Get Healthy this Spring Part 2: Nerve Supply is the Key to Optimal Health.

Last week we introduced the Five Pillars of Health: sleep, nutrition, exercise, positive mental attitude and proper nerve supply.

What do we mean when we talk about nerve supply, and how is it important to achieving optimal health?

Imagine wrapping a rubber band around your wrist. Make sure it is tight. You may feel a tingling sensation, as the blood supply to the hand begins to be impaired. Your fingers may start to turn blue and numb as they do not receive what they need to function properly.

What would you do to restore your hand to health? Bandage it up? Take a pain reliever? Or have it surgically removed? Massage it? Apply a tens unit?

Although all of these may feel nice and maybe help in the short term for symptom alleviation, they will not remove the pressure or blockage that is causing your finger to be less ALIVE. Anyone looking at this problem would obviously remove the rubber band, which is putting pressure on your circulatory system and reducing your hand’s ability to function.

When you receive a chiropractic adjustment, your chiropractic doctor is working to remove pressure from your spine, by finding misalignments, or subluxations, in your spine. When you are experiencing subluxations, the misaligned vertebrae (or bones of the spine) are putting pressure on your spinal cord, or the peripheral nerves, which are the super highways for communication in your nervous system.

Depending upon where these subluxations are, they are affecting some of the many different nerves that bring signals from the brain and spinal cord into all the different organs and systems of your body.

Subluxations create a nerve flow “traffic jam” in the nerves that are affected. Guess what happens next? The organs and systems that these nerves feed cannot function at their optimal level.

Here is a simple graphic to demonstrate how nerve flow affects different organs.

So, when you come in because your back, neck, hips, or anything else hurts, the first thing we look at is where these subluxations are, and adjust you to take the pressure off.

Many times, not only does range of motion in those areas increase and pain decrease, but enhanced flow to the organs in that area increases, meaning improved sleep, improved digestion, lower blood pressure, increased immune system function, and more.

By getting adjusted, you’re not only improving the way your body FEELS, you’re improving the way your body HEALS.
Want to learn more about ways YOU can help keep your spine healthy? We give free Spinal Self-Care Workshops for the public every 2nd and 4th Monday of the month! Next one: Monday, April 14. Call 978.448.9355 to register, and feel free to bring a friend!

Chiropractic Care for Veterans

As we honor our Veterans and active military for their service and sacrifices on Monday, those of us in the chiropractic field are actively pursuing ways to try to alleviate the suffering caused by rampant musculoskeletal conditions, traumatic brain injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in our returning troops.

One-in-five, or some 440,000 of the 2.2 million Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans, are still fighting a battle here at home. For combat veterans experiencing the symptoms of PTSD — nightmares, anxiety, depression, flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, and hyper-arousal, and its ripple effects – social isolation, family, job, and economic difficulties, and suicidal thoughts – treatment options may seem out of reach.

Soldiers are also suffering the effects of chronic physical stress. According to a report from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Office of Public health and Occupational Hazards, 42.7 % of veterans who sought VA health care after returning from duty in the Middle East or Southwest Asia were diagnosed with a musculoskeletal condition, making it the most common diagnosis among the subject population.

Factors such as carrying heavy equipment, poor sleeping conditions, extreme temperature changes and the constant threat of attack are primary reasons for musculoskeletal pain and misalignments, and a tax on the nervous system.

Retired Brigadier General Rebecca (Becky) Halstead is an outgoing advocate for military chiropractic care, having benefitted from it herself. She talks about it in this interview.

Chiropractic care can help prepare active duty combat personnel for the extreme physical and mental strain that they endure when deployed, and to help alleviate pain, tension, spinal misalignments and mental and emotional stress upon return, so they can cope more successfully with the challenges of transitioning back to civilian life, and improve their overall quality of life. By reducing pressure on the spine, chiropractic care activates the relaxation response through the parasympathetic nervous system, igniting the body’s own healing mechanisms so the patient may function better on all levels.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) currently provides Chiropractic care at over 40 VA facilities across the US. They do not yet offer the program in Massachusetts. Bills have been introduced in the House and the Senate to require the government to offer chiropractic care at all VA facilities by 2016. For more information on these bills and other information on chiropractic care for military veterans, click here.

Those who are out of reach of a participating VA hospital may join the chiropractic outpatient program, with a referral from their primary care provider and authorization by the department. If you have been denied authorization, click here for more information on how to receive services.

Community Chiropractic is pleased to offer reduced rates for active military and veterans in our Groton, MA office, as part of our commitment to improving the health and quality of life of all members of our community. For more information, please contact our office at 978.448.9355.

View and track the progress of the bills, take action, and share with others:
S.422
H.R. 921
H.R. 741

Are There Drugs in Your Water Supply? Chiropractic is a Drug Free Option for You and the Environment.

Recently, our town and surrounding towns held prescription drug drop-offs for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. People were able to drop off old prescription drugs at our local Police Department, no questions asked. We applaud the town, and all who participated!

There is ample evidence that pharmaceuticals are present in our water supply, and may cause environmental harm, and harm to humans and wildlife. Just a few weeks ago, a local lake and pond tested positive for pharmaceutical residues including tranquilizers, nicotine, insect repellent, pain relievers and anti-seizure medications. Findings suggested these may have entered the water supply by swimmers, showering, or flushing pills down the toilet. It is also important to consider that any drugs we put into our bodies are later excreted, and may also end up in our ground water and water supply. A story reported on NBC News five years ago highlighted this already widespread problem, and suggested that there may, indeed, be ill effects of waterborne pharmaceutical residues on humans and wildlife. A 2001 study of pharmaceutical levels in water in Lake Mead, Nevada, also revealed that “many of these compounds can bioaccumulate and may adversely affect aquatic organisms by disrupting physiological processes, impairing reproductive functions, increasing cancer rates, contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, and acting in undesirable ways when mixed with other substances.

We encourage you to consider drug-free options as much as possible. Clearly, pharmaceuticals are necessary and life-saving in some cases, though there are alternatives when it comes to pain and many other conditions. Chiropractic care has been proven to work better on issues like neck pain than medications, as evidenced in a 2012 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and widely reported in the media. It showed that chiropractic adjustments (or spinal manipulation) and exercise were more effective than medication in the treatment of acute and chronic neck pain. See the ABC News Report below:

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We know that it is not always possible to go off of medications, but we do know, from experience, that many people are able to reduce or eliminate some – or even avoid them altogether — when offered an alternative like chiropractic care. In this light, we hope, if possible, that we can all work to lighten the toxic load in our environment, and in our bodies, by considering drug-free options.

Six Immune-Boosting Steps to a Healthy Winter

1. Get Adjusted. Clinical studies show that after an adjustment, subjects had 200 times as many immune cells as subjects who did not get adjusted. If you’re starting to feel symptoms, get an adjustment.

2. Get Outside. Sunshine and fresh air are two of the body’s most important nutrients! Healthy Vitamin D levels from moderate sun exposure are linked to stronger immune systems. In the winter, avoid being cooped up indoors, breathing in toxins and allergens. Get outside for at least a few minutes a day, and breathe!

3. Calm Stress. The nervous system and the immune system are inextricably linked. That’s why you may be more likely to “get sick” more when you are stressed-out.
Getting adjusted is like getting a tune-up for your nervous system, giving it the tools to keep stress at bay. Meditation, massage, and moderate exercise like walking and yoga are also great stress-busters.

4. Let the Good Bugs Grow. Did you know that 60-70% of your immune system is located in your gut? Keep your digestion running smoothly, and fight bad bugs with good ones, by taking a daily probiotic and eating naturally fermented and cultured foods like real sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir.

5. Give Yourself a Natural Boost. Herbal supplements and foods like elderberry, echinacea and goldenseal, olive leaf, garlic, ginger and coconut oil have natural immune-enhancing and anti-microbial properties. Cod liver oil, long a staple in the northern climates, contains a significant amount of vitamin D, plus health-enhancing Omegas.

6. Drink More Water! Our health is truly dependent on the quality and quantity of water that we drink. Your body is made up of mostly water, and every organ and metabolic process in your body relies on having enough water to function optimally and flush out toxins. So drink up!

Giving Thanks

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

One of the original chiropractic teachers talked about the light within us as our Innate Intelligence. He proposed that lack of adaptation to our life stresses — physical, chemical, mental and emotional — block this Intelligence from being expressed. He hoped that chiropractic would be a means for people to express more of their inborn potential or to shine their light. Today we, Dr. Steve and I, give thanks to our many mentors who have helped our lights to shine so that we can bring our very best to you, our community.

May your light shine through today and every day of your life. May you find ways to remove any of the “clouds” that block your light. May you find tools that amplify the gifts that you were innately born with. As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, 2011, Community Chiropractic offers gratitude for our community and our ability to participate and be of service to it.

May all of us be well, happy, and in peace on this day and every day.