day to get 400 IU of Vitamin D, an amount that is probably unrealistic for young children.

The body produces Vitamin D when exposed to UV-B radiation from sunlight. The nutrient is essential for the development and maintenance of bones and the immune system, and deficiency can increase the risk of soft or brittle bones, infection, cancer, heart disease and autoimmune disorders.

It is recommended that infants get no direct sunlight at all for the first six months of life, and that they wear protective clothing and sunscreen beyond that age. This effectively rules out the healthiest, most reliable source of this essential nutrient. Making matters worse, only 1 to 13 percent of children under the age of one take a Vitamin D supplement.

Do You Know These Facts About Drinking Coffee?

Do you want to walk up to someone you've never met and tell them something about themselves and be right more than 50% of the time?

If you do, all you have to do is tell them they drank coffee today.

More than half of Americans drink coffee every single day.

In fact, according to CBS news, "After oil, coffee is the second most valuable commodity in the world. More than 50 percent of Americans drink coffee every day -- 3 to 4 cups each, more than 330 million cups a day and counting." Many people use coffee as a crutch to wake up every day. I'm sure you've heard someone say, "I'm worthless until I have my first cup."

It's also common to see people drink coffee before they work out. If you've spent any time in gym, you've probably seen people actually drinking coffee during their workout!
But is all this coffee drinking good?

The answer is yes... and no...

A recent U.S. News and World Report article claims caffeine could be an asset to your workout. The article states, "Yes, a caffeine kick could be a valuable addition to your pre-exercise routine, delaying muscle fatigue and keeping you focused and energetic."

Then it goes on to warn, "You don't want to overdo it, though. Sleep problems, headaches, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, or maybe even a heart attack can result." WOW! We're not sure the benefits outweigh the risks.

Bottom line: Caffeine is a drug and ALL drugs have side effects. Most people make the mistake and believe if something is "natural," then it is safe (or at least safer than a drug). Snake venom is natural. So is Mercury. Some of the most toxic substances known to man are natural.

So, the big question for you is: do you really think it is a good idea to use a stimulant every single day of your life? It is entirely up to you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Simple "On-The-Go" Low Back Exercise

Health Update: Low Back Pain

"Doc, I try to do my exercises but I have to hit the ground running in the morning....to get the kids ready for the school bus....I have morning meetings....I'm not a morning person....I'm pulled in 100 directions during the day....I forget about them until I'm in bed....I exercise on my job and that's enough...."

I'm sure we've all rationalized our inability to keep up with exercises, especially after our episode of low back pain (LBP) subsides. In fact, only about 4% of LBP patients continue doing their exercises after their pain subsides. That means 96% of us with chronic, recurring low back pain DO NOT exercise even though we know we should. We feel bad, even guilty for not exercising. So, what can we do to "trick" ourselves into being more compliant with our low back exercises?

First, let's accept the fact that most of us cannot consistently "fit in" exercise into our busy schedules. With that said, the TIMING of when to do the exercise may be more important than even doing them at the same time every day. In other words, do a few exercises when you need them the most. For example, if you're working at a computer for more than 1 hour, and you start to feel back pain from the prolonged sitting - especially if your work station set up is less than ideal - do one or two sitting exercises right at your work station, BEFORE your back pain gets any worse. If you wait too long, the exercises may not be of much benefit. Setting a timer next to your screen that beeps every hour is a good reminder to do one or two simple exercises and only takes a minute or two. Many inexpensive digital watches can be set to beep on the hour/every hour or, you can set a "timer" to beep after 60 minutes as a "gentle" reminder. Some cell phones also have a timer feature. Here are three sit down low back exercise options (try them all and decide which one(s) feel most productive/helpful):

"Crossed Knee Stretch": Cross your legs; pull the crossed knee towards your opposite shoulder (feel the pull in your buttocks); arch your low back and at the same time, twist or rotate to the side of the crossed knee. Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat up to 3 times. Repeat this on the opposite side.

"Sit Twists": Reach across with your right hand and grasp your left leg at mid-thigh. Twist/rotate your back to the left and pull with your arm. Hold 5-10 seconds / repeat 3 times. Repeat this on the opposite side.

"Sit Floor Touches": Bend over as if to touch the floor or tie a shoe. Hold 5-10 seconds. If you do the math, it would take a minute for #1 and #2, 30 seconds for #3 (total 2.5 min.). If that's too long, hold for 5 seconds. If that's too long, do 1 rep, not 3. You get the idea.....MAKE IT WORK! Modify the dose to fit your schedule or ability to stretch. If you do this AT THE TIME you start to feel tight or sore, you can PREVENT a LBP episode!

We realize you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tip of the Month

World's Oldest Person Alive At 130?

Do you take good enough care of your body for it to last that long?
"If I knew I was going to live this long, I would've taken better care of myself."
Those words by Eubie Blake couldn't possibly have any more meaning than they do for Antisa Khvichava. Authorities from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia claim this remote villager recently turned 130, making her the oldest person on earth. She retired from picking tea and corn in 1965, when she was 85. She said she has always been healthy and worked her whole life.
It is difficult to verify her age due to wars and the collapse of the Russian empire, but she has two soviet-era documents that attest to her age. For all accounts, her mind is as sharp as ever, but her body has all but quit on her. Her fingers are so deformed she can no longer knit, and she struggles to walk. But, she refuses any help to get around when she has to.
While her mind-set and determination are admirable - but also realize how important it is to take care of the one body you are given. You never know how long you will need it. One has to wonder if she ate low-carbs or low-fat? :-)

Did You Know?

A human can live without food for almost a month but survive no longer than a week without water. The UN estimates a person needs a minimum of 50 liters of water a day for drinking, washing, cooking and sanitation. However, over a billion people do not have access to this minimum amount.

According to UNESCO, the world's population is appropriating 54% of all the accessible freshwater contained in rivers, lakes and underground aquifers. If per capita consumption of water resources continues to rise at its current rate, humankind could be using over 90% of all available freshwater within 25 years, leaving just 10% for all other living beings.

Freshwater lakes and swamps account for a mere 0.29% of the earth's freshwater. 20% of all surface freshwater is in one lake, Lake Baikal in Asia. Another 20% is stored in the Great Lakes. Rivers hold only about 0.006% of total freshwater reserves.

Mankind uses only a drop in the bucket of the total available water supply.

So where is all the water?

Antarctica is thought to hold about 75% of the world's fresh water (and 90% of the world's ice). In fact, almost 10 percent of the world's land mass is currently covered with glaciers, mostly in Antarctica and Greenland. But it will take more than a Zippo lighter to melt it for daily use.

For the United States, one crucial source is the huge underground reservoir which stretches from Texas to South Dakota, the 800-mile Ogallala aquifer. It provides an estimated third of all US irrigation water. In fact, 95% of the United States' fresh water is underground.

In Libya, the Great Man Made River Project, as it's called, is pumping some 6 million cubic meters of water a day from aquifers in the desert, providing irrigation for 150,000 hectares of land. Many countries have turned to aquifers to quench peoples' thirst.

Aquifers form over thousands of years, but many had been cut off from their original natural sources and are being steadily depleted. In some areas, like Mexico City, aquifer levels dropped by 3 - 5 feet a year, essentially sinking whole areas.

New Research: Cutting Carbs Better Than Low-Fat?

Eating fat is bad. No... wait... it's carbohydrates that are evil. One expert says one thing and then, another Doctor says something else. Back and forth... back and forth. Maybe that new infomercial selling the latest miracle weight loss product is the way to go? Who knows? In the meantime, you're confused and not losing any weight. Well, get ready for some possible answers... and a few more questions...

First, The Results Of A New Study

The June 19th, 2010 edition of The Endocrine Society reports, "[According to a new study ,] Obese women with insulin resistance lose more weight after three months on a lower-carbohydrate diet than on a traditional low-fat diet with the same number of calories..." The study's lead author, Raymond Plodkowski, MD, Chief of Endocrinology, Nutrition and Metabolism at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno wrote, "The typical diet that physicians recommend for weight loss is a low-fat diet... However, as this study shows, not all people have the same response to diets." According to the researchers, for this group of women, the lower carbohydrate diet is more effective, at least in the short term. The study lasted 12 weeks and was funded by Jenny Craig. It found the insulin resistant women on the lowest-carb diet lost 3.4 pounds more than those on the low-fat diet. Total calories for all groups were the same. The low-fat diet included 60% of its calories from carbs, 20% from fat, and 20% from protein. The low-carb diet included 45% of its calories from carbs, 35% from primary unsaturated fats, and 20% from protein. Both diets included a minimum of 2 fruits and 3 vegetable servings a day. The use of prepared meals made the structured diets easier and more palatable for the dieter. "These data have potential widespread applications for clinicians when counseling people with insulin resistance to help improve weight loss as part of a calorie-restricted diet," Plodkowski said. "They should at least initially lower their carbohydrate intake."

What Is Insulin Resistance?

Since the women in the above-mentioned study were all insulin resistant - you might be wondering, "what is insulin resistance?" Insulin resistance is a condition where the body produces insulin but does not use it properly. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas to break down glucose in the blood so it can be used for energy. Glucose is a form of sugar and is the body's #1 source of energy. After your digestive system breaks food down into glucose, glucose is then transported to different parts of your body via the bloodstream. Glucose in the blood stream is called "blood glucose" or "blood sugar." After you eat, blood glucose levels rise and your pancreas secretes insulin to allow cells to absorb and use the glucose. When people are insulin resistant, they do not respond properly to insulin. In other words, even though the pancreas secretes insulin, it is not effective in getting the glucose from the blood into the cells. More insulin is needed so the pancreas works harder and secretes more. Eventually, the pancreas cannot keep up with the increased demand and glucose builds up in the blood. This is the beginning of diabetes. It is common for diabetics to have high levels of both glucose and insulin circulating in the bloodstream. Insulin resistance not only sets the stage for developing Type 2 Diabetes, it increases the odds of the number one killer in America: heart disease. According to the American Diabetes Association: "People with diabetes have a higher-than-average risk of having a heart attack or stroke. These strike people with diabetes more than twice as often as people without diabetes."

What Causes Insulin Resistance?

Very good question. There seem to be several contributing factors. The first factor may be genetic. Some scientists think specific genes make certain people more susceptible to insulin resistance. But, genes aren't everything. Weight and lack of physical activity also seem to play a major role. Then, there are the types of food you eat... The more junk sugars (ice cream, candy bars, etc.) you eat, the more your little pancreas has to work to keep up with all the sugar that has been dumped into the bloodstream. Just like everything else, there is only so much work your pancreas can do. If the pace is too high for too long, it will basically burn out and quit. It is important to stop this process before it gets too far. Exercise, weight loss and proper diet can reverse many cases of insulin resistance and pre-diabetes. According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, "The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and other large studies have shown that people with pre-diabetes can often prevent or delay diabetes if they lose a modest amount of weight by cutting fat and calorie intake and increasing physical activity; for example, walking 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. Losing just 5 to 7 percent of body weight prevents or delays diabetes by nearly 60 percent. In the DPP, people aged 60 or older who made lifestyle changes lowered their chances of developing diabetes by 70 percent." With all of this information, the most important message to take away is this: Lifestyle has a major impact on your health. Different people react to different foods and diets in different ways, and it is important to pay attention to what you eat and figure out what is best for you. But no matter what, regular exercise and staying away from junk food loaded with bad fats and sugar is a very good idea. Research may not have all the answers yet, but to our knowledge, there is no study that says sitting on the couch stuffing your face with candy bars and ice cream is good for your health.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tip of the Month

Why Children Act Up! And What You Might To Do About It...

Raising children is one of the most challenging things you can ever do. Sometimes, they are your little angels and other times, your little devils.

The most difficult thing may be identifying what causes each behavior. It would make things a lot easier around your house if you knew exactly what to do to raise the perfect child, wouldn't it?

Well, while there is no "perfect formula," there are known (and common) reasons why some children misbehave. Just knowing and understanding these reasons can go a long way to creating a well-balanced child... and giving you some sanity!

The first and possibly biggest reason children misbehave is simply because they are trying to figure out the whole new and enormous world around them. The way they do this is to TEST BOUNDARIES. As they develop, they will test or push whatever boundaries and limitations their parents have established. Unfortunately, many times, limitations and boundaries are weak - if existent at all.

Boundaries must be strong and enforced CONSISTANTLY. A lack of consistency leads to a confused (and difficult) child. Since consistency is probably the most important factor, any difference between boundaries you set and your children have at school can cause a problem. Without consistency, children do not feel safe and comfortable. The world around them becomes a very strange and uninviting place. The end result is a greater level of testing of boundaries and increased stress.

This can also occur with separated or divorced parents. Oftentimes a "good cop - bad cop" dynamic takes place. One parent tries to set and enforce the rules, while the other is the "fun" parent who gives the child anything they want in an attempt to win them over. The child usually favors this parent in the short term, but ends up with behavior problems. The best thing to do is talk to your children's teachers and find out what is going on. The same holds true with separated parents. Although easier said than done, children must be put first.

Also, make sure your expectations are within your child's developmental stage. In other words, do not expect a 2 year old to have the attention span of a 5 or 6 year old. Make sure your children understand what is expected of them.

Children are much more likely to act up when they are hungry, tired or bored... so, make sure you have a daily routine that meets all these needs. It is much easier to stay ahead of these basic needs than try to play catch-up once it is too late.

One of the most important things to remember is that children mimic the behavior of their parents. "Do as I say, not as I do" doesn't cut the mustard. If you don't want your kids to yell or swear but you and your spouse yell and swear at each other frequently, then you are in for a long, hard parenting road.

Did You Know?

When most people think of burns, fire and heat usually come to mind. While it is true that heat is the leading cause of tissue damage known as a "burn", a burn can also be caused by radiation (like a sun burn), friction, electricity, and chemicals.
Most burns, other than the most severe, can be safely and effectively treated with natural home remedies.

Burns are characterized by degree, based on the severity of the tissue damage. First-degree burns cause redness and swelling in the epidermis (the outermost layers of skin). Second-degree burns also involve redness and swelling, as well as blistering and the damage may extend beneath the epidermis to the deeper layers of skin (the dermis). Third-degree burns destroy the entire depth of skin and usually result in scarring. The damage may extend to underlying fat, muscle, or bone.

The wonderful Aloe Vera plant is a top choice for healing and soothing burns. Since the active ingredient (acemannen) breaks down quickly, fresh inner leaf fillets are much preferred. Fresh Aloe Vera quickly soothes painful burns and often heals even serious burns with little or no scarring.

Lavender essential oil is a very effective antiseptic that also reduces pain and promotes rapid healing. In addition, lavender reduces scarring. When lavender oil is applied to a burn very quickly, the burn may heal with no scarring at all. For larger burns, pour lavender oil onto gauze or a cloth and apply the gauze to the burn every few hours.

A wonderful and widely available household first aid item for healing and soothing burns is diluted vinegar. Cover the burn area with a cloth soaked in diluted vinegar and refresh the vinegar compress as often as needed, especially if the pain returns.

Another good household item is honey, especially raw honey. Honey has wonderful antiseptic and healing properties. Researchers in India found burns dressed with honey healed faster and with less pain and scarring.

Another age old remedy is potato peels. Potato peels provide moisture and they also have anti-bacterial properties. Doctors have found potato peel bandages work better for minor burns than conventional dressings.

Vitamins A, C, and E aid in the healing process for burns and other wounds.

Zinc can help with healthier skin after the burn, as well as a quicker recovery time. Severe burns often heal with little or no scarring. Note: In the case of any very severe burn, seek professional medical care immediately.

Sunscreen May Cause Cancer?

Most people don't know this, but the sun has three types of "rays," not just two.

The first is UVC. This ray usually does not reach our planet's surface and this is good because it is believed only brief exposure to UVC rays is fatal.

Next, are UVB rays. These have long been considered the "tanning rays." They are strongest during the summer months when the Earth's orbit is closest to the Sun. UVB rays are what produce a "sun tan."

For many years, sunblocks and sunscreens only attempted to block UVB because science was unaware of the effects of UVA rays (the third type of sun ray) on the body.

UVA was believed to be the safe ray in the 1980s, which spawned the growth and popularity of the artificial sun bed industry - some dermatologists even backed this artificial tanning! But, science now believes UVA rays actually do more damage than UVB rays! UVA rays are not dependant on how far the Earth is from the Sun - so the effects are the same all year round.

What's more, UVA penetrates light clothing and car windshields... even many hats. Over-exposure to the sun has been linked to premature aging and even deadly skin cancer...
Which Brings Us To The Second "Truth"

Limit exposure to the harmful rays of the sun by using high SPF sunscreens and sunblocks. For years, the sunblock industry has been booming with the promise their products protect you from the sun's aging and cancerous rays.

But, research now says these "truths" are not so "true."

For example, there is no consensus whether sunscreens prevent skin cancer. According to the Environmental Working Groups' (ewg.org) finding, "The Food and Drug Administration's 2007 draft sunscreen safety regulations say: FDA is not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer."(FDA 2007).

The International Agency for Research on Cancer agrees. IARC recommends clothing, hats and shade as primary barriers to UV radiation and writes "sunscreens should not be the first choice for skin cancer prevention and should not be used as the sole agent for protection against the sun"(IARC 2001a). Even worse, there is evidence emerging that sunscreen may actually INCREASE THE RISK OF SKIN CANCER!

Researches speculate the cause(s) may be lack of UVA protection by most sunscreen for over 30 years, improper usage, staying in the sun longer with sunscreens and some of the ingredients. One big problem is the SPF (sun protection factor) myth.

In 2007, the FDA published draft regulations that would prohibit manufacturers from labeling sunscreens over 50 SPF. The FDA stated that anything over 50 SPF was "inherently misleading." Even an SPF of 50 can be misleading because of the way most people use sunscreen. In the real world, tests show people apply only one-half to one-fifth of the amount used when testing the sunscreen. A person using one-fourth the amount of sunscreen with an SPF of 30 only actually gets an SPF of 2.3. The same person using a sunscreen with SPF 100 ends up with only SPF 3.2. (The math is exponential, that's why there are such drastic reductions in SPF.)

Then, there are the potential problems with the ingredients found in sunscreens. For example, oxybenzone, a common ingredient, is a known hormone disruptor. Retinyl palmitate (a form of Vitamin A also commonly used in sunscreens) may increase the risk of skin cancer.

According to Environmental Working Groups, "The publicly available data from FDA's new study suggest that when used in sun-exposed skin care products, retinyl palmitate and related chemicals may increase skin damage and elevate skin cancer risk instead of protecting the skin."Also, according to Environmental Working Groups, 41% of all sunscreens contain retinyl palmitate.

All of this may be surprising but what's even more shocking is that the FDA first issued draft sunscreen regulations in 1978 and last updated the draft in 2007. The regulations are still not final, despite multiple announcements of impending completion. Until the agency formally issues its rules, companies are not required to verify their sunscreens work, including testing for SPF levels, checking waterproof claims or providing UVA protection. Nearly one in eight sunscreens do not block UVA rays. Many carry the seal of "The Skin Cancer Foundation." According to the Environmental Working Groups, "The Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF) lends its logo to hundreds of sun protection products. SCF approval is easy, just document that your product has an SPF of at least 15 and provide results of basic tests (for SPF, skin reactions and water and sweat resistance, if such claims are made). SCF also requires that companies pay a $10,000 donation to join the Foundation's 'Corporate Council' in order to have their products approved."

Confused? If you are, then you are not alone. Here's something that will make the most of the confusion disappear... Since sunscreens are probably not as safe as once thought, the best thing to do is stay out of the sun during its peak hours (10:00am - 2:00pm) and whenever possible, wear protective clothing instead of chemicals. Don't forget, some sun is absolutely necessary for Vitamin D production and proper health. The amount of sun you should get depends on your skin type but you should NEVER burn.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tip Of The Month

Why Human Nature Is KILLING You!
Lose Fat, Get In Shape, And Become Healthier...
The Real Way!

Do me a favor. Just for a moment - forget EVERYTHING you know (or think you know) about weight loss, getting in shape and living a healthy life. If you do, there is a very good chance you will get results you never dreamt possible.

Let's see if we can do that for you... Shall we? First, we have to talk a little about...HUMAN NATURE. Why? Human nature is one of the biggest forces behind why we do what we do. Human nature silently influences (and even controls) most of our actions... whether we know it or not. And, if we don't know about it, we tend to make very bad and unrealistic choices.

For example, what if you had two offers. One for $1 million dollars, but you had to work hard for the next 5 years to get it. The second offer is also for $1 million dollars, but without doing anything whatsoever to earn it. No work... Just Cash The Check!

Which one would you choose?

If you are like most people... you'd take the no-work deal. Sure, a cool million over 5 years is darn good, $200,000 a year. But... sitting on the beach, sipping a tasty beverage with that same cash is much better! That, my friends, is human nature. It is not right, wrong or indifferent - it just is - we follow, what seems to be, the path of least resistance.

Now let's take weight loss and staying in shape. You have three choices:(1) Purchase a diet pill... take it... and wake up thin. No exercising or eating right. (2) Purchase a "secret" exercise program or piece of exercise equipment, put in a few minutes a day for a very short period of time and look like a swimsuit model. Big results for very minimal effort. (3) Follow a strict diet, which includes not eating many of the foods and treats you love, exercise vigorously several times a week, see results slowly over time - and do this for the rest of your life.

Which One Are You Going To Choose? Odds are it's either #1 or #2 because millions and millions make that choice every year. The population keeps getting more and more overweight and it's all because HUMAN NATURE leans on you to make the easy choice or what SEEMS to be the easy choice at the time. We all know, in the end, it is much more difficult to take the easy way out than to do it correctly from the beginning. If you are not in the shape you would like to be or as healthy as you could be - deep down inside you know this to be true.

And let's be honest: we all know #3 (or a version of it, depending on your goals, age etc.) is the REAL way to get in shape, lose weight and stay healthy. Come on! Fight it! Fight that human nature telling you to tell me to shove it! Telling you there is an easier way! Telling you that you can swallow the next wonder fat burner discovered in some remote part of the rain forest... eat a half gallon of Hagen Daz... and wake up thin!

Instead, make the commitment to do it right. Do it the REAL WAY... Talk to your Chiropractic Physician and he or she will help you create a road map to the success you are looking for. They can help you lay everything out, so you do the right things at the right times to maximize your efforts. And yes, it does take effort. Consistent effort. And it all starts with the decision you make... right now.

So what's it gonna be: 1, 2 or 3?

Did You Know ?

Physical Activity Prevents Heart Disease... There's no doubt about it!

Physical in-activity is a cause of premature coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease refers to blockages (plaques) in the arteries that provide oxygen and nutrients to your heart muscle.

Your heart beats 100,000 times a day, every day, year after year - what an amazing organ! It must have a reliable blood supply. In fact, 12% of all deaths in the U.S. are attributable to lack of regular physical activity, including at least a doubling of the risk for heart attacks or sudden cardiac death.

How does exercise contribute to improved heart health? Exercise improves the lipid profile: reduces trigylcerides and raises HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol"); prevents and treats type 2 diabetes; reduces the systemic inflammation that plays a role in development of atherosclerosis; lowers blood pressure; and helps with weight control.

Who Else Wants To Add 12 Years To Your Life?

I don't know about you, but I bet if you asked most people on their death beds if they would like to have another 12 years, they would say...

"Heck Yeah!"

Well, if you would like to add 12 years to your life... it may be possible. And it may be simpler than you think. Here is why...

Bad Habits. Everyone's got them, and we all make excuses why they are okay... Life is short... You gotta have some fun some times... My career is stressful so it's okay to have a vice...

Blah, Blah...BLAH!

Just like bad habits - everyone's got excuses, too. However, just because a behavior is common with a plethora of excuses, it doesn't make it any less deadly.

For example, a new study published in the April 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, shows people who smoke, drink, rarely exercise and skimp on fruits and vegetables die younger - with a death risk of someone 12 years older!

In the study, 4,886 people age 18 or older were interviewed in 1984-1985. Participants were followed up, on average, 20 years later. In the two passing decades, 1,080 participants died. 431 died due to heart/cardiovascular disease, 318 due to cancer, and 331 due to other causes.

Now, here's the striking part: When comparing participants with all 4 bad habits to those with none - the group with all 4 habits were about 3 times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease or cancer, were 4 times more likely to die from all other causes, and had an overall death risk equivalent to someone 12 years older.

Clearly, Mother Nature doesn't listen to excuses for smoking, drinking, not exercising and not eating right. It may be time to stop making them.

Now for some great news...

Science Daily reported on April 20, "Australian scientists have shown for the first time that even modest weight loss reverses many of the damaging changes often seen in the immune cells of obese people, particularly those with Type 2 Diabetes."

Your Immune System

The immune system has many types of cells that act like a little army to attack invaders such as germs and viruses. But, these cells operate in a delicate balance within our body.

For example, too much body fat causes the production of pro-inflammatory immune cells. Too many of these cells circulating in the body can be harmful. According to Dr. Alex Viardot, "These inflammatory cells are involved in promoting coronary artery disease and other illnesses associated with obesity."

In the study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism, the authors concluded that even modest weight reduction of just 13 lbs. could produce an 80% reduction of pro-inflammatory T-helper cells and also a reduction of other circulating immune cells.

Dr. Viardot added, "This is the first time it has been shown that modest weight reduction reverses some of the very adverse inflammatory changes we see in obese people with diabetes... The situation has reached crisis point, and people must be made aware that excess fat will affect their immune systems and therefore their survival."

One-Two Punch For Arthritis!

Osteoarthritis is basically a combination of the wearing of the cartilage and synovial fluid in between bones that make up a joint... and... inflammation. Glucosamine is one of the building blocks of cartilage and synovial fluid and can help maintain and boost cartilage repair.

Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation. Fish oil has been shown to reduce inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Now, for the first time, a study has shown combining the two can reduce the pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.

German researchers combined 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate with 200 mg of omega-3 fats.

Head researcher Joerg Gruenwald, Ph.D. said, "Omega-3 fatty acids inhibit the inflammation process in OA, whereas glucosamine sulfate further supports the rebuilding of lost cartilage substance."

This Kind Of Nap Boosts Memory...

Good news for all you "nappers" out there. A recent study reported onhealth.com found not only did college students who took a 90-minute nap perform better than those who did not - the nappers who dreamt performed 10 times better!

In the study, 99 college students were asked to memorize a complex maze on a computer. The students who performed 10 times better dreamt about the maze.

I think it's time for a nice 90-minute siesta!!!

Herpes And E. Coli At The Make-Up Counter!

If you try on make-up at the make-up counter... you may be exposing yourself to Herpes, pink eye, E. Coli and more.

According to a recent L.A. Times article, a two-year study from Rowan University on public make-up testers found on an average Saturday, 100 percent of the makeup at cosmetic counters was tainted with staph, strep, and/or E. Coli bacteria.

Dr. Zein Obagi, a Beverly Hills-based dermatologist, was quoted in the article, "If a woman has a cut on her lip and borrows lipstick from someone who has a cold sore, she'll get a cold sore. You can pass herpes (the cold sore virus), conjunctivitis (pink eye) and all sorts of things through sharing makeup."

Self-Destructing Texts Are Here!

Quick Prediction: Tiger Woods and just about every celebrity will be using this new technology. Here is why...

Ogilvy Advertising has created something called "Safe Text." This service will warn text message recipient's they will only have one chance to read a text message... after that it will be automatically erased.

The service currently offers up to 10 free anonymous text messages per day.

And don't forget, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your health talk to us. Contact us with your questions. We're here to help and don't enjoy anything more than participating in your lifelong good health.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why Does My Back Always Hurt?

Low back pain is a very common problem affecting 80-90% of all of us at some point in our lifetime. Why is that you ask? There are many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that we are 2-legged animals carrying 2/3rds of our weight above our waist. Studies have shown deterioration or arthritis occurs much sooner in us vs. our 4-legged animal counterparts. A 180 lbs man carries roughly 120 lbs above the waist. This means, every time he bends over, in order to stand upright, he needs to lift 120 lbs PLUS whatever he is lifting. Hence, the argument of, "...but I only bent over to lift a pencil and my back went out," seems on the surface as impossible but in reality, the man in our example is lifting the pencil plus 120 lbs. Now, let's add to that the point that a 5 pound weight equals 50 pounds when held out in front with the arms stretched out straight. Now, if that's not bad enough, now, let's assume all of this is happening from a bent forward position, with a twist at the waist, with out stretched arms, while lifting a 20 pound object. Get the idea? It's amazing our back doesn't get injured every day as we lift 2 bags of groceries into the far end of a car trunk, or, when lifting our 30 pound child in and out of a car seat, height chair, or when they are screaming and pushing away from us as we try to lift them!
In order to further appreciate why the low back is so vulnerable to injury, some basic understanding of anatomy is needed. When we're born, the back is made up of 33 segments of which 5 fuse by the time we're about 18 years old to make up the sacrum (bottom of the spine) and 4 fuse to make up the coccyx (tail bone), leaving 5 lumbar (low back), 12 thoracic (mid-back) and 7 cervical (neck) vertebra. These are stacked up on top of each other like building blocks and are connected to each other by a shock absorbing disk in the front and two smaller facet joints in the back, acting like a tripod. In the low back, we're supposed to bear about 80% of our weight in the front and 20% in the back but, if our abdominal muscles are a bit out of shape and the pelvis rotates forwards, the curve in the low back increases and overloads the back of the vertebra (facets) making them vulnerable to injury. The disk becomes injured when we bend/lift/twist. This can tear the outer tough fibers of the disk, allowing the central more liquid-like material to leak out. If this happens, the leaking or "herniated" disk can put pressure on the nerve that exits the spine and travels down our leg. If the pain pattern includes the back of the leg, it's commonly referred to as "sciatica."
OK, enough about anatomy. What can we do to reduce the chances of having periodic low back pain? Obviously, staying in shape is very important. Certain muscles of the body must be tight to keep us upright or standing. These muscles need to be stretched on a regular basis. For example: the hamstring muscle. We've all had to perform hurdler types of exercises and remember how tight they feel!
We realize that you have a choice in where you choose for your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) - Can It Be Prevented?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or CTS is a very common problem affecting many workers and is one of the most costly conditions afflicting today's workforce. It is most often caused by repetitive activity using rapid movements of the arms and hands and can lead to work loss and disability when not properly managed. CTS occurs when the median nerve that travels through the carpal tunnel (CT) located on the palm side of the wrist becomes pinched by the swelling of the 9 tendons that also travel through the CT and essentially, pinch the nerve up against the transverse carpal ligament. This results in numbness, tingling and/or pain of the index, middle and forth fingers.

Other symptoms include sleep interruptions where shaking and flicking of the fingers is required to allow for a return to sleep. This is frequently caused by sleeping with the wrist in a cocked position, increasing the pressure inside the already swollen carpal tunnel. This is why a cock-up wrist splint usually helps as it disallows the wrist from bending to the extremes and the nerve is not pressured or pinched as much. Other symptoms include weakness of the grip, making it a challenge to unscrew a jar, open a door, and even sometimes turn the key when starting a car. Driving can also be affected as the hands often fall asleep while holding onto a steering wheel.

Pain can also affect the rest of the arm and sometimes the neck area. The median nerve can also be pinched in more than one place and may include the neck, shoulder, elbow as well as the wrist making it necessary to have all the areas treated for a satisfying result.

People at greatest risk are women > men, workers who handle small tools, computer workers, fast repetitive line workers, and people older than 40 years of age. People with other health conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, Lymes disease, rubella, pregnancy, birth control pill use, diabetes mellitus and menopause are at an increased risk of developing CTS. Certain foods such as caffeine, tobacco, and/or alcohol may also contribute to CTS.

Though treatment is very important -the sooner the better- prevention is most important. In fact, some simple approaches can make a big difference! Some of these include modifying the position of a computer chair, keyboard, monitor, or mouse (work station modifications), alternate between different tasks to reduce the repetition of work, stretch your forearms and fingers before, during and after work, and treat any underlying conditions. When symptoms first occur, these recommendations, as well as wearing a night wrist cock-up splint and seeing your chiropractor, will often reverse the condition without difficulty. If you wait too long and nerve damage occurs, it becomes a more challenging process to manage CTS and at times, even surgery will not be very helpful.

Some of the non-surgical treatment approaches you might expect from your chiropractor include joint manipulation and/or mobilization applied to the neck, wrist, elbow and/or shoulder, the application of physical therapy modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stim, and/or low level laser therapy ("light" therapy), as well as the use of wrist splints.

The University of Maryland Medical Center cites two research articles on chiropractic treatment for CTS. They report good results are usually obtained and that these good results continued for at least 6 months after treatment ended. The same reference also recommends nutrition and supplements in the management of CTS. Some of these include: eliminate food allergens (often milk, cheese, eggs, ice cream, glutens/wheat-grains, soy, corn, and preservatives) and eating foods high in B-vitamins (dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and sea vegetables), anti-oxidants (fruits - blueberries, cherries, tomatoes; vegetables - squash, bell peppers), avoiding refined foods, using olive oil and adding omega 3 fatty acids to the diet (fish oil). Other vitamins including a multivitamin, B complex, Vit. C, alpha-lipoic acid, MSM, resveratrol, Vit. D, Co-Q10, magnesium can also really help.

We realize that you have a choice in where you choose for your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for CTS, chiropractic care is a logical first choice and we would be honored to offer our services to you.