Monday, August 26, 2013

Activities To Help Relieve Your Back Pain

We all know when it comes to lower back pain the first person you call is your chiropractor. Chiropractors can help you find relief and can also recommend a number of ways you can extend that relief well past the chiropractic session.

Many chiropractors recommend their patients adopt healthy habits such as walking, yoga and certain exercises such as pilates and stretching. All of this advice has some strong backing.

In a recent study by the Department of Physiotherapy, Maccabi Healthcare Services in Lod at Tel-Aviv University in Tel-Aviv, Israel walking was found to help significantly with adults who were looking to strengthen their backs, this worked in comparison to doing a complicated series of back exercises. A comprehensive review published in May in the Clinical Journal of Pain also found that there was "strong evidence for short-term effectiveness" of yoga against back pain, although whether the benefits last beyond a year is less certain.

Other experiments noted by The New York Times have found that Pilates, stretching classes, acupuncture, and stationary bicycling each provide some people with some pain relief, although in head-to-head studies, no one of those options is superior to the others.

Feel free to set up an appointment to come in and discuss the different things that you can do to help get relief for your back pain in addition to chiropractic adjustments.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chiropractic Care: A Solution for Migraines

The remedy for a migraine eludes most people despite the many years of suffering, until they are introduced to chiropractic care. A migraine is described as an incapacitating condition that is characterized by a throbbing headache, which occurs in episodes that lasts from several hours to 3 days.

According to the World Health Organization, 10% of the world's adult population suffers from migraines and it accounts for over 2% of years lost as a result of disability globally. Close to 40 million people have migraines with at least three million of them suffering from chronic migraine in the United States alone. In addition, over 90% of migraine sufferers miss work or cannot attend function during an attack. These figures are staggering and they indicate the imminent threat migraines pose to individuals and the economy in general. Therefore, it makes sense for people to embrace the answer for migraines; chiropractic care.

How Does Our Office Treat Migraines?

For those who know the pain, stress and cost of dealing with a migraine for years on end without success, they find it hard to believe that their migraine can be cured by simple and drug free solutions.

People with chronic migraines have been victims of empty medical promises for so long they become wary of anything or anyone suggesting that migraines are treatable.  What they do not know is that the main cause of their migraines is a misalignment of their upper cervical spine, which can effectively and efficiently be readjusted through chiropractic care, resulting in recovery from migraine.

To treat a migraine, we focus on what other traditional migraine treatments do not; the underlying cause of a migraine.  The most common cause of migraines is neck muscle tension.  In our office, the muscle tension is eliminated by combining different chiropractic migraine treatments including cervical spine adjustments, trigger point therapy, and acupuncture.

Some of the other causes of migraines that chiropractic care treatment identifies and rectifies include stiff necks, tension in the shoulders, tension in the lower or upper back and even postural misalignment.  Once the underlying causes are located and dealt with, the occurrences of migraines are greatly reduced and in most instances, stopped.

Is Chiropractic Care Really Better Than Other Migraine Remedies?

Debates have been raging on for years about the effectiveness and safety of chiropractic care in dealing with various health problems including migraines. Recent studies have brought the debate to a close.  According to studies conducted to examine the ability of chiropractic care to treat migraines, chiropractic care is the most effective, safest and most efficient in providing long term benefits with the least number of side effects compared to other remedies.

The results of the study were obtained by comparing two different groups of people suffering from headaches. The two groups had to undergo six weeks of traditional medication and chiropractic treatment respectively.

Conclusively, chiropractic care relieved the subjects migraines.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chocolate: The Next Miracle Food?

You heard it right: Chocolate is rapidly becoming the next miracle food. If minimally processed, it contains the highest flavanol content of any food. [Flavanols are phytonutrients also found in various fruits and vegetables and associated with numerous health benefits.] The problem is that these valuable compounds are nearly all destroyed when the cocoa beans are heated during processing. For a number of years, chocolate companies have put a great deal of effort toward figuring out how to preserve the flavanols in chocolate, and it appears some of them have succeeded. Several research papers report striking effects from eating these "special" chocolates regularly, including that eating chocolate lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, and lowers blood sugar. One of the most intriguing suggests chocolate even prevents sunburn - not by rubbing the chocolate into one's skin, but by eating it. Let's learn more about how chocolate is not only good (really good), but also good for you.

Chocolate for Blood Pressure
A number of recent "chocolate papers" have been published. Which is the most interesting? That honor should probably go to researchers from Harvard who solved what we could call the Kuna Puzzle. The Kuna are a group of indigenous people living along the coast of Panama who for the most part live as their ancestors did, hunting and fishing. However, some have moved to Panama City. The Kuna stand out in the medical literature because they have no age-related increase in blood pressure; 60-year-olds have the same blood pressure as 20-year-olds - that is, as long as they stay out of Panama City. Once a member of the Kuna moves to the city, their blood pressure tends to rise. Of those who live in Panama City, 45 percent of Kuna ages 60 and older have elevated blood pressure.

Why the Kuna don't suffer from hypertension as they age has been a long standing puzzle, up unto recently. In 2006, Harvard researchers explained the Kuna's apparent "immunity" to hypertension. They carefully modified the Kuna diet and realized that island-dwelling Kuna drink large quantities of flavanol-rich cocoa on a daily basis (5 cups or more) and incorporate it into numerous recipes. On the other hand, Kuna who live in the city consume far less cocoa, and what they do consume is commercially produced and thus has little flavanol content.

In simple words, for non-city-dwelling Kuna, eating flavanol-rich chocolate keeps their blood pressure down. Recall that chocolate contains the highest flavanol content of any food when minimally processed, but these valuable compounds are nearly all destroyed during standard processing (which involves heating). So, when the Kuna switch from unprocessed, "homemade" chocolate to city, store-bought, processed chocolate, they no longer get the chocolate protection.

Typically, cocoa loses over 70 percent of its initial polyphenol content (flavanol is a polyphenol) during manufacturing. The heat destroys it. In the past several years, researchers and food scientists have developed ways to preserve the polyphenol and particularly the flavanol content of chocolate. These high-flavanol chocolates have allowed for the study of chocolate's potential benefits.

There is little doubt any more that these chocolates lower blood pressure. Eating them activates specific enzymes called nitric oxide synthases. These enzymes increase the amount of nitric oxide made in the blood. Nitric oxide is a potent vasodilator and improves the function of blood vessels.

How much is enough? A March 2010 study published in the American Journal of Hypertension suggests that as little as 6 grams per day of high-flavanol chocolates lowers blood pressure. Certainly any chocolate lover could manage 6 grams a day, right?

Chocolate and Heart Health
Chocolate protects against heart disease in more ways than lowering blood pressure. It also decreases blood markers of vascular inflammation and improves cholesterol levels. A 2008 paper published in the Southern Medical Journal reported that after one week of eating a daily dose of chocolate providing 700 mg of flavanols, subjects' low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (the "bad cholesterol") fell by 6 percent and their high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the "good cholesterol") rose by 9 percent.

Chocolate as an Edible Sunscreen?
In a double-blind study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology last year, researchers in London gave chocolates to 30 healthy volunteers. Half ate a high-flavanol chocolate and the others ate a low-flavanol chocolate. A minimal erythema dose (MED), a measurement of how much sun exposure it takes to trigger a sunburn reaction, was calculated at the start of the experiment and again three months later. Volunteers who ate the regular chocolate had no change in sun sensitivity. But in those who ate the high-flavanol chocolate, the length of time it took for their skin to start to "burn" more than doubled. In other words, they could tolerate twice the sun exposure without burning as before they started eating the chocolate.

Most people, if given a choice between eating chocolate or slathering oneself with sunscreen, would not even consider this a choice, but a no-brainer.

Let the Eater Beware: Not All Chocolate Is Created Equal

These are all fascinating studies, but there is one problem. Standard chocolates, the kind most people eat regularly, contain only small amounts of flavanol. These chocolate research studies used special chocolates with much higher than normal flavanol content. Flavanol content was preserved through special low-temperature processing. So, as tempting as it might sound to purchase a chocolate bar next time you are at the checkout while grocery shopping, don't do it with the rationale that it will improve your health. Those chocolates do not contain enough flavanol to work their health magic.

That said, more and more companies, large and small, are working to produce high-flavanol chocolate. For example, there are two major companies that claim to have figured out how to preserve the flavanols in chocolate. One is the Belgium chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut, who has developed a special refining process marketed under the brand name Acticoa. This brand of chocolate has been used in most of these recent research papers. Callebaut does not currently sell its chocolate in North America, though a rumor hints that it will introduce it to the U.S. market this summer.

The other company marketing high-flavanol chocolate is part of the Mars candy company and sells their product under the brand name CirkuHealth. This product line replaces Mars' older specialty brand called CocoaVia, which was manufactured and sold for about 10 years, but discontinued in 2009.

That something as delicious and pleasurable as chocolate might offer profound health benefits is almost too good to be true. We still can't say definitively that chocolate prevents high blood pressure, heart disease or sunburn, but I'm sure you'd be willing to volunteer for the next study! For now, talk to your doctor for additional information.

Original article at http://bit.ly/cjMRoT

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

'You Are What You Eat' and 'Gut Feelings' Take On New Meaning

In a recent UCLA study published in the journal Gastroenterology, researchers have discovered evidence that bacteria we ingest in food can affect how our brain functions.  In a study of healthy women, they found that women who regularly consumed beneficial bacteria known as probiotics showed altered brain function in both a resting state and in response to an “emotion-recognition” task.

This discovery carries significant implications for future research that could point the way toward dietary or drug interventions to improve brain function, the researchers said.

"Time and time again, we hear from patients that they never felt depressed or anxious until they started experiencing problems with their gut," Tillisch said. "Our study shows that the gut–brain connection is a two-way street."

Researchers have known that the brain sends signals to the gut, which is why stress and other emotions can contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms. This study shows what has been suspected in the medical community (but known by chiropractors since 1895): those nerve signals travel the opposite way as well.

This is one of the reasons that people with intestinal and digestive problems like “heart burn”, diarrhea, and constipation can frequently get relief from chiropractic care.  To learn more about this study, click here.  To see if Chiropractic can help you, call (303) 463-0722 and schedule an appointment today!