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?
Today I was flipping through TV when I came across a show I viewed a few months ago. “Catching Kayla” is about Kayla Montgomery, then a high school girl who was a runner who noticed that her legs were going numb during her runs. The show, which you can also see on You Tube, profiled her battle with Multiple Sclerosis.
The show defines Multiple Sclerosis as a disease that causes nerve damage and interference in communication between her brain, spinal cord and legs.What happens to Kayla is that she starts a race out fine, and then her legs go numb. At the end of the race, her coach is at the finish line and catches her and carries her to the infield so she can regain the feeling in her legs. Hey, isn’t that the role of your Nervous System, to regulate and optimize all communication pathways between your brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves and the rest of your body?
It’s an interesting situation. Obviously, losing feeling in your legs is a bad situation. For Kayla, not feeling her legs getting tired may give her an advantage. I felt the emotion of the show, which culminates with Kayla winning State titles in Cross Country, indoor track and outdoor track in her senior year. Oops, spoiler alert!
One of the points I felt was interesting was the defining of Multiple Sclerosis as a disease that causes nerve damage and interference in communication between her brain, spinal cord and legs. Isn’t that the role of chiropractic? To increase the communication pathway between your brain, your spinal cord, and every part of your body? Every muscle, every organ, every system, everything!
You do not have to be Kayla Montgomery to take the steps towards increasing the essential pathway between brain, spinal cord and the rest of your body. You do not have to have Multiple Sclerosis, or headaches, neck pain, or digestive problems to want to optimize the function of your Nervous System. Actually, everyone can benefit from having a healthier functioning Nervous System. Who does not wish for a better way to regulate and optimize the communication between your brain, spinal cord, and the rest of you?
Seeing the impact that Multiple Sclerosis is having on Kayla Montgomery made me feel more passionate about helping everyone make sure that their Nervous System is functioning the best it can so that you can be at your best physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
Is it human nature to want more of something, or less of something? If you use money as an example, the answer is obvious. You want more. How about vacation time? Once again, you want more.
What about health? Isn’t it true that if you have headaches, your goal would be to have less? Or neck pain? You want less of that! Or digestive problems, you want less of that! Anxiety and stress? Again, definitely less!
What would happen if you shift your paradigm to wanting MORE? I do not mean more headaches, or more neck pain, or more digestive problems, but I mean the MORE that comes with having a better functioning Nervous System and greater health. As you regain your health,
How about more energy?
What about more happiness?
Are you up for more ease in your life?
Who wouldn’t want more flexibility?
What would you be able to accomplish with more motivation?
How would your life be more amazing with more gratitude?
How much better would your life by with more compassion?
The model that has been created in our “health care” system is one of “LESS”. You want less pain, less anxiety, less tightness, less stress, less sleeping problems. Now, once you start on a path towards greater function and greater healing capacity, and your problems go away, what paradigm do you adopt? Do you think, “All my problems have gone away, I’m done?” With the changing of seasons, this is a great time to begin to think about “What do I want MORE of”, or “What have I been experiencing MORE of?”
There is so much personal power when you begin to realize that you are more energized, more in touch spiritually, more focused on your goals, more present in your relationships, more playful, more adaptable, more able to express happiness for others, and more energized!
There is much less power in living the lifestyle of having less headaches, less stress, less tightness. They are important benchmarks, but if you live this paradigm, you will soon plateau in your self assessment of your health and life. Where can you go up from there?
I want you to go for it and create the most powerful list of MORE’s that you can think of. I am here to support you in your transformation from wanting LESS of something to wanting MORE. Let me know how you’re doing in your process. Additionally, if you know someone who is struggling in not being able to reach the goal of achieving LESS of their problems, please share me with them. I would love to help them shift their paradigm from less to more.
Whether it is down to work pressure, money worries or relationship troubles, most of us experience stress at some point in our lives. In fact, around 75% of people report experiencing moderate to high levels of stress over the past month. It is well known that stress can cause sleep problems, headache and raise the risk of depression. Here are some important ways in which stress can affect your health.
It is our response to this fight-or-flight response that determines our ability to successfully adapt, and thus, our ability to be healthy.
“Stress is caused by the loss or threat of loss of the personal, social and material resources that are primary to us. So, threat to self, threat to self-esteem, threat to income, threat to employment and threat to our family or our health,” Stevan Hobfoll, PhD, the Judd and Marjorie Weinberg presidential professor and chair at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, and member of the American Psychological Association (APA), told Medical News Today.
Stress levels ‘too high’ in Americans
An annual survey by the APA, completed by 3,068 adults in the US during August 2014, revealed that the primary cause of stress among Americans is money, with 72% of respondents reporting feeling stressed about finances at some point over the past month. Of these, 22% said they had felt “extreme stress” in the past month as a result of money worries.
The second most common cause of stress among Americans was found to be work, followed by the economy, family responsibilities and personal health concerns.
On a positive note, average stress levels among Americans have decreased since 2007. On a 10-point scale, respondents rated their stress levels as 4.9, compared with 6.2 in 2007. However, the APA say such levels remain significantly higher than the 3.7 stress rating we consider to be healthy.
I know that when I ask new patients about their recent stress levels, a typical rating is anywhere from 6-10 with 10 being the worst, so if 3.7 is considered healthy, you need to develop the strategies to be able to ADAPT more successfully, as opposed to having less stress.
“[Last] year’s survey continues to reinforce the idea that we are living with a level of stress that we consider too high,” says Norman B. Anderson, CEO and executive vice president of the APA.
The surprising health implications of stress
“Stress is significantly associated with virtually all the major areas of disease,” Prof. Hobfoll told MNT. “Stress is seldom the root cause of disease, but rather interacts with our genetics and our state of our bodies in ways that accelerate disease.”
Some of the more well-known implications of stress that you may have experienced include sleep deprivation, headaches, anxiety and depression. But increasingly, researchers are uncovering more and more ways in which stress can harm our health.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), stress can influence behaviors that have negative implications for heart health.
One study found stress could increase heart attack risk by 23%.
Have you ever arrived home after a stressful day at work and reached for that bottle of wine? Many people have.
In January 2015, MNT reported on a study that found working long hours was associated with risky alcohol use, which the study researchers say is partly down to the belief that “alcohol use alleviates stress that is caused by work pressure and working conditions.”
You may be surprised to learn that stress has been associated with increased risk of diabetes. In January last year, a study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that women with symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – a condition triggered by very distressing events – were more likely to develop diabetes than those without PTSD.
Periods of stress increase production of the hormone cortisol, which can increase the amount of glucose in the blood – a potential explanation for why stress has been linked to higher risk of diabetes.
For people who already have diabetes, stress can lead to poorer management of the condition. As well as interfering with stress hormones and increasing blood glucose levels, the American Diabetes Association note that stressed patients with diabetes may be less likely to take care of themselves.
“They may drink more alcohol or exercise less. They may forget, or not have time, to check their glucose levels or plan good meals,” states the organization.
While the exact causes of the condition are unclear, past studies have suggested that stress may contribute to its development.
A study found that for seniors with mild cognitive impairment, anxiety could speed up progression toward Alzheimer’s.
In March 2013, MNT reported on a study by researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, which found high levels of stress hormones in the brains of mice were associated with large amounts of beta amyloid plaques – proteins believed to play a role in Alzheimer’s.
Approximately 1 in 8 couples in the US have problems getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. Increasingly, researchers are suggesting stress may be a contributing factor.
In May 2014, a study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility that found stress in men can lead to reduced sperm and semen quality, which may negatively affect fertility.
How can you protect against stress-induced health problems?
Self talk, meditation, therapy, exercise, diet improvements are all great ways to protect against stress induced health problems. My recommendation?
Get yourself under Network Care stat! Or if you are currently under care, make a commitment to continue improving your health. Research regarding atients under Network Care have shown over time the ability to have:
- A greater ability to adapt to stress
- Better ability to recover
- Easier to implement diet and exercise programs
- More eager to meditate
Doesn’t it make sense that the more you can affect your master control system, your Nervous System, the healthier you can be, and safeguard to the best of your ability, the BEST ways to adapt to STRESS.
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.
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.”
A few weeks ago, a patient of mine was talking about a conversation she was having with her daughter, who is now six years old, and who has been an on and off patient of mine.
She told her daughter that she was going to get adjusted by Dr. Wind. Her daughter asked her, “Why aren’t I getting adjusted by Dr. Wind?” Her mom asked her why she wanted to get adjusted. She replied, “Because I FEEL SO CALM!” Emphasis on the calm. It wasn’t about muscle pain, it wasn’t about her shoulder tightness, it wasn’t about any symptom. It was about her desire to THRIVE in her world.
When she shared this with me, my first response was, “Let’s get her in here!” When I sat with the feeling from that conversation, I felt such humility and gratefulness. I was truly in awe of that little wonder. Her innate intelligence was speaking in its power.
She KNOWS that her Nervous System controls everything that happens in her little body.
She KNOWS that chiropractic care helps her adapt better to the various stresses she experiences on a daily basis.
She KNOWS that when she is functioning without the devastating effect of subluxations, her body works better, she is happier, and her innate power is allowing her to live her life at her potential.
When she came in for her visit, she ran in, jumped on the table, and then jumped off, hugged me, and ran off when her power was turned on! I am always amazed how little children seem to “know” more than adults. Everything they experience is through their innate intelligence, rather than their educated minds. How would our lives be different/better if we were to experience life through the eyes of a 6 year old?
Moral of the story? Stay Calm and get Adjusted or Get Adjusted and Stay Calm.
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.