You’ve got to listen to the story I am going to tell in this video. There is a tremendous health nugget revealed that is a true gem.
Most people don’t know my chiropractic story, but I believe that it starts here, in my father’s childhood. When i ponder this story the empathetic side of me can’t help but feel for this young boy and how he must have felt about what his body was doing. Or not doing. It really breaks my heart that in my father’s past he was down, and defeated with probably a deflated self esteem.
I can’t help but think about how many people are out there whose body’s are not cooperating and not allowing them to engage in life they way that they were meant to. The frustration that brings to a youth. The anger that can bring to an adult or aging person. As a person who deeply desires to see people experience greater health so they can play in life they way they want and were supposed to, these are very sobering thoughts.
But still, something so very small and minor in the grand scheme of things; something so out of the box changed the direction and outlook for that young man who is my father today. A simple chiropractic adjustment changed everything for him. By removing the interference in his body and allowing it to work the way it was supposed to enabled him to fully engage in life.
If this small event, chiropractic adjustment, would have never taken place; if my grandmother thought her friend was a nut case for encouraging her to take him, how would my dad have turned out? Would this problem have persisted? Would he have ever been confident in who he is? Would he have ever become my dad?
But he did have an encounter with a chiropractor. It changed his body. It changed his life.
Record levels of overdose and addiction due to prescription painkillers
Opioid use dates back to 3400 B.C, and they have been an extremely effective source of pain relief for decades. So, isn’t it ironic that a brilliant form of medical help is actually the number one cause of accidental death in the United States?
Unfortunately, people accidentally overdosing on prescription painkillers has reached an all-time high. In fact, medical experts are actually branding it as an ‘opioid epidemic’.
This article sheds come light on the alarming facts and figures surrounding opioid use and why they are being prescribed in the first place.
What are opioids?
Opioids are a class of drug that act on the nervous system to relieve pain. Illicit drugs such as heroin and legal prescription medications such as oxycodone, codeine and morphine are included in this class.
The Facts and Figures Define the Problem
If you look at research conducted by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the number one cause of accidental death is drug overdose. The following figures define the scope of this ‘epidemic’:
52, 404 Americans died from lethal drug overdose in 2015 (1)
20, 101 overdose deaths due to prescription painkillers
12,990 overdose deaths due to heroin (2)
X4 increase in the overdose death rate between 1999 and 2008
The figures show a larger number of deaths from over-the-counter prescription medications, not from illicit drugs. These prescription medications are the same ones found in most households across the country.
Of concern is that the crisis shows no signs of easing up. How is this happening and what needs to be done to turn things around?
What are prescription painkillers used for?
We know the number of deaths from opioid over-prescription is alarming. However, Australia’s Penington Institute (3) believes the situation in Australia is much, much worse. To put it into perspective; a huge 69% of drug-related death there are from prescription painkillers.
Although, other than for cancer treatment, the second major reason for painkiller prescriptions is musculoskeletal pain. This includes common ailments such as back and neck pain. Subsequently, there must be more emphasis on seeking out new options to assist those with musculoskeletal issues. Indeed, healthcare professionals across numerous specialities are trying to raise awareness of this problem, including chiropractors, who specialise in musculoskeletal problems.
A little bit about musculoskeletal pain…
Musculoskeletal pain is often caused by injury or stress to the bones, joints, muscles, connective tissues and nerves. Factors that contribute to this type of pain may include:
Slips, trips and falls
Chiropractic care is an excellent treatment option for these types of pains.
Not only will chiropractors work to address your pain, reducing the need for highly addictive opioids, they’ll aim to determine the underlying cause, hopefully providing longer-term relief.
How effective are opioids for pain relief?
Essentially, opioids are designed to mask feelings of pain to thereby improve quality of life for the sufferer. But, when it comes to more serious bouts of pain; opioids are usually ineffective as either the pain won’t subside, or the individual will become addicted.
While there is general scientific consensus on their use as a treatment for cancer pains, there remains a question on their long-term use for chronic non-cancer pain. This has caused great controversy amongst healthcare professionals.
An article published in the Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology journal reviewed the situation with opioids and found current studies do not provide sufficient evidence of long-term effectiveness. Rather, a trend of overtreatment is emerging, leaving in it’s wake record levels of addiction and overdose.
Think about this: would routinely taking a painkiller ever address possible underlying causes of the pain? No.
A more natural alternative
So, should more natural methods of pain management, such as chiropractic treatment, be considered in cases of musculoskeletal pain? What about patients being referred to a chiropractor in the first instance?
Attending a chiropractor may allow you to avoid drug use completely. Therefore, you won’t experience any side effects that you may be vulnerable to with painkillers.
So, when musculoskeletal issues are concerned, natural therapies are being utilized more and more to relieve pain and combat the opioid crisis. This is great as many people believe without painkillers they’ll have to suffer, but chiropractic treatment proves that is far from correct.
Is it time for a change?
Yes, opioids can be an effective form of pain relief if everything goes to plan. But, the drastic rise in prescription painkiller overdose highlights the fact that we need to explore new approaches to pain management. When addiction is a huge risk, it would be wise to utilize treatments that are drug-free, such as a chiropractor.
Ultimately, if you’re struggling to handle pain and you don’t want to risk becoming addicted to painkillers, then why not opt for more natural options? Just give your local chiropractor a call, and query the services that they provide.
Rudd RA, Seth P, David F, Scholl L. Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:1445–1452. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm655051e1
http://www.penington.org.au/overdoseday/ Penington Institute Australia’s Annual Overdose Report – 2016. Based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Rosenblum A, Marsch LA, Joseph H, Portenoy RK. Opioids and the Treatment of Chronic Pain: Controversies, Current Status, and Future Directions. Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology. 2008;16(5):405-416. doi:10.1037/a0013628.
Hacking your Immune System for the Upcoming Flu Season
It’s coming! Flu season is knocking on our door with the peak months typically starting in December and lasting through February. If the last few years serve as any example, this year will also be above average with influenza-like illness cases, hospital visits and days of work lost.1,2 You can be above average with your response as well. You are a fortress with an innate special forces immune system designed to meet and beat the threat of illness. Give that system the supplies and support it needs to overcome the flu this year.
This vitamin might be one’s very best immune boost and defense against the flu. Typically we would create our own vitamin D with sunlight exposure. However, with the days colder and shorter we are staying more covered up. A recent review of 25 controlled studies involving 11,000 individuals demonstrated that those who take vitamin D supplements were less likely to report flu or cold symptoms. It also indicated that those with blood levels less than 10ng/ml are at the greatest risk of illness.3 It is generally agreed upon that 30-50ng/ml is the optimal and safe level for health.4 To reach these levels supplementation is often necessary. Supplementing with 8,000-10,000 iu of D3 per day many be necessary. Specific protocols can be defined after blood level testing.5,6 Vitamin D3 supplementation is also safe for children. In practice I have generally recommended 2,500 iu/day for children and 5,000 iu/day for adults. These amounts may change depending on one’s health history.
Chiropractic, it turns out, is not just for back and neck pain. It has been demonstrated clinically that chiropractic has a tremendous effect on your immune system. Studies have indicated that after a specific upper neck adjustment the immune system will up-regulate.18 Clinically we have seen patients overcome the flu quicker than their friends and family who don’t receive chiropractic.
There are many essential oils that have beneficial properties when dealing with flu-like symptoms. Many of these are also included in blends that can synergistically work together to ward off infection. These can be administered via diffuser, orally or on the soles of your feet.
Frankincense has recently been in the news as potential cancer fighter, but it is also a potent anti-inflammatory that has benefited those with the flu. Its high levels of boswellia acids are credit with this attribute.
Clove is another oil of benefit because of its anti-inflammatory properties. In addition it has been shown to have good antimicrobial properties making it more potent against the illness.8 It is so impactful that it’s routinely incorporated into immune boosting blends.
Oregano oil is commonly used because of its ability to influence the severity of symptoms. This would be due to its antiseptic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is worth noting that while it is a strong asset in mitigating some of the symptoms of the flu it does sometimes cause stomach pain and nausea.
A diffuser running in the office during this time of year is a health boon for your clients!
Before we had clinical trials and manufacturing facilities for synthetic disease fighting drugs, we had natural pharmacology in the form of herbs. Countless herbs have demonstrated their healing capabilities so well in fact that they were the blue print for many common pharmaceuticals today.
Garlic has been used for centuries to ward of disease and evil spirits. It is believed that the illness fighting properties come from the compound alliin that transforms into a sulphur containing compound when a clove is crushed or chewed.9 These compounds boosts the power of some white blood cells. 9, 10 Garlic can be taken via supplement tablet, crushed and eaten, or combined while cooking. To release the desired properties it is necessary to crush or chew the clove. If you plan to eat directly, start with small portions as garlic can cause an upset stomach in some.
Probably more so than garlic, elderberry has deep historical significance as a treasure trove of healing capabilities. Even the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, called it his “medicine chest” because of its wide spectrum of influence.11 In particular with the flu, it is powerful in reducing the symptoms and duration if taken within the first 48 hours of onset.12, 13 Elderberry, is so powerful that during the 1995 Panama flu epidemic the government used it to fight the disease. More recently studies have demonstrated its effectiveness at mitigating symptoms with H1N1 human influenza virus and H5N1 avian influenza virus.14 You can purchase and use elderberry in many forms; pills, sprays, lozenges, syrups and even tea.
More popular than the above mentioned herbs, Echinacea has the “natural treatment of the flu” discussion spinning in controversy. Though it is the top immune boosting herb in sales, it is clouded with inconclusive or poorly modeled studies as to its efficacy in effecting a change in those with the flu.15 However, due to its sales, one can ascertain that there are many people who, despite what many studies say, have experienced the positive effects of Echinacea on their health. Regardless there are many studies that demonstrate the herb’s ability to up-regulate the immune system.16, 17 What’s more is that it synergistically works will with other herbs like elderberry and goldenseal to be much more impactful.
I can’t say enough that lifestyle and habits around this time of year will play a major role in whether or not you get sick. Consider that the height of flu season is on the tail end of several months of festivities where traditions can drag us in to over eating and junk food snaking. From Halloween through the New Year there are plenty of opportunities to eat more processed and sugar laden foods that will increase your body’s inflammation creating fertile ground for illness. Eliminating sugar and grains from your body is a sure fire way to reduce inflammation and allow your immune system to thrive.
Finally, the flu is a serious contagious illness that may have further complications such as pneumonia. While all of the above mentioned natural remedies will influence an individual’s wellness and to some degree lessen the severity of symptoms; it may be necessary to seek medical care especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are pregnant.
Amrein, K. (2017). Faculty of 1000 evaluation for Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. F1000 – Post-publication peer review of the biomedical literature. doi:10.3410/f.727312221.793530613.
Holick MF, Binkley NC, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Gordon CM, Hanley DA, Heaney RP, Murad MH, Weaver CM. (2011) Evaluation, treatment, and prevention of vitamin D deficiency: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. doi: 10.1210/jc.2011-0385. Epub 2011 Jun 6.
Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2010.
Chevrier, M. R., Ryan, A. E., Lee, D. Y., Zhongze, M., Wu-Yan, Z., & Via, C. S. (2005). Boswellia carterii Extract Inhibits TH1 Cytokines and Promotes TH2 Cytokines In Vitro. Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, 12(5), 575-580. doi:10.1128/cdli.12.5.575-580.2005.
Chaieb, K., Hajlaoui, H., Zmantar, T., Kahla-Nakbi, A. B., Rouabhia, M., Mahdouani, K., & Bakhrouf, A. (2007). The chemical composition and biological activity of clove essential oil,Eugenia caryophyllata (Syzigium aromaticum L. Myrtaceae): a short review. Phytotherapy Research, 21(6), 501-506. doi:10.1002/ptr.2124.
Rodrigo Arreola, Saray Quintero-Fabián, Rocío Ivette López-Roa, et al., “Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds,” Journal of Immunology Research, vol. 2015, Article ID 401630, 13 pages, 2015. doi:10.1155/2015/401630.
Nantz, M. P., Rowe, C. A., Muller, C. E., Creasy, R. A., Stanilka, J. M., & Percival, S. S. (2012). Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and γδ-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention. Clinical Nutrition, 31(3), 337-344. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2011.11.019.
Zakay-Rones, Z., Thom, E., Wollan, T., & Wadstein, J. (2004). Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections. Journal of International Medical Research, 32(2), 132-140. doi:10.1177/147323000403200205.
Fan‐kun Kong, PhD. (2009). Pilot Clinical Study on a Proprietary Elderberry Extract: Efficacy in Addressing Influenza Symptoms. Online Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics, Volume 5: 32‐43.
Clarke TC, Black LI, Stussman BJ, Barnes PM, Nahin RL. Trends in the use of complementary health approaches among adults: United States, 2002–2012. National health statistics reports; no 79. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015.
Brousseau M, Miller SC. Enhancement of natural killer cells and increased survival of aging mice fed daily Echinacea root extract from youth. Biogerontology. 2005;6(3):157-63.
Morazzoni P, Cristoni A, Di Pierro F, Avanzini C, Ravarino D, Stornello S, Zucca M, Musso T. In vitro and in vivo immune stimulating effects of a new standardized Echinacea angustifolia root extract (Polinacea). Fitoterapia. 2005 Jul;76(5):401-11.
Selano JL. The Effects of Specific Upper Cervical Adjustments on the CD4 Counts of HIV Positive Patients. Chiro Res J 1994; 3 (1): 32–39.
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With the advent of the smartphone Tech Neck has become a problem and fast becoming a formal diagnosis from doctors. The problem lies in the habit and the aftermath. Most people view their smartphone several times throughout their day and are spending more and more time on them with their social features and ease of access to news and data. The access to all of this information is good, but the repetitive nature of looking down is training our posture and neck to work in a way it was not intended to. This can lead to a number of health problems. Tech Neck can be responsible for your neck pain, shoulder pain, pain between your shoulder blades, fatigue and even headaches. Here are the pieces to the puzzle to correct this.
1. Identify the habits
Make a analysis of hove much you are using your phone or device. Even ask your friends for their insight. That objective perspective can tell you a lot. Pay attention to what the triggers are. Do you have notifications on that trigger you to start looking at your device? Consider turning those off. Also, do you find yourself going to your phone when you have down time or when you see others on your phone? This is all good information as you can now start to modify those habits so that you are not on your device with your head forward flexed slowly retraining your anatomy into this position that will ultimately affect your health and cause more pain.
2. Do you need a doctor’s help?
Pain is always an indication that there is a problem and tissue has been damaged. It is our body’s way to get us to stop doing something. If you have previous injuries and/or pain in those shoulders, neck or head for more than 48 hours it is time to consult with a chiropractor. They will do a thorough evaluation and provide treatment if indicated. If you have the cardinal sign of Tech Neck on your x-ray, a straight neck spine forward off of your shoulders, then corrective care will be necessary. Corrective care addresses the previous damage and alignment of the spine to mold it back to its original state.
3. Get some new habits
Your habits define your health. In order to keep your spine healthy and restored from overuse of your phone or device you will need to employee some new habits. I encourage you to do exercises like the video above as well as any exercises the encourage proper alignment of your shoulders and shoulder blades. The biggest habit to change is how you interact with your phone. Studies demonstrate that we are on our phones and devices more than we need to be. So find times when you can turn your phone off and put it away such as while dinning, when you are having family time or working. All of these will be a lot more enjoyable without the interruptions! Secondly, since using a hand-held device is inevitable, make sure you consciously limit your time and then followup your usage with neck and shoulder stretches and strengthening exercises like the one above. Doing this will save you a lot of pain down the road.
Knee pain is very prevalent and causes a loss of lifestyle and enjoyment in its sufferers. Because of this there are 600,000 arthroscopic surgeries and over 700,000 total knee replacements each year. Knee problems can be caused from trauma (i.e. athletics or a misstep), wear and tear and a small percentage of genetic conditions. Through normal course of care your physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory pain medication, physical therapy, lifestyle changes or even an orthopedic consult.
There are two very often overlooked simple, but incredibly impactful solutions that can dramatically improve or solve your knee troubles.
What you need to first understand is that the knee joint is part of a chain of joints that are responsible for your movement. When you walk or run the knee is responsible for transferring energy and motion through this chain that also involves your feet, hips and lower spine. The knee just happens to be right in the middle of this chain. It doesn’t start or direct the motion; it passes it along. The two areas most responsible for directing the knee are your feet and your lower spine. The knee essentially does what it is told.
YOUR LOWER SPINE
The lower spine is like a camshaft directing the pelvis and hips through the knee to the feet when you take a step. There is a complicated system of muscles that are activated in the proper proportion for this to happen. Of course the orchestrator of this is your brain and nerve system. That is where the program for walking, running and any other movement is stored and activated from. Proper communication from your brain through your lower spine on the nerves to all of your muscles is required or nothing happens. If there is any interference in that nerve pathway, a person many not have the proper strength or coordination to move properly. In most circumstances a little interference in not noticeable right away, but over time a pattern may arise that is causing the system to work differently where some muscles are used and others aren’t when they should be. This could be the cause of excess twisting at the knee or improper flexion causing you a lot of trouble and pain as the tissues and even bones break down over years.
Errors in the alignment of your spine will cause the breakdown in the mechanics of how you move.
This can first be a break down in efficiency (i.e. the difference between someone who can walk for hours and those who fatigue rapidly) but over time it can be the breakdown of function and cause of more pain. But neurologically the alignment of your spine will dictate the communication to your legs. With misalignments it is like a dimmer switch on a light. They won’t be turned off completely; they will be dimmer delivering less impulse to provide coordination, strength and stamina of movement.
To test if your spine is potentially part of the problem:
Stand straight in an area where you can grab on to something should you become unstable.
Put your feet together with toes pointed straight ahead.
Let go of any railings or support.
Close your eyes.
Take note of any sway patterns. Are you going to one side or back and forth? Are you making circles? Any of these may indicated that there are stability and or alignment issues in your lower spine. You may need to have someone stand behind you to watch and support you if you become unstable.
Proper spinal alignment is as much about working with the right professional as it is about personal habits. Chiropractor’s number one concern is the proper alignment of your spine to allow a conduit for proper nerve transmission for your body to function the way it was designed. Personally, it is your decision to adhere to habits that promote proper spinal alignment and refrain from those that don’t. As an example, sitting for long hours has been shown to negatively impact the alignment of your spinal column while regular moderate intensity muscle building exercise will strengthen and support a healthy spine.
It might be a little easier to pin a knee problem to ones feet because we so often feel the pain with every step taken. Still, the feet are often overlooked as a possible culprit for your knee pain.
In the chain referenced above, the feet will direct energy and motion up the leg once contact has been made with the ground. The foot is designed to create a stable foundation with the ground. On even ground the foot will go through a cycle that involves heel strike, roll forward and a push off of the big toe. How this is done depends largely on how well the rest of the chain did its job in getting the foot to the ground in the proper position. Once it is there it is up to the three arches of the foot to allow the foot to roll from the outside edge of the heel to the big toe in a controlled fashion. Getting the proper control is challenging because most feet don’t have the necessary arches and stability to begin with and shoes aren’t always made with proper support in mind. What happens if the foot is not properly supported is there will be too much motion, like micro shaking, that that will cause extra muscle recruitment, fatigue and a position change in the body that will sometime put extra pressure and a twist on the knee resulting in problems.
A simple test to see if your feet are doing their job is as follows:
In bare feet stand straight with legs shoulder width apart.
Close your eyes.
Raise on foot off of the ground.
Notice the effort in your contacting foot. You should be able to stand for many moments without problems. If you are falling to the inside or your ankle is moving back and forth a lot, your feet may not be stable and could be part of the cause of your knee problems.
Proper stability and mechanics of the feet can be addressed with proper footwear, custom orthotics and even proper joint manipulation as a reset. These will insure that the feet do their job and don’t hurt the knees.
Accurately assessing the cause of your knee pain can be somewhat like a puzzle.
It is necessary to look at habits (i.e. sitting with legs crossed all day) and make adjustments there first. Next, working with a professional to determine if your feet or spine are in need of correction is necessary. Addressing these areas can ensure that a proper solution is found in a more timely manner allowing you to pursue a lifestyle on your terms!
Chronic back pain affects an estimated 100 million Americans, making it a major public health issue at a cost of around $600 billion a year. Ouch! The term ‘chronic pain’ refers to any long-term pain (longer than 3 months) and or disability resulting from a back injury, or from a variety of other causes.
Chronic back pain is a long-term, persistent condition that causes physical or psychological distress.
Typically, back pain is caused by some type of injury, work-related injury, or sports-related injury – or is the result of a prolonged sedentary lifestyle combined with poor posture.
Either from traumatic injury or sedentary lifestyle, chronic back pain is a reality for hundreds of millions of people around the globe.
Getting treatment for back pain typically begins with a visit to your local chiropractor where you will receive high quality treatment and suggestions for lifestyle changes designed to strengthen your back muscles and lower your pain.
Chiropractors are trained to diagnose, treat, co-manage, and manage the treatment of those experiencing back pain and work with other healthcare providers.
The direct route to managing back pain symptoms is via (non-surgical) chiropractic care, which utilizes chiropractic adjustments to help the body heal itself, with a focus on lowering pain levels and reducing the swelling of inflamed muscle tissue.
Chiropractic adjustments are a proven treatment solution and your chiropractor will work closely with you to obtain the best results for your short-term back pain symptoms or long-term disability caused by your medical condition.
Evidence-Informed Management Of Chronic Low Back Pain With Spinal Manipulation And Mobilization — The Spine Journal
During your care, your chiropractor will constantly evaluate your progress and will tailor your care program in consultation with you, in the interests of the best result.
Your chiropractor is a highly qualified healthcare professional who aims to assist people in lowering their pain, increasing mobility and reducing the incidence of future occurrences.
In the absence of obvious traumatic injury, it can be difficult to diagnose chronic back pain, however, sedentary lifestyle and poor posture are recognized by chiropractors as major risk factors.
Slouching or hunching places undue stress on the spinal column and can increase your chances for back-related injury.
As in other parts of our life, staying active is important for our health. Both spinal mobility and resistance to future back injury are improved when moderate activity and posture improvements are combined.
Staying active and working to improve your posture can make a big difference to back pain patients.
Incorporating a daily walking routine can result in significant improvements to lower back health and works to prevent future injury by strengthening your back muscles.
Why not try the Straighten Up app to receive posture and spinal exercise reminders throughout the day to improve your spinal health.
We invite you to come in and meet the team here at Inner Vitality Chiropractic for more information on back pain and other spinal health issues.
Serious athletes need serious nutrition and among the best-known supplements prescribed by dedicated Sports Doctors to professional athletes are magnesium supplements.
This amazing mineral works at many different levels in the body particularly in strengthening bones, muscles, and in converting gluconate into energy. It’s especially important to athletes recovering from injury or over-exertion. The importance of maintaining adequate magnesium levels cannot be underestimated by anyone, athlete or not, but is especially pertinent for weekend warriors and professional athletes.
Virtually all chemical processes in the body require enzymatic reactions to assist in normal physiology. Magnesium is a critical co-factor in more than 300 of these reactions. In particular, it is necessary in the manufacture of proteins, production of cellular energy, muscle contraction, blood vessel tone, cellular communications and nerve conduction. Additionally, magnesium is an essential component in the maintenance of healthy bones. – Alive.com
For those reasons and more, obtaining enough magnesium is of paramount importance for anyone involved in sporting activities.
According to the National Institutes of Health, habitually low intakes or excessive losses of magnesium due to certain health conditions, chronic alcoholism, and/or the use of certain medications can lead to magnesium deficiency.
Additionally, “Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes.”
While adding excessive amounts of magnesium to your diet won’t help you perform any better, a lack of this vital mineral will impair performance, slow recovery from normal exercise and lengthen the time it takes to recover from injury.
How to Find Out if You’re Magnesium Deficient?
As most magnesium is bound up in the bones and teeth (60%) and in skeletal soft tissue (20%) it is notoriously difficult to determine the overall magnesium levels in your body. However, a red blood cell magnesium test is a simple test that a specialist may perform.
Doctors can also determine magnesium deficiency by asking about the quality of your sleep, how quickly or slowly you recover after a workout, and whether you suffer from listlessness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, irritability, or excessive muscle cramping post-workout – and other tell-tale signs of mineral deficiency.
Whether a weekend warrior or a professional athlete, these are things you want to avoid, and happily, getting enough magnesium is as easy as adding green, leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, or avocados or bananas to your diet, or by adding a magnesium citrate supplement to your health regime.
Hooray, Happy New Year! Enter all the questions about resolutions, blah, blah, blah, ugh.
We over ate the past month or so, let our healthy habits lapse and let the mirror smite us with judgment. So off to Whole Foods and the gym we go. We are gonna lose those ten pounds and get in the best shape of our lives.
We are determined this year.
But nobody told your job, your family or your life to slow down so you can take a healthy timeout. So what do you do if you find yourself with only 15 minutes today to do anything remotely healthy? How do you keep the ball rolling in that direction when you don’t have time to make it to the gym or plan out the best of meals? You need to do those things, but health is in details. The little details.
Here are 7 little things that pay massive dividends in your health.
Drink some clean water
Dump the coffee, soda, and juice. Water is vital for our existence. Our bodies are made up of at least 80% water, but most people are walking around dehydrated with dry cracked skin, plummeting energy levels and accumulating toxins at every turn. Water is needed for every process in our body and helps clear toxins. Put a liter or more of good ol’ fashion water in your body and see your energy rise and your weight drop. Then drink another.
Movement is life. When you sit stress hormones, namely cortisol, are released into your body that makes you tired, gain weight, and give you poor posture. When you get up and move a different set of hormones, like human growth hormone, are released that promote health mental clarity, energy, and vitality. Movement is life. When you don’t move your health suffers. Go for a walk at lunch time. Do fifteen minutes of yoga.
Take a nap
Raise your hand if you get enough sleep. I didn’t think so. When we sleep that is when our bodies health and rejuvenate for the next day. You may be surprised at what a 15-minute cat nap will do to your energy and mental clarity. And then you don’t need that second cup of coffee to get you through the day.
Get your spine adjusted
Did you know that you don’t have to been in pain to have your spine adjusted by a chiropractor? The clinical results are amazing with what happens as a result of a well-adjusted spine. A properly aligned spine ensures that the pressure is off of your nerves. Keeping the electrical circuits of your body free of interference enables your body to conserve energy, focus more on mission-critical activities like digestion, better mental clarity, and so much more. Lab results show that when a person is adjusted their immune system turns way up. It takes little time and yields health by the bushels.
Take a break, get outside and breathe deep. Open those lungs and take several deep belly breaths. This brings fresh oxygen to your overburdened body. Additionally, it promotes better circulation especially to your lungs where the lymphatics there are responsible for clearing the toxins you breathe. As well, your energy will spike like you just had a cup of joe or took a nap. Breathing deep is something we need to do more of.
We need the sunshine. Our bodies count on it for the creation of vitamin D. Vitamin D3, in particular, is mandatory for a healthy immune system, fighting cancer and heart disease. Like water, it is involved in pretty much everything in your body and we are deficient in it. Also, it stimulates the release of serotonin in our bodies to keep our mood well adjusted. There are additional benefits of the light spectrum of the sunshine that activate different processes in our body to promote health and longevity. It’s been known throughout history that we humans need the sunshine for health. Get some.
Smiling and laughing stimulate the release of happy hormones in your body. These include endorphins that will decrease your aches and pains. Oxytocin for relationship building and biological longevity. And more serotonin to relieve depression and improve self-esteem. Studies show that laughing spikes your immune system as well. I think Jim Gaffigan is on Pandora!
Like I said, health is in the details. Keep on with your eating plan and your exercise regimen, but make sure you are doing the small things that make all the difference in the world especially when you have little time. They can be life-saving!
We have all been corrected by our mom or dad on how we are sitting or standing. For good cause too! I think we all inherently understand that good posture is important. If you don’t think it is that important, just visit a retirement or assisted living facility. What does their posture look like? Now tell me about the enjoyment you see on their faces and status of their health. I think we are on the same page that there is something to be said for one’s posture as it relates to their health.
Here is the question though. Does bad posture create poor health, or does poor health create bad posture? Both actually, and I will try to help you understand the vicious cycle and how to break it.
The first thing you have to understand is that your brain dictates your posture. This super computer has a program running in the background on continuous loop that tells your body how to stand, how to sit and where you are in space. So if you set out to change your posture, it can be done, but you are dealing with neurology and just sitting up straight and exercising is not enough to change it usually.
Your posture is learned. What I mean by that is that you, as a baby, watched your mom, dad, or care takers on how they moved. Your brain sucked this information up and as you developed you started to create your own movement and posture programs. If you stand or move like your parents, you know why now.
But here is where it gets really messy. As you grow and develop you get into more activities and potentially injuries. These all have the opportunity to change your posture. As an example, the average child falls 2000 times when they are learning to walk. That is a tremendous opportunity for injury and to develop some muscles over others in the very beginning. Then maybe there are sport injuries that cause you to favor one side. If you never fully heal from them, you created a new posture from the injury compensation. Then fast forward a few years and you may have a repetitive job or sitting job that tells your main posture muscles to go to sleep. Now, before you know it, your shoulders are rolled forward and head jutting out in front of you.
Your posture is the sum of your habits and injuries.
So what’s the big deal? So what, nobody’s posture is that great. The big deal is that your spine is the main structure involved in creating you posture. It also is designed to have a certain layout of curves and alignment necessary for proper movement, proper posture and proper nerve function. What? Nerve function? That’s right, your spine is the conduit for your spinal cord and nerves from the brain to the entire body. There is information flowing to and fro every moment of your existence. When the alignment and curvature of your spine moves away from normal because of your poor posture it will impact your health, abilities and longevity. Your posture has direct influence on your health. Poor posture has a direct correlation to how long you live and your quality of life. Revisit the assisted living facility if you need to.
It is important to understand what good posture looks like and how to recover it. Proper posture is being able to draw a straight line from your ear to your ankle from the side. And a straight line from your tailbone to the base of your skull.
And how do you achieve this? Essentially you have to interrupt the program the brain is running and then teach it a new one. Easier said than done. There are several ways to achieve this and none are exclusively successful. As a chiropractor I know that the adjustments I deliver interrupt the posture neurology better than anything else out there. But now you have to support the interruption with some positive habits and muscle function (certain ones may need to be reengaged specifically). This will all require a character trait called, tenacity. Good posture is achieved like everything else in health, you earn it over time. Check out this infographic and get to work on in.
Have you ever found yourself literally counting sheep at 2 am just to see if it works? Or laying there in the dark an hour after your spouse has nodded off? I used to get so frustrated with this that I would get up and exercise or do the dishes. It felt like such a waste just laying there in the dark. Then I got frustrated with that because I was wrecked throughout the day. Ugh, what do I do?
Well, you aren’t alone. While you are there awake throughout the night there are about 45% of Americans there with you according to studies. So I guess it’s a big deal. So big in fact we have exploded the coffee industry!
Seriously there are some simple real things that you can do to help get some serious zzz.
Cut the carbs and grains at Noon
There is a cycle to everything. Eating sugary treats and carbs messes up your metabolism cycle. You will find that if you are having a problem with this you will wake up between 12 and 3 at night. So in the afternoon focus on your veggies, fruits, water, protein and good fat.
Eat some fat
Good fats are imperative to a healthy, functional body. Those fats will help maintain and balance out your hormone cycle. Start a hormone fight because you are eating too much sugar and not enough good fat and you will be counting a ton of sheep. Consider adding some fish oil or flaxseed oil to your diet. Or you can even consider BulletProof coffee. Yum
We are creatures of habit and our bodies love routines. Interesting enough, this is one of the top bits of advice for helping your children get to sleep, hmmm. Keep a consistent bedtime and routine. Wind down your day with quiet activities. Exercise, loud music and TV are not your best bets right now.
Those little screens trick the pineal gland in your brain into thinking it is daytime and then throws off your melatonin hormone. Shut them down when the sun goes down. Keep your room dark. And whatever you do, if you wake up in the middle of the night, never, ever pick up your phone!
Your Bed Just isn’t Getting it Done
Now just because you slept for eight hours doesn’t mean that you really slept. If you are waking up tired, still fatigued, sore or in pain; well something obviously didn’t work for you. You might want to think about your mattress. How old is it? Is it the most supportive for you. If you have a different mattress in the house give that one a try just so you know. If you need a new one, the folks at Urban Mattress Fort Collins know just how to find the perfect fit for you.
Journal those thoughts out
Now I am no psychologist but just like you I know that my emotional space between my ears can keep me up for hours with frustrations, worries and sometimes exciting creative thoughts. You might have to do more, but simply taking five minutes to journal that out will give you enough expression and outlet to “put it to bed” for the night.
Your spine is hurting you.
Are you waking up in pain or can’t get comfortable? If it’s not your mattress and your neck or back still hurt, maybe you have a spine problem. It is very common for people to wake up in the middle of the night or morning with spine pain and nothing seems to help. Forget the pain meds because over the counter and prescriptions will mess up your hormone cycle and then you start over. In a recent study, chiropractic was shown to be the best solution for spine-related pain. It was 5 times more effective than medication and 3 times more effective than acupuncture. If aches and pains are disrupting your sleep, give this Fort Collins chiropractor a call.
Do you have some other tips? Write them in the comments below so others can benefit.