Shoulder pain is common. If fact, it’s highly likely that many of you reading this currently have or have had a shoulder injury, as studies suggest that about 90% of us will tear our rotator cuff, labrum, and/or capsule at some point in time during our lives. So why is this so common? More importantly, what can be done about this?
Let’s face it. Your posture is a window into how your body is functioning. All you need to do is go to a busy store and look at people’s posture, and you can make a quick judgement on who seems healthy and who doesn’t.
Research shows that poor posture can affect lung capacity, heart function, and overall life expectancy!1,2
That’s in addition to the commonly experienced problems such as neck and upper back tension and pain, headaches, energy loss, and sleeping problems. What steps can you take towards improving your posture? Here are five easy steps you can take to improve your posture, your organ function, your energy level, and your life expectancy:
1 Simple stretching –
Simple stretching – when your head is in a forward position from the center of your body, it is important to emphasize extension, or backward movement of your head. Stand erect, bend your head forward for a few seconds, then bring your head backwards for a five seconds. You want to engage both movements but emphasize the backward movement for a longer time. Go back and forth five times, two or three times per day. Only go backward to your limit. See how that improves over a few weeks.
2 Yoga – Simple yoga postures that everyone can do.
Cat/Cow – on your hands and knees on the floor. Cat – inhale, arch up like a cat, hold for five seconds, then cow, exhale, let your belly sink to the floor. Hold for five seconds. Repeat five times two to three times per day.
Speaking of yoga, keep an eye on our upcoming “Yoga, Muffins and Mimosas” that I will be hosting at the newly opened Yoga Pod just a few doors down on 30th Street. You definitely will want to be there.
3 Fuller breathing – Esther Gokhale produces a great program on posture and awareness. Here is a tip from her on breathing.
Lengthen your spine: Adding extra length to your spine is easy, Gokhale says. Being careful not to arch your back, take a deep breath in and grow tall. Then maintain that height as you exhale. Repeat: Breathe in, grow even taller and maintain that new height as you exhale. “It takes some effort, but it really strengthens your abdominal muscles,” Gokhale says.
4 You and your Phone – Think about how many times a day and for how long a time you look down at you phone. Or maybe you don’t want to think of that. Constantly craning your neck down to stare at your phone is damaging your posture. Try holding your phone in front of you instead of bending your head down, and similarly propping your tablet up perpendicular to the table if you’re just reading.
5 Workstation ergonomics – Your desktop position, your laptop position, your chair and your position in your chair are all important factors regarding your seated posture. Here is a LINK to give you some tips on proper ergonomics.
Oh, am I forgetting something? Yes, your Network chiropractic care! I have been so fortunate to witness thousands of patients’ posture improve over the years through a healthier functioning Nervous System. If you are currently under care, great for you! If not, take action now to prevent an unhealthy future. Pain, tension, and diseaase are not the place you want to end up.
A few weeks ago, I was adjusting a little girl who receives care here with her Mom and Dad. After they had left, another patient, who witnessed the little girl getting adjusted, asked me, “What’s wrong with her.”
I asked what she meant. Her response inferred there was a health problem with her, like headaches, low back pain, or neck pain, or anxiety. I replied that there was nothing “wrong” with her, that she did not have any symptoms, that her Mom and Dad bring her here for the same reasons that they receive care here. They want their daughter’s Nervous System to be functioning at its most optimal level, so that she can continue to function physically, emotionally, and psychologically at her best level of performance, and so that her body can continue to heal itself at its best level possible.
For many people, chiropractic care is synonymous with the correction of physical problems, whether it’s pain, like headaches, neck pain, or low back pain, and/or emotional problems, such as anxiety, depression, and energy loss. Yes, it’s true, many people begin to receive chiropractic care due to health problems that have reached the tipping point, where it becomes difficult to continue with their life.
What is also true is that chiropractic care has very little to do with helping you FEEL better. It has everything to do with helping you FUNCTION better. Once you function better, then EVERYTHING about you can begin to work better, whether it’s physical or emotional. So when a little girl is on the table receiving her adjustment, my goal is to help EVERYTHING about her work better, so that she does not grow up with the SAME PROBLEMS as her Mom and Dad did. My goal is to help EVERYONE function better so that they can heal at an improved capacity from how they did the day or week or month before.
Just think, if you continue to climb the ladder of health, week after week, month after month, year after year, where you can be in six months, or a year, or five years?
As far as all my young lives receiving their life enhancing adjustments, I would like to see the next generations’ health at a higher level than the generation of today. Chiropractic care can go a long way to ensuring that that becomes a reality.
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:
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.
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. 1
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!
2 Wall Street Journal Tuesday, February 14, 2017 Life and Arts section
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.”
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!
- 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
- 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
- Keep moving! – research shows that regular cardiovascular exercise improves Immune System function 3
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.