When a Herniated Disc is not a Herniated Disc

Physicians, neurosurgeons, and orthopedics alike have for years provided the recommended treatment for a herniated disc – Surgery. By the way, there’s no way I could have become a neurosurgeon – I can’t even look at pictures like this!surgery

Recently, I came across an article from my friend, Dr. Danny Knowles, on research being done on Disc Regeneration, rather than Degeneration. The study, which was completed by Ming Zhong, MD, among others, published in Pain Physician, January 2017, found that lumbar disc herniation (LDH), a common disease, treated conservatively, frequently results in spontaneous resorption of the herniated disc.  Their results represent the pooled results from 11 cohort studies. The overall incidence of spontaneous resorption after LDH was 66.66%. That means over 66% of Lumbar disc herniated resolved on its own, using conservative methods.

Just think of how many people choose more aggressive methods to remedy Disc Herniations. A quick check of surgical methods for lower back disc herniations revealed over six different types of surgical procedures. I have seen over the years how my patients with herniated discs respond favorably to non invasive chiropractic care. Once again, chiropractic care does not “fix” a herniated disc, any more than chiropractic “fixes” headaches, neck pain, sleeping problems or anxiety.

However, if your Nervous System, THE most important part of you, the part of you that controls and coordinates EVERY function in your body, is not functioning at its optimal level, thereby creating subluxations that affect your body’s ability to heal itself, then you will have a more difficult time healing from a problem such as a disc herniation. The better your Nervous System functions, the better your opportunity to heal.

Surgery certainly has its place in the medical world. The question that needs to be asked is, what are you giving up in the long term for a questionable short term gain? Keeping your NeuroSpinal system healthy helps you experience more of what you want in your life: freedom, joy, movement, increased function, and greater adaptability. If someone you know and care for is experiencing disc herniations or health challenges in general, please let them know they have choices. While you are doing that, please pass my name along so they can make a better educated choice on the options they have.

Steve Kerr says, “Stay away from Back Surgery”

Yes, I am a sports junkie, and there is much to gleam from the world of sports. If you do not follow pro basketball, the Golden State Warriors were crowned NBA Champions Monday night, but head coach Steve Kerr is not in a celebrating mood, and it’s because of his back and what’s followed since the back surgery that he got back in the summer of 2015.steve kerr

Here’s the problem that Kerr has been dealing with since his first back surgery: leaking cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Your brain and connected spinal cord are pretty sensitive. Therefore, the brain and spinal cord sit in a “balloon” filled with clear fluid, called CSF, that cushions and protects these vital structures. This CSF bath helps ward off nasty microbes too. Normally the “balloon” membrane keeps the CSF from leaking out, but if this membrane is punctured, during an accident or surgery for example, then the CSF is no longer contained.

CSF leaks are not pretty and can cause all kinds of problems. This is because the leaks change the pressure in the “balloon” so that the brain and spinal cord are no longer cushioned quite the same way. Messing with the brain and spinal cord can literally mess you up, but you know that, that’s why you’re here! Common problems are headaches, nausea, vomiting, neck or shoulder pain and stiffness, and balance problems. Such leaks can affect your senses, impairing your hearing and sense of smell or making you extra-sensitive to light and sound. You can have strange tastes in your mouth or ringing in your ears. The CSF can make its way into your nose, ear, sinuses or other parts of your body. The symptoms can be debilitating and obviously prevented him from coaching effectively and enjoying his amazing life, coaching the best team in professional basketball.

The problems started around when the Warriors won the NBA championship in June 2015. He had suffered a ruptured disk in his back and then underwent surgery. After the surgery, he began experiencing CSF leaks, which led to another surgery later that year. The second surgery did not successfully correct the problem. Since then, Kerr has gone through a wide range of attempts to ease his symptoms, ranging from different medical treatments to yoga to meditation to marijuana.

To date, nothing has really worked. After the first surgery, Kerr started suffering from a leak of cerebrospinal fluid. Since then, Kerr has been going back and forth among different health specialists (including a second surgery later in 2015), trying to deal with the leaking cerebrospinal fluid that has occurred since his first back surgery. Although CSF leakages can occur spontaneously, based on reports, the timing did seem to coincide with the first surgery. In fact, Kerr told the Washington Post, “I can tell you if you’re listening out there, stay away from back surgery. I can say that from the bottom of my heart. Rehab, rehab, rehab. Don’t let anyone get in there.”

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 will you do with the time you have left?

As you may know, I am a fan of morning motivation. Recently, my good friend Dr. Danny Knowles shared a video that has been my mainstay every morning when I do my morning stretch and strengthen routine. The first line is “What will you do with the time you have left?starting-from-scratch

I feel that is a very powerful question. You see, regardless of whether you are 20, 60, or 80 years old, it is still a relevant question. You may feel that at 30 years old you have no sense of mortality, and that’s good! The question is, what will you do with the time you have left?

How will you treat people differently?

What accomplishments will you be proud of in your life?

What will you miss out on if you continue to be the same as you have been?

When are you going to break out of your box and stop playing it safe?

How will you adapt to the challenges of your life?

Are you going to use the same strategies you’ve always used to tackle challenges that come your way?

What emotions will you be able to access to develop a greater sense of feeling?

When will you say, “this is unacceptable” and commit to being better?

What will you learn along the way?

You’ve probably heard the modern day definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. What will your life look like if you’re just doing the same thing over and over again? This is a great time to change the way you think, the way you function, and the way you feel. What a great way to set you on your way?

Change the way your Nervous System works! Yes, enhance the function of your Nervous System, that vital part of you that CONTROLS and COORDINATES EVERYTHING that happens inside of you. Every THOUGHT, every EMOTION, every ACTION, every MOVEMENT, every FUNCTION! The mind is a battleground. The fight is in your mind!

This is THE perfect time to reposition yourself for the time you have left. If not, when? If you are taking the right steps to maximize the time you have left, congratulations. I admire you for your tenacity, your strength, and your resourcefulness. If you know someone who you care about who needs some support, please share this with them.

By the way, what will I do with the time I have left?

I commit to being the best chiropractor, dad, husband, brother, friend, and mentor I can be by continuing to challenge my limits and my self expectations. I will learn from my mistakes and try differently next time. I will welcome both success and failure, and learn from both. I will celebrate the difference I make individually and collectively on humanity.

Here is your Morning Motivation. Please let me know how you enjoy it by clicking HERE

The Real Meaning Behind TMI

About a year ago, I was sharing a story with my son, who then said to me, “Dad, TMI.” I had no idea what he was talking about. Then I found out that TMI means “Too much information.” Ohhhhh, now I get it.

Then last week, after I was adjusted by my good friend, Dr. Jan Kirschner, he shared with me a talk he was going to give, titled “The information induced subluxation”. His talk is what we have been sharing with our patients for years, that there are several types of stresses or traumas that contribute to spinal subluxations, or Nervous System interference.stress

As we discussed this, we concluded that people most easily relate to subluxations induced by physical trauma: a car accident, repetitive movements such as computer use, excessive lifting or sitting, sports injuries, sleeping on an uncomfortable bed, and other similar stresses and traumas.

However, what about the subluxations caused by emotional stress? In the Network Spinal Analysis model, emotional stress is THE greatest contributor to the subluxation. We can look at real life examples such as deaths, divorce, job loss, relationships with children and parents and the effect they have on your Nervous System, but what about INFORMATION?

What about:

  • Dealing with the stress of pre and post election?
  • The everyday stress of the tension in the divide in our country?
  • The hate and conflict that is beginning to come to the surface and will surely rise exponentially?
  • The intoxicating lure of the screen, the media, the story, the fear, the sadness?

How successfully does your Nervous System adapt to this stress? I know and hear of many people who are NOT successfully adapting to this information. They haven’t bee the same since the election! This is THE critical time to strengthen your Nervous System. There is just TMI out there and it’s like the Oroville Dam, a small hole that water rushes through, and before you know it, the pressure makes the hole wider, the concrete breaks from the stress of the water rushing, and now the dam is in danger of collapsing and hundreds of thousands of people in the water’s path are forced to evacuate.

How much stress can your “dam” take before the concrete starts buckling and YOU collapse and you need to evacuate your life? Once again, this is THE critical time to regain and optimize your health and life. If I am preaching to the choir here, I congratulate you for your commitment to your health. Please share with someone who you know and care for.