3 Things to Help Your Allergies/Hay Fever

Let me just start off by saying that I have developed allergies in the last several years and I hate it! That saying, I have had a lot of success managing them with these 3 simple things.

1. Cleanse your gut. An allergy is an over reaction to an irritating foreign object. There are several theories as to why it overreacts. Once such theory is that the body is so inundated with junk that it is in a constant state of histamine reaction. Indeed, all of the dyes, preservatives, and fake substitutes have to be taking their toll. Cleansing the gut will help to settle down the fight and can dramatically decrease allergies. There are 101 ways to cleanse your gut. Here are a couple of ways:
If you want to go hard core this is what you do. Go to the health food store and
get the biggest bottle of powdered vitamin C you can find. Take enough until you
get very loose stools. By the way, it is a lot. On the day you do it, stay close to
home and fast from food all day. The next day go easy on introducing foods.
Stick with fruits and finely ground grains (nothing artificial and avoid dairy that
is not yogurt). Be careful with this one to not get dehydrated, ie. lots of water!
Another great cleanse is to eat only ripe banana (little brown spots on the peel),
plain yogurt, English walnuts, and unprocessed whole grain bread. If you mix
the banana, yogurt and walnuts it is not bad. At night, psyllium husk in orange
juice or a cleansing tea. I do this for as many days as I can stand it (usually 3-4).
Then start introducing other foods slowly. During your allergy season try to
avoid dairy except for yogurt.
2. Use a Netti Pot or something similar. When there is a histamine reaction, the body produces mucous in the sinuses. This mucous then works like fly paper attracting pollen and other allergens. Cleaning out the mucous can make a huge difference. If you have ever had plain water squirted up your nose, you know how unpleasant it is. So please, do yourself a favor and use warm water with the little saline packet they sell. You can make your own mixture but it is a pain and your compliance will suffer. I recommend cleansing the sinuses at least twice a day during allergy season. If your allergies are under control, 3-6 times per week will help maintain.
3. Work on your neck and head. The sinuses drain into several networks of lymph nodes that run along the muscles of the neck. Lymph utilizes gravity and muscle contraction to move down and eventually back into the blood where it will be cleaned by the kidneys and liver. If neck muscles are tight it will block the flow of lymph and the sinuses will back up. Getting adjusted to allow the neck to function properly will cause the muscles of the neck to settle down and be loose. In addition, a good massage can do wonders for getting lymph to flow. Finally, I adjust the cranial bones. When the sinuses exert a pressure on the skull it changes the shape of you head. Moving the plates of your head will help create the right pressure to push the mucous and lymph to where it is supposed to be.

Mesothelioma Pain Management through Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is typically administered to treat and prevent pain and disorders pertaining to the musculoskeletal system that controls the body’s movement, including the spine. However, it is often sought as a form of alternative medicine and complementary care to coincide with traditional medical treatments.

In order to help manage pain and relieve headaches, tension and stress, many cancer patients have included chiropractic care in their course of treatment. Patients interested in alternative treatment, who strongly believe in the body’s ability to heal itself, may find chiropractic care particularly appealing. Alleviating severe headaches and movement pains during cancer treatment may make the treatment process more comfortable for cancer patients, including those fighting mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is mainly cause by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that was used in a number of military and industrial applications throughout the 20th century. The symptoms typically take 20 to 50 years to become noticeable and by this time the disease is usually in advanced stages. Treatment options are often limited as the cancer is diagnosed late in development.

Two studies published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics examined the cases of two patients combating cancer. A 57-year-old man diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer experienced significant pain relief and was able to reduce the amount of medication needed following chiropractic care. He also reported an increase in his quality of life during his journey with the cancer following a visit to a chiropractor.

A 54-year-old man diagnosed with lung cancer (a cancer sometimes linked to asbestos exposure) began seeing a chiropractor after experiencing little pain relief one year after he underwent surgery to combat his cancer. The man experienced pain relief immediately after beginning chiropractic care and discontinued use of all pain medications after two visits to his chiropractor. The Journal noted, “These clinical examples offer two specific instances of how chiropractic may improve the quality of a cancer patient’s life.”

Note: Though I am not the author of this blog post, I fully endorse its message and the benefits of chiropractic for patients suffering from mesothelioma. I would also add that in my office we have seen great success helping people who are suffering from a variety of cancers and their subsequent treatment protocols (radiation, chemotherapy, etc.) with both chiropractic and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. –Dr. Thomas

Spinal Stabilzation Exercise Bird Dog (#2/4)

In this video, I explain how to perform the “The Bird Dog.” This is not a difficult exercise but it does require some coordination. It helps facilitate the erector spinae muscle which are the long muscles that run on either side of the vertebrae. I recommend doing this daily 10-20 times after doing the Cat/Cow.

“What is that popping noise when you adjust my back?”

Have you ever heard someone say that they just got their back “popped” or “cracked” by their chiropractor? I get asked all the time what that means. For everyone who already has an idea of what an adjustment looks like, I am simply going to explain the “pop” or “crack.”

First of all, the technical term for the sound is, cavitation. Wikipedia’s definition is: the formation of vapour bubbles of a flowing liquid in a region where the pressure of the liquid falls below its vapor pressure. Makes perfect sense, right?

OK, here is how I explain it. Joints are where bones meet. Between the bones is a joint capsule. It is a space filled with fluid that allows the joint to easily move without grinding the bones together. When you open up or close a joint quickly it changes the pressure in the capsule. With a sudden change in pressure, gas that is in the liquid escapes causing a popping sound. It’s is just like opening a soda pop bottle or can which is kept under pressure to keep the carbon dioxide dissolved in the liquid.

So, the next time you hear someone pop their knuckles or get an adjustment just remember that the popping sound is just gas expanding because of a change in pressure.

“It Was Just a Fender-Bender”

Have you ever noticed that there are really only two types of auto accidents? There is the, “My car was smashed-I am lucky to be alive-wonder if they are going to total my car-I am hurting all over,” crash. And then, there is the, “It Was Just a Fender-Bender,” accident. You may be surprised, but the Fender-Bender where you just got a little neck pain and a slight headache may actually turn out to be the much more serious accident.

Let me explain. First, the physics of a motor vehicle accident. Force= Mass x Acceleration. Simply put, how hard something hits you is a combination of how big it is times how fast it is moving. If an object is small it can still hit you with a lot of force if it is moving rapidly. The classic example of that would be a bullet. If I throw it at you it wouldn’t do too much damage but when shot with high-velocity it is deadly. Likewise, a large object doesn’t have to be moving very quickly to hit you with a lot of force.
Now, let’s talk about car design. Most automobiles made in the last 15-20 years were designed with collisions in mind. They are engineered to preserve life in a high-speed crash and to preserve damage to the vehicle in a low-speed collision. In a high-speed collision, the car will crumple like an accordion to absorb the force. In low speeds, the car is designed to withstand such force.
In any auto accident, there is a transfer of force. The stiffer the object, the less it absorbs, so it transfers to the next softest thing. The softest structure in a car is a person. So, with high impact collisions, the car will absorb most of the force but in a low impact collision, it is the person in the vehicle that will. As a result, people who are in a minor collision can actually have worse soft tissue damage than someone in a really bad accident.
If you are ever in an auto accident, even if it seems like no big deal, I would highly encourage you to get an examination. Otherwise, what can happen is that joints that don’t heal properly can, over time, become dysfunctional which will lead to poor health and pain. I see people daily with necks that have been through a whiplash injury. At the time of the accident, there wasn’t too much pain. Months to years later, much like erosion, degenerative change takes over complicating the healing tenfold.

“I Just Get Normal Headaches.”

What is a normal headache? I hear it all the time from new patients. There are migraine headaches, tension headaches, cluster headaches, sinus headaches, hormone headaches and cervicogenic headaches but I have yet to understand what a normal headache is. I don’t think they exist.

In all seriousness, a headache is never normal. I would venture to say that most people have experienced a headache but that doesn’t make it normal. So, if you suffer from headaches then you need to pay attention.
According to some studies, 70% of all headaches are actually cervicogenic, which is a fancy way of saying that the pain is caused by dysfunction in the neck. I would concur based on the number of people I have personally helped overcome headaches by working on the neck. All of the other headaches can either be triggered by neck problems or at least made worse.
Whatever the cause of the headache it should not just be written off. Pain is an indicator for dysfunction. If you have pain you can assume something is wrong. The true goal of health care is not to take away the pain but to get the pain to go away by correcting the dysfunction. Identifying the reason you are getting headaches and then working to correct it is the normal thing to do.

Bursitis? Isn’t That What My Grandma Has?

By request, I am going to blog about bursitis. Most people have no clue what I mean when I tell them they have bursitis, even though they may have heard of it. I like to explain it like this: Suppose you have a rope hanging over the edge of a cliff. If the rope swings or moves it will start to wear out at the point where it makes contact with the rock, right? So, to avoid the wear and tear, you place the bag that you used to carry the rope up to the top of the cliff (rock climbers and repellers will relate) under the rope. This will help reduce friction and keep the rope from fraying.

In this analogy, the rope is like a tendon which is the continuation of a muscle that inserts it into a bone. Tendons often stretch over a bony edge, the cliff. The bursa, then, is the bag y
ou put under the rope or tendon to reduce friction. It is, indeed, a sack that is flat and fluid filled. Because it is fluid filled, the outer edges glide back and forward on each other underneath the tendon thus limiting friction of the tendon.

Anytime you see or hear the suffix “itis” it just means inflammation. So, bursitis is inflammation of the bursa. How does it happen? There a few ways you can develop bursitis. The most common happens when you put too much tension on the tendon and therefore too much pressure on the bursa. Imagine the rope wearing out the bag. This can happen with poor muscle mechanics or just too much load. In a shoulder bursitis what comes to mind is someone with bad posture whose shoulders are slumping forward who starts to lift weights at the gym but doesn’t want to look like a sissy so they lift too much. This scenario neatly covers most of the common risk factors. (There can also be metabolic conditions that cause bursitis, like calcium deposits in the bursa and things like that but they are not as common and frankly would bore you, probably even more than this).

The way to determine if you have bursitis is through a process of resistance and elimination. The first thing you have to rule out is a tendinitis, (which you have cleverly deduced based upon earlier information is inflammation of a tendon). The tricky part is that a tendinitis feels the same as a bursitis. Usually, bursae (the plural of bursae) have more that one tendon running over them so the only way to distinguish the two is to test all of the tendons by checking resistance of all of the muscles attached to the tendons. If stress on every tendon is painful it is more likely you have a bursitis instead of tendinitis of all of the tendons. In simplicity, if it hurts when you use your arm in every motion it is most likely the bursa.
Healing bursitis can be difficult. Motion causes the bursa to work, so any motion is potential for more inflammation and pain. The key is to reduce the inflammation. You can do that through icing (15-20 minutes at a time) and rest. For diet, it may sound crazy but a half a fresh pineapple a day for 6 six days reduces inflammation like a champ. Also, Omega 3 supplements really help.
The other thing you have to address is why you developed the bursitis. If a joint is subluxated or you have bad posture you need to be adjusted to reduce the amount of pressure on the bursa. Likewise, changing how your mechanics or the amount of resistance can make a big difference.

Once You Start Chiropractic You Can NEVER Stop! Muaw, aw, aw, aw!

In your profession is there a comment or question you get asked a lot that just sets you off? For me it is someone trying to tell me that once you start chiropractic care you can never stop. It is so ridiculous that I often respond, “I once had a patient who quit and she died the next day.”

Seriously, what do people think is going to happen? The truth is that when you go through a course of treatment your body gets used to functioning properly. Over time, as you put wear and tear on your body, things start to become dysfuncitonal. When things are dysfunctional long enough it produces symptoms. To add insult to injury, when you have been adjusted and know what it is like to feel well, it is more obvious when things are not functioning.
I usually encourage patients to do a maintenance program after their functional correction program. This program consists of getting adjsusted on a regular basis to maintain function. When you become dysfunctional enough to feel symptoms the damage is already done. The art of maintaining is keeping things functional so that you don’t feel symptoms.
With this in mind, the real question is once you start chiropractic care, why would you want to stop?