My BAD knee, hip and shoulders….

Regularly, I hear practice members talk about “my bad” this and that. There is a TV show that is called Girls Behaving Badly, which I cannot say I have ever watched, but my mind sometimes thinks that we should get all these joints together for a TV show of joints running amok in the Caribbean, going wild and having at it.

Our joints and body parts that we label as “bad” make me curious. What makes them bad? Your answers inevitably are something like, “Ohhh. It is bad because I have arthritis in it, but my doc says that is just the way it is. I am old. So I have to expect the arthritis.” I have asked some of you already, “How old is your other knee? Or what about all the other joints in your body?” Deterioration in one area versus another is NOT normal and does not need to be expected or accepted.

While all the bones and nerves are the same chronological age, they age on their own depending on their alignment and ability to function normally. In the picture below you might notice upon close inspection, that the joints age differently in the mild and moderate arthritis pictures.

We have seen a few things in practice that may surprise you. Children can have arthritis in certain joints because of uneven load bearing or early age injuries. Another thing that may surprise you is that spines can regenerate. I just finished looking at an MRI of a patient’s spine who took an MRI upon the onset of care. The patient had a bulging disc and mild degeneration. After 14 months of chiropractic care, they did another MRI and found NO more bulging disc. There is increased disc height.

I have seen some of the worst cases over the 25 years I have been working in chiropractic offices: cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, multiple bulging disc, spinal stenosis, and varying stages of arthritis. What I have learned is that your body is a healing machine! It has the ability to change in ways that you cannot imagine.

I cannot guarantee how your body will heal because each of us is unique but I know for sure that you will heal more and faster when there is less pressure on your nerve system. So, if you are getting adjusted regularly, give yourself a pat on the back for helping your body to heal. You are on the right path!

3 Types of Stress that Cause Nerve Interference

Today I was talking with a practice member and they were saying that OUT OF NOWHERE, they were experiencing back pain. I explained to her that it is never out of nowhere. For many of us, we are accumulating stress and strain on our spine through daily physical, chemical , and mental emotional stress. Examples of each of these stresses are shown below.

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

It’s impossible to avoid stress! To be alive is to be under stress. The question becomes what do you DO with the stress? Does it make you stronger or weaker?
We are all unique individuals and the same stress which makes one person sick can be invigorating experience for another (distress vs. eustress). It’s not the stress but how our bodies respond to the stress that matters most in our overall health.

Imagine three dolls: one made of glass, one of plastic, and one of steel. If you were to strike each with a hammer, what would happen???

The glass one shatters. This is similar to a person who CANNOT adapt to life’s stress. This person is the type who gets ill and/or dies as a result of increased stimulus in their life.

The plastic doll will scar. This type of person is not deeply damaged but they are hurt. They will recover but never completely heal.

The steel doll rings with a pleasant tone. This type of person adapts to stress quickly and thrives. The idea is this analogy is to think about what things help you to adapt to stress and be more of a steel drum. Do you deal with life better when you have a good night’s sleep? Eat good food? Take vacation? If you understand this concept, then you must be aware that your spine is VITAL in your ability to adapt.

Stop letting life work “your last nerve” and help yourself to adapt and respond to life appropriately by regularly getting adjustments to take the pressure off your spine. BE a steel drum and make great music in this world…

Dark Chocolate to Lower Blood Pressure

There may be some truth to it, as suggested by a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The authors of “Effect of Cocoa and Tea Intake on Blood Pressure” (2007) report that their “meta-analysis study showed that the cocoa diets reduced systolic blood pressure by 4.7 mm Hg, and reduced diastolic blood pressure by 2.8 mm Hg. This magnitude of reduction in blood pressure is considered to be ‘statistically significant.’”

Although the authors note that “an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables is recommended as a first-line therapeutic approach in current hypertension control guidelines,” they also conclude that “current randomized dietary studies indicate that consumption of foods rich in cocoa may reduce blood pressure, while tea intake appears to have no effect.”

Yummy. Bon Apetit!

Is Your Laptop Making You Lean?

Often when we do spinal exams on new patients, we find that their heads are leaning forward in front of their bodies. Your head weighs about 11 lbs, similar to the weight of a bowling ball. Imagine trying to walk around all day carrying a bowling ball about six inches in front of you. This would take a lot more effort than carrying the bowling ball right next to your body.

Forward Head Syndrome was commonly seen in older people. However, with the widespread use of laptop computers, extended sitting, handheld video games and smart phones, we are seeing more and more patients who are beginning to show symptoms at much younger ages. Forward Head Syndrome effects much more than just posture. Dr Rene Caillet, a Medical doctor at The University of Southern California, wrote about the following effects of Forward Head Syndrome in his book, “Rejuvenation Strategy.” You might be surprised to learn how many bodily functions are affected:

1. Incorrect head positioning leads to improper spinal function.

2. The head in forward posture can add up to 30 pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine.

3. Forward head posture results in loss of vital lung capacity. In fact, lung capacity is depleted by as much as 30 percent. Loss of lung capacity leads to heart and blood vascular problems.

4. The entire gastrointestinal system is affected, particularly the large intestine. Loss of good bowel peristaltic function and evacuation is a common condition that comes with forward head posture and loss of spinal lordotic curves.

5. Forward head posture causes an increase in discomfort and pain. Freedom of motion in the first four cervical vertebrae is a major source of stimuli that causes production of endorphins in production many otherwise non-painful sensations are experienced as pain.

6. Forward head posture causes loss of healthy spine-body motion. The entire body becomes rigid as the range of motion lessens. Soon, one becomes hunched.
Forward Head Syndrome can be prevented and corrected by using technology properly and in moderation, getting regular chiropractic adjustments, and doing a simple exercise to help maintain your natural cervical (neck) curve.

Use a desktop computer at a proper height as much as possible. Laptops should be reserved for occasional offsite use if possible. If you use a laptop as your primary computer, shop around for a good laptop base that props it up on a table, so the screen is closer to eye height and your head and neck can remain upright. Do not use a laptop on your lap. No matter what kind of computer you use, get up and stretch at least once every hour.

Limit the amount of time spent playing with handheld video games. This is especially important for young children whose spines are still developing! Also be conscious of the time spent using your smart phone to browse the web or text. Think about how often you are looking down while engaging in these activities.

Try this simple exercise to help restore the natural curve of your neck:
Lay on your back and put a rolled up towel beneath your neck. In the beginning of doing this exercise, use a hand towel rolled up to the size of a lemon. Rest your head back over the towel and allow it to rest there for up to five minutes. Over time you can increase the thickness of the towel and the length of time you hold the position. This exercise is most effective when done consistently over a period of a year.

If you or one of your loved ones clearly has a forward leaning head, get adjusted soon. Adjustments and a simple accompanying exercise can create a tremendous change in your spine and overall health and wellbeing!

What Was Your Most Powerful Healing Experience?

Each week at the Community Chiropractic we have the honor of witnessing people heal and transform at the level of mind, body, and soul. For some, healing takes the form of emotional release, as they let go of painful memories and beliefs and realize that they deserve to be happy.  Others experience relief from physical pain and chronic illness as they learn new ways to nurture their body and restore their balance.  For many people, healing comes from connecting to their deepest spiritual selves.

No matter what form healing takes, it always has a ripple effect. When people from our practice go home, we know that their families, co-workers, friends, and everyone with whom they connect will also be affected by the gifts of healing and transformation, in ways small and large.

In order to share the healing ripple effect, today we invite you  to post your own most powerful healing experience. Your words may be just what someone else needs to hear to encourage them on their own healing path.