Will you be Part of this Epidemic?

If you’ve been following the recent news stories and research, you know that Opioid use is becoming more and more rampant.

Here are some facts:drugs

1 The US consumes more than 80% of the global Opioid pill production even though it has less than 5% of the world’s population.

2 In 2015, almost 40% of Americans were using prescription painkillers. 1

3 100 million people are estimated to suffer from chronic pain in the US. 2

4 Nearly ½ of all US Opiod overdose deaths are due to prescription opiods. 3

Why are Opiates addictive?

Opiates can be found in several widely-used drugs including: heroin, morphine, codeine and hydrocodone. Opiates create artificial endorphins in the brain -which produce in the early stages of use warm, good feelings in the user. But over time, opiates trick the brain into stopping the production of these endorphins naturally. At this point, the only way an opiate addict can experience positive feelings is by using the drug in question. This process is the reason why opiates are so addictive.

Why has Opiate addiction increased drastically in the last 10 years?

Here’s the generally accepted theory-

Starting in the late 1990s, a handful of pharmaceutical corporations promoted prescription opiates as the solution to America’s physical pain. Large numbers of people then started to take these drugs — and because Oxycontin and Percocet and the rest have such powerful chemical hooks, many found themselves addicted. Doctors in many parts of the world — including Canada and some European countries — prescribe more powerful opiates than their peers in the United States. If what we’ve been told is right, they should become addicted in huge numbers. But this doesn’t occur. The Canadian physician Gabor Maté argues in his book “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” that studies examining the medicinal use of narcotics for pain relief find no significant risk of addiction.4

Here’s a second theory that makes more sense to me –

Opiate use is climbing because people feel more distressed and disconnected, and are turning to anesthetics to cope with their psychological pain.

Addiction rates are not spread evenly across the United States, as you would expect if chemical hooks were the primary cause. On the contrary, addiction is soaring in areas such as the Rust Belt, the South Bronx and the forgotten towns of New England, where people there say they are lonelier and more insecure than they have been in living memory.

So if you agree with the second theory, opiate use is increasing because people feel more distressed and disconnected.

Wow! If this is the case, and you are faced with the choice of becoming more distressed and disconnected and becoming addicted to opiates OR choosing to become MORE connected and less distressed, which would you choose?

If your answer is #2, then please, if you know someone who is distressed and disconnected from an inability to adapt to their accumulated physical, chemical and emotional stress, let them know they have healthier options! You could very well help save the life of someone you know and care for.

Thanks for taking a major step towards becoming more connected and less distressed about your health and life.

1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Results From the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed

2 Tables. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.pdf. Published September 2016. Accesssed March 27, 2017.

3 Opioid Data Analysis. Opioid Overdose. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/analysis.html. Accessed March 27, 2017.

4 http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-hari-prescription-drug-crisis-cause-20170112-story.html

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

Why do we need more of these?

Last week, I was traveling through Longmont, and I saw a large building under construction. I thought that is great for Longmont, and a testament to the development happening there. As I passed the location, I saw that it was a new Longmont Hospital being constructed.optimal-health

As I thought about the reasons why a new hospital being constructed, the question I kept asking myself was, if there is a need for a new hospital, what does that say about the health of the people in the community? According to my logic, if demand necessitates the financial expenditure of a new hospital, then that means there are more people in need of a hospital’s service. From that, I can deduce that more people are:

  • Diagnosed and treated for cancer
  • Developing diabetes
  • Developing heart disease
  • Becoming more dependent on prescription medication
  • Developing blood disorders
  • Becoming arthritic
  • Developing kidney failure
  • Experiencing digestive problems
  • Being diagnosed with headaches and migraines
  • Treated for spinal problems, such as degenerative disc disease

If more people are being diagnosed with these common ailments and diseases, what does it say about the direction of health? In my opinion, it means that overall health is declining. The construction of a hospital is designed to address this increasing need for “sickness care”, that is the indicative of a general declining rate of health in society. The procedures they will practice, whether it is drug prescription or surgery, are designed to reduce symptoms and keep a patient from a further declining health.

Is this the future that you aspire to? If you are not taking your health into your own hands, you are practicing what I call “hope and a prayer health.” Simply speaking, if you are not taking your health into your own hands, you will eventually give over control to someone (doctor, surgeon) or something (drugs, medication, surgery) else.

There are so many options for enhancing your health and life, this the THE best time in your life to start. I always go back to my basic five for enhancing your health and life.

  • Chiropractic care for enhancing Nervous System function
  • A proper diet, to properly alkalize your blood and body, and help keep your weight at a healthy range.
  • Regular exercise, to keep your joints limber, your heart healthy, and your body ready to adapt to the stress of your life.
  • The right amount of sleep for proper regeneration and recharging of your batteries.
  • A positive mental attitude

My experience is that if you constantly practice these foundations for optimal health, you will maximize your potential and be able to empower yourself with greater health and life.

Here it Comes Again!

It’s that time of year you probably look forward to the most, and with that anticipation may come an extreme level of stress. It’s Holiday Season! The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas has traditionally been a time of stress for many adults who are trying to “get it all done”. According to the American Psychological Association, 44 percent of Americans believe that their stress has increased over the past five years.1  Imagine what happens over Holiday Season.stress

What are the facts behind this, and what steps can you take to make this Holiday Season your most enjoyable and least stressed?

Holiday stress has a particular impact on women, who take charge of many of the holiday celebrations, particularly the tasks related to preparing meals and decorating the home. Women are more likely than men to report an increase of stress during the holiday season. In addition, they have a harder time relaxing during the holidays and are more likely to fall into bad habits to manage their stress, like comfort eating.

During the holidays, stress takes on a different character than at other times of the year. Men and women alike feel a duty to make the holidays the best they can for their families. Commercialism pressures people to buy expensive gifts during this, their prime shopping season. Additionally, during the holidays people are much more likely to behave in sedentary ways like watching TV, sleeping, eating and drinking to manage their stress. Many individuals engage in comfort eating and other unhealthy behaviors to cope with their stress levels. 2

So what steps can you take to create more enjoyment and less stress during the Holiday Season?

1  Take care of yourself – I like to think of maximizing your “Big Five.”

  1. Your Nervous System – since your Nervous System controls everything you do, think, and function, maximizing its potential during Holiday Season is essential! Get adjusted an extra time, especially if you are away from the office or traveling. Enhance your stress adapting abilities. You’ll be glad you did.
  2. Exercise – if you exercise, keep doing it. Keeping your habits consistent will help with your energy levels, your ability to recover, and your attitude.
  3. Sleep – Keeping your sleep patterns consistent is even more important when your stress levels rise. Once again, keep everything in moderation. It’s challenging to “catch up” on your sleep. Not only do you need your energy to enjoy the best the Holidays have to offer, but you still need your energy for your job.
  4. Diet – Try not to deny what makes you happy during Holiday Season. It’s ok to have that cookie or cake, but do you need 5 cookies, or eat the rest of that cake? When it’s one dinner or one party after another, it’s easy to get caught up in euphoria of eat, eat, eat.
  5. Positive attitude – Research shows that Holiday stress causes high levels of depression as well as anxiety. Surround yourself with friends and family. If that’s not possible, surround yourself with your favorite book, your favorite music, your favorite movie. Familiarity breeds comfort.

2  Don’t break the bank

Money is one of the top reasons Americans are stressed during and even after the holiday season. Establish limits that won’t cause a financial burden on you and your family. Homemade or thoughtful, inexpensive gifts from the heart are often cherished far more than high-priced items. Long after those expensive gifts have been opened, what you gave will most likely be forgotten, but what you paid will keep coming back month after month… in your credit card bills.

3  Laughter is the best medicine

If you find yourself getting way too stressed, it’s time to take a laughter break no matter how busy you think you are. Watch a classic holiday comedy like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or Home Alone or watch one of your comedy favorites. Just as an aside, I watched one of my all time favorites, Naked Gun the other night. I had not seen it in 20 years, and laughed the entire 90 minutes. Laughter should not be reserved for stressful times during the Holidays, it should be celebrated every day!

4  Keep things in perspective

What’s the worst thing that can happen if you don’t find the perfect gift? If your dinner doesn’t turn out the way you want? If your family get-together doesn’t meet your expectations? Having the confidence that you are doing the best you can, loving the best you can, and being accountable to yourself is all you can control.

1 http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2011/final-2011.pdf

2 2006 Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, October 24, 2006

 

Is This What you Want?

What if you paid lots of money for something that you needed to have access to, with the hopes of never using it? Sounds crazy already, right?

Then, what if you actually had to use what you needed to have that you paid lots of money for, and the results of what you used were worse than people who paid much less for that access? You would probably say that was a poor choice or bad investment, right?

What if the system we were analyzing was your health care system?  According the The Commonwealth Fund, the United States health care system is the most expensive in the world, but this report and prior editions consistently show the U.S. underperforms relative to other countries on most dimensions of performance. Among the 11 nations studied in this report—Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States—the U.S. ranks last, as it did in the 2010, 2007, 2006, and 2004 editions of Mirror, Mirror. 1health

Think about it, what good is something that you pay a tremendous amount of money for that underperforms when you rely on it? Is the health care system you pay into really a “health care” system, or is it a “sickness care” system? It is important to make that distinction. Do you rely on your health care system to optimize your health or is it designed to control a sickness or disease so that you can return to the way you felt before you experienced the sickness or disease?

If I had a broken arm, I would go to the emergency room to have my arm set. My arm needs the proper help to set the bone so that my arm can properly heal. If I had a breathing problem, is it in the best interest of my health to be put on a prescription for steroids? What is the goal of the steroids? Is it to allow my lungs to function better, to return to their optimal function? No, the goal of the steroids is to open up the airways of my lungs so I can feel better, but at what cost?

Over the years patients have told me, “If only you were covered by my insurance plan I could afford to see you.” I understand the process: You pay for insurance so that you can use it to improve your health. Is that really the role of insurance? Is insurance that you pay designed for your health care or for your sickness or disease control? If you agree that’s the role of insurance, then it is still a vital role. It’s important to understand the distinction – chiropractic care offered in this office is designed to IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH, not to monitor or control your sickness or disease.

I am proud to offer health care in my office to help you be the BEST you can be. It is important to understand the difference between this and what you pay your insurance premiums for. I support you in making decisions that will help you regain and maintain optimal health.

1 http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/fund-reports/2014/jun/mirror-mirror

What do you do AFTER you get out of the pool?

A week ago, my wife Shari and I went to Glenwood Springs Hot Springs. The Springs has been a family favorite for almost 20 years. Our family has spent many a weekend lounging in the pool and going down the slides. Although it seemed strange going with just the two of us, nonetheless, it was an amazing experience as it always is.iyengar

I love to play the role of an observer of people and their behaviors, especially when I venture outside of the Boulder Bubble. What I noticed at the Hot Springs was that many people seemed VERY unhealthy. I noticed many people having difficulty walking, many with skin problems, and many just not aging well. I saw people in their 50’s and 60’s look like they were in their 70’s and 80’s. I know the lure of the Hot Springs is therapeutic nature of the water. As I watched many seemingly unhealthy people make their way gingerly into the water, I felt good that they were taking a healthier step for themselves.

Upon further reflection, I thought, “what happens AFTER they get out of the pool?”

What lifestyle do they go back to?

What is their diet like?

What type of exercise is a staple in their life or they practice a sedentary lifestyle?

How focused are they on their mental approach to life?

What model of healthcare do they practice?

Is it a symptoms based approach or do they view health in  relation to how their body functions?

Is this as good as it gets, or do they participate in a more proactive lifestyle?

How about you? What do YOU do when you get out of the pool?

What are the cornerstones of your health regimen?

Is your health defined by how you feel, or by how you function?

Is your healthcare balanced by proper nutrition, exercise, adequate rest, a positive mental attitude, and chiropractic care to allow your Nervous System to allow you to be the best you can be? So much of the research I have done shows there is a high correlation between the successful steps you take to optimize your health in your 30’s and 40’s, and how your health is in your 60’s and 70’s. Once you get there, there is no turning back the hands of time.

In an interview in the Iyengar Yoga Journal before he passed, yoga icon and then 92 year old BKS Iyengar speaks about the hands of time: “You may have no problems at all up to the age of fifty or sixty. After that, the real problem arises when the tissues of the body do not bear the load. What I practise now is more difficult than what I did when I was young or struggled to learn. Though today, I don’t consider those practices as very hard although I practised ten hours a day then. Today, it is a big fight between the body and the mind. The body says, “I can’t do it.” The mind says, “Do not force me.”1

My advice is to take the proper steps towards investing in your healthy future while there is still time!

1 http://iyi.org.uk/bks-iyengar-on-yoga-practice-and-ageing/