The Most Unfortunate Warning Sign

As a sports junkie, I have a special place in my heart for sports legends from the 1970’s and 80’s. These were my formative years of my sports viewing, and also the time I reached my pinnacle with my sports obsession.the catch

It pained me to read the recent story of Dwight Clark, a former pro football player with the San Francisco 49’ers, who is regarded with making one of the greatest winning catches in NFL history, in a championship game in 1982. It was simply named, “The Catch”. I remember that play like it was yesterday, but for Dwight Clark it must seem like a lifetime ago.

You see, Dwight Clark was just diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He is 60. You know how this story will someday end, and it will be a sad ending. What caught my eye in the story was how he described some of the symptoms he had been experiencing.

“In September of 2015, I started feeling weakness in my left hand,” Clark wrote. “I was mildly paying attention to it because since my playing days, I’ve constantly had pain in my neck. (You realize his playing days ENDED in 1987!) I was thinking it was related to some kind of nerve damage because it would just come and go.

“After months of tests and treatment, I got some bad news,” he continued. “I was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. I have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Those words are still very hard for me to say.”

Do you think it is wise to ignore warning signs for 30 years? Even if his warning signs had nothing to do with developing ALS, ignoring severe warning signs is not a recommended step towards achieving optimal health. How do you know what your body is trying to tell you unless you listen and take action. Isn’t that the intent of your body? To let you know that what you are doing needs to stop or change. If it is not stopped or changed, what will your amazingly intelligent body do? Probably continue to deteriorate your health.You see, your body will always win out.

Warning signs are the BEST thing that could happen to you. Why? They are an opportunity to assess, change, and improve. Isn’t it so great that your body can send  you pain, stiffness, emotional upset, a loss of energy, and sleeplessness? Remember, when your body sends you a warning sign, you can simply say, “Thanks. I’m going to do something about this.”

If all you Have is a Hammer, Everything is a Nail

Although this has historically been the rallying cry for chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists and more, now the American College of Physicians is joining the ranks. In new guidelines published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, on Monday, February 13, 2017, they stated, “Opiods – one of the most commonly prescribed medications for pain relief and a source of increasing addiction and death – should only be considered for chronic back pain when other alternatives – natural and prescription – don’t work.

Even acetaminophen, which includes the brand name Tylenol, is no longer recommended for acute lower back pain relief, due to a 2014 study in the journal The Lancet that showed it was no more effective than placebo. 1drug addiction

Would you believe lower back pain is the most common reason non-cancer patients are prescribed opiods? Experts believe it is a common gateway to opiod addiction as well as transitioning to heroin! This is the conclusion of Steven Atlas, director of practice-based research at Massachusetts General Hospital, who authored an editorial accompanying the American College of Physicians guidelines. 2

Let’s see…You have a couple of options for lower back pain. One, you can start on a prescription of opiods, which have been proven to be a gateway to opiod addiction, leading to heroin, or you can use a safe and effective method such as chiropractic to find the cause of what’s causing your body to malfunction. Seems like a no brainer to me. I wonder why the American College of Physicians has taken so long to come to the conclusion that opiods are not the logical step towards correcting back pain. It’s not recent news that opiod use or even prolonged acetaminophen use is damaging to your health. I always come back to the theory that if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything else is a nail. Meaning, if a patient presents with a pain, (nail) you need to hit it with a hammer (drugs, surgery).

Everything is not a nail. A headache is not neck pain, which is not difficulty sleeping, which is not lower back pain, which is not anxiety, you get my point. You are very smart. Your body is very smart. It has an inborn intelligence, that helps guide you through good health and poor health. Symptoms are the way your smart body tells you something is not right and needs to be changed. Symptoms are not the way your body tells you it wants to become an opiod or heroin addict!

Listen to your innate intelligence. You are not a nail. You do not need a hammer. Maybe you are a screw or an eye hook. Hammers cannot solve every problem. If you or your friends and family have not found the right tool to solve your problem, give me a call!

1 http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2463257

2 Wall Street Journal Tuesday, February 14, 2017 Life and Arts section

Germ Theory – The Truth Exposed

For most of the years I have practiced chiropractic, I have heard patients in my office and friends outside of my office share conversations that go like this:

“I caught a cold from my kids.”

“My grandkids gave me the crud they got from their friends at daycare.”

“I shouldn’t come in for an adjustment. I might give this to someone.”

“I don’t want to catch what he has.”sick

These are all common, acceptable conversations that happen all the time in our society. Just because it is common, does that mean it is true? We all grew up with the notion of the “Germ Theory”, first suggested by French biologist Louis Pasteur. He discovered that microorganisms or “germs” caused disease. According to his “Germ Theory”, we “catch” bacteria, colds, viruses and they should be prevented through drugs, vaccines, and other means. We were taught to be afraid of these germs and out of fear try to “kill” them with drugs rather than generating good environments in our bodies.

Did you know that Pasteur’s theory received opposition from numerous scientists, including Antoine Béchamp, a French researcher and biologist, who also happened to be Pasteur’s rival with the exact opposite view of germs. In contrast to the idea that bacteria would enter a healthy host and create disease on their own, Béchamp proposed that living entities called microzymes created bacteria in response to host and environmental factors; this is called “Host Theory.”

In Host Theory, people do not catch germs that give them diseases. Instead disease-causing germs are actually opportunistic, thriving in people whose bodies have a weakness or imbalance internally. They are a byproduct of the disease, not THE CAUSE of the disease.  You have viruses and bacteria in you and on you all the time, every day!

I remember in chiropractic school we did throat cultures in Pathology Class. EVERYONE in class had the Strep bacteria on their culture, but NO ONE in the class had Strep throat. Why? Only when the host loses its ability to defend itself against foreign invaders, germs, will the Strep bacteria overrun your body’s Immune System.

Now that we got that out of the way, how can you change your conversation from the ones above to a more empowering one, where YOU are in control of how healthy you are? I always go back to my 5 Pillars of Health!

  1. A Healthy Nervous System – research shows that the Immune System gets its marching orders from the Nervous System. Chiropractic care improves the function of your Nervous System, which affects the function of your Immune System. Plus, stress is probably the biggest contributor to Immune System compromise.1
  2. What are you eating? A diet higher in fresh organic fruits and vegetables, lean meats like chicken, fish, and healthy fats is superior to a diet consisting of a processed foods, foods from a bag or box and sugars. 2
  3. Keep moving! – research shows that regular cardiovascular exercise improves Immune System function 3
  4. Rest – look at the times in your life where you have “gotten sick”. Were you getting the same amount of sleep as when you functioning better? Probably not. It’s no wonder that research shows a direct correlation between lack of sleep and Immune deficiency. 4
  5. Positive attitude – another no-brainer here. People who are isolated, depressed, anxious and stressed will have a more compromised Immune System. Do things for yourself to keep your attitude positive! 5

So, what do you think? Do you have the knowledge and resources to create a more empowering conversation about Germ Theory vs. Host Theory? My goal is to empower you to be in control of your amazing health. The next time you “get sick”, instead of blaming someone else for “giving” you their cold, look at what needs to change in your life from the list above. Take your power back! You deserve it.

1 http://www.chiro.org/research/ABSTRACTS/Immune.shtml

2 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm

3 http://www.nutritionletter.tufts.edu/issues/9_5/current-articles/Healthy-Diet-Fights-Infection-by-Boosting-Immune-System_981-1.html

4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256323/

5 http://www.livescience.com/8158-optimism-boosts-immune-system.html

What you happen to you if YOU tried this?

If you are any kind of sports junkie, you know that Roger Federer just defeated Rafael Nadal in the finals of the Australian Open. What makes this noteworthy? For starters, Roger Federer is 35 years old in a sport dominated by early and mid 20 somethings.

Secondly, and more importantly, he took the LAST SIX MONTHS OFF to recover from back and knee injuries as well as illness. Everyone else on the Tour is practicing and improving every day, with their sights set on capturing the next event.

What’s my point here?roger

Imagine that you have taken six months off from the exceptional diet you have carved out for yourself. You let yourself go and eat Big Macs and Taco Bell for six months. What kind of shape would you be in, physically and mentally?

What if you took six months off from the amazing exercise program you have worked hard at? No running, no yoga, no weight training, no skiing. What level of fitness would you have in six months? How challenging would it be to get back to the fitness level you had before you stopped your exercise program?

How about your sleep? What if for six months you only slept for four hours a night? What would your energy look like? Would you be able to stay awake for an entire day?

Lastly, what if you took six months off from your chiropractic care? What would happen to the health of your Nervous System? What would happen to your ability to adapt to the stress of your life, both physical and emotional? What would happen to your overall function, trillions of messages every second, from all parts of your body to your brain and back again? What would happen to your ability to fight off sickness and illness? What would happen to your energy level, your mood, your life?

You see, Roger Federer has spent most of his life practicing to be the best. It’s amazing that he was able to take six months off and return a champion. For most of us, we are not Roger Federer. We need to continue to do the work. Create great habits, and live your great habits. It will pay off in the quality of your health and life.

It Seems so Easy, but is it?

These days it can be easy to lose sight of the good in your life. Throughout the last year in our country, divisiveness has been on the front page of our headlines and in our consciousness.

gratitude

Sometimes it may be challenging to see the good in your life or in this world. As we approach the Holiday Season and Thanksgiving in particular, there is an opportunity to recognize the good in your life and in this world.

One powerful way to practice this is to practice the art of gratitude. How do you wake up every morning? Do you wake up, rush out of your house after your routine, and then go on with your day?

Or, do you start your day with gratitude? How do you do that, you ask? It’s easy. You wake up, open your eyes, and look around you. What do you see? -How about a house that you purchased, comfortable and cozy, with you’re your personal touches, filled with wonderful memories?

-How about the majestic mountains that sit right outside your window? The warmth of the sun? The glistening lake?

-What about your partner, your children, your parents who raised you and guided you?

-What about your friends, your coworkers, who keep you balanced and challenged?

-What about your health, and your decision to come to my office and regain your health?

-Listen to the music you love, how it moves you, motivates you, inspires you.

-How about the freedom you have, to travel where you want, to say what you want, to practice the religion you want?

-Walk outside and visit with nature. How awe inspiring is nature at all levels, whether it is a momma duck with her little ducklings in tow, birds flying free and effortlessly, a cow chewing on grass or your dog or cat curled at your feet.

My request for you is to begin each and every one of your days with gratitude. Develop a rhythm and a pattern. Make gratitude something you look forward to every day, and something that you carry with you all day.

My wish for you is that your practice of gratitude will help carry you through the darkest moments of your life and will raise you higher on the happier moments you experience during your life. After all, every day of your life is an experience wound within experiences. How you approach every segment of your life is based on the emotion you brought from the previous moment.

You have the power to show up however you want. You have the power to see the dark or the light of life. During this Holiday Season, why not begin a new practice, a practice of gratitude? After all, there’s very little to risk and a tremendous reward that awaits you.

What I Learned at the Wedding

A few weeks ago, I attended my childhood friend’s daughter’s wedding in Florida. It was a fun and exciting event, with the added thrill of spending the weekend with my mother, brother, and sisters. I noted that it didn’t seem that long ago that my family and I were the focus of the wedding we attended. Times goes by, and it seemed that we were now the weddingsecond tier relatives, kind of like the distant aunts and uncles I reluctantly invited to my wedding.

I had not seen some of the guests at the wedding for a few years, and others I had not seen in over fifteen years. In addition to catching up with those I had not seen, I really enjoyed just watching people. What do I watch in people? Call me crazy, but this is what I do:

I look at their posture; are they standing erect and comfortable like I remember them when they were in their 40’s, or are they slouching, with their heads carried forward like an oversized bowling ball?

I look at their gait. Do they walk with ease and comfort, or are their steps shortened, tentative, and uneven?

I listen to how they talk. Do they seem happy and upbeat like I remember, or do they sound stressed, tired, depressed, and angry?

I listen to what they talk about. Is it pain, sickness, illness, medication, and limitations, and the resignation that accompanies that type of talk,  or do they talk about plans, dreams, adventure, with a sense of excitement in their voice?

I wonder, what happened to them over these years? Why do they seem so different from what I remembered?

I truly treasure my knowledge and awareness about health, and am so thankful for the understanding I have gained over the years, whether it is in regard to maintaining the health of my Nervous System through chiropractic care, a proper exercise regimen, or choosing the healthiest diet to ensure my maximum health.  I understand that not everyone has that knowledge, or even a level of awareness to take action. It has taken me twenty years of dedication and devotion to arrive where I am.

Regardless of what you know and the actions that you take, here are your options:

When you reach your 50’s, 60’s, and beyond, if you haven’t made the decision and spent the time and energy to regain your health, it become harder and harder to climb that mountain. The warning signs have been sounding for many years, and the alarms are getting louder. When you have spent those years ignoring those warning signs, do you think your body is trying to tell you something? What is it trying to tell you? Probably something like, “if you don’t start listening to me, we’re going to take you down.”

If you are in your 30’s and 40’s, you may still think you are in your “immortal” phase.  Fortunately for me, I had experienced enough “warning signs” in my 30’s that I had to take action if I wanted to regain my health. If this is you, my words of advice based on my experience are that the hands of time only go forward. There is no turning back the clock. Take action NOW to make the rest of your life the healthiest it can be. It all starts with regaining the health of your Nervous System.

At the end of July, I have another wedding. It’s the daughter of my friend’s brother, and the cast of characters will be the same. I’m looking forward to spending that weekend with my family again, and doing my fair share of people watching and listening. I know what’s important to me, and that’s all I can control. How about you? What do you think you can control? Probably more than you think!

How much Baggage are you Carrying

When I worked in New York City years ago, I carried a large briefcase to all my appointments. I can remember at the end of the day the toll that physical stress took on my body. My back was sore, my neck was stiff, and my energy was very low.

What about the toll that the stresses of YOUR life take on you?emotional baggage

The other day, I was having a conversation with one of my patients about the progress they had been making. (For the purpose of anonymity, I will refer to my patient as “Pat.”) Pat then told me about some “conditions” that Pat had not told me about when Pat first started care.

What were those conditions?

-Anxiety

-Feeling stressed out

-Attention problems, starting early in life in school, and continuing through the adulthood.

My experience has been that when people experience conditions such as the above at an early age, they are often associated with difficulty dealing with emotional traumas. I asked about any childhood traumas. YES, there was a significant emotional trauma that occurred when Pat was two. On a scale of 1-10, this was a 10. We began to connect the dots. What would happen if you had experienced a trauma that your Nervous System was not able to successfully adapt to? What kind of effect could that have on you, a day later, a year later, a decade later?

Now that Pat is receiving care in my office, Pat is starting to notice how the stresses Pat experienced have affected Pat’s life. Pat is now seeing the cause/effect relationship between trauma and health, how conditions are labeled, and stick for life. Pat is observing that things do not have to be that way. If you never develop the ability to successfully adapt to the emotion stress of your life, especially your childhood, you run the risk of being stuck with all that baggage!

Wouldn’t a healthier choice be to unload that baggage, so that you are free to express your health and life that way it was meant to be expressed?