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!

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.

About Vitamin D, Part One

Vitamin D is very commonly known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because it is produced in the body as a result of direct exposure to sunlight. The main purpose of vitamin D in the body is to make use of the calcium available in the diet to strengthen the bones and teeth. If a person is displaying some symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, it generally implies a lack of sunlight.

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms are seen in many people across the world and people showing such symptoms usually have weak bones, and this leads to soft bones and skeletal deformities. There are a multitude of other health problems as well, that can be curbed by effectively noticing and curing symptoms for lack of vitamin D. You can ask your doctor to check your levels of Vitamin D.

Some Common Symtoms of Deficiency

There are a host of easily distinguishable vitamin D deficiency symptoms that you should look out for:

Rickets: This is one of the biggest lack of vitamin D symptoms. Weak bones that get hurt easily or fractured regularly are one of the biggest effects vitamin D deficiency causes. The prevalence of hypovitaminosis D is seen mostly in elderly people.

Skin pigmentation: If a person regularly notices pigmentation on their skin, it is very likely that this is being caused by lack of vitamin D. Depression as a result of this is also a commonly observed symptom.

Inflammatory bowel disease: People experiencing inflammatory bowel movements must also beware, as this is also widely recognized as one of the lack of vitamin D symptoms.

Obesity: People who are obese must also be very careful about their intake of vitamin D, as obese people are more prone to showing symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.

Other lack of vitamin D symptoms include knock-kneed appearance, low blood calcium levels, high blood pressure, tuberculosis, depression, bowed limbs, chronic fatigue, type I diabetes and chronic bone pain, muscle pain or joint pain. More on symptoms of low vitamin D levels to come next week!

Thinking About True Health

What is health?

Many people think that health is simply “feeling good and looking good.” But true health is more than just the absence of disease. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, health is “the condition of being sound in body, mind and spirit.” The World Health Organization states that health is a “state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing,” not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. True health is the full expression of life! This is the chiropractic perspective.

Your body is built to experience true health. Your body is smart. It has an intelligence inside of it that has helped it to grow from two cells into the amazing, complex, dynamic being that you are today! These two cells have created a body complete with a very sophisticated nerve system that stretches for miles, and stores over 100 trillion bits of information. Your nervous system contains100 billion neurons that can send impulses at lightning speed to every cell, tissue, organ and system in your body.

Why, then, does our body sometimes not work the way we want it to? Why do we experience aches and pains, digestive problems, high blood pressure, depression, or other health challenges? Something is interfering with the body’s natural ability to function, self regulate and mend. This interference is usually caused by stresses and strains that accumulate on our spine on a daily basis, and over time. Examples of these stressors are:

Physical: sitting, bad sleep position, weak muscles, falls, injuries, repetitive strain.
Chemical : medications, environmental, and food chemicals
Mental/Emotional: daily tension that affects our physiology by triggering chemical reactions and creating changes in our physiology.

To be alive is to be under stress. It is impossible to avoid stress. It is not the stress, but how our bodies respond to stress that matters most in our overall health. Getting enough sleep, exercising, eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, and practicing deep breathing are all ways to help your body adapt to stress. However, your spine, through which your nervous system controls your body’s ability to function and heal, is vital in your ability to adapt. Maintaining a healthy spine – or correcting a less-than-healthy spine — will help you adapt more quickly and be less susceptible to life’s stresses.

Adding regular chiropractic adjustments to your healthy lifestyle will take the pressure off your spine, allow your nervous system to function more effectively, and help you to experience the meaning of true health.

Backpack Safety: Fill it Light, Fill it Right, Wear it Right!

For the past month, we’ve been spreading the backpack safety message far and wide. The first day of school in our town is tomorrow, and I already know that unfortunately, in the months ahead, I will see kids in my office for back pain and postural issues that might have been avoided had they learned the right way to pack and wear a backpack.

It seems our kids are carrying more and more weight in their packs, as they set off for the school day with books, gym clothes, and gear for sports and extracurricular activities. Did you know that your backpack should weigh no more than 15% of your body weight? For a 60 lb elementary school student, that is a mere 9 lbs.

I recommend asking your chiropractor for a backpack screening. We offer free screenings every year for our patients and the general public. A screening involves weighing a backpack (filled as you would fill it for a typical school day), checking the pack for safety (Are the shoulder straps wide enough? Is the pack too big?) and teaching your child how to pack it so weight is distributed properly.

We are offering free screenings on Thursday, September 8 between 2 and 6 pm at our office at 300 Main Street, Groton, MA. Please call us at 978.448.9355 for the opportunity to prevent spinal problems before they start!

Watch Dr. Steve on Around Town, talking backpack safety!