Would you like to feel happy and vibrant EVERY day? Here’s how.

Spring has sprung, but it sure didnt feel like it last week. So how do you feel when it is sunny and warm versus cold and damp? There may be a physiological reason why you feel down or painful on cold and damp days. Check out the posts below to see why.

I want to share with you what my staff and I have learned to maximize your health and wellness and to keep you up-to-date on the happenings at OrthoWell. So read on and let’s keep you on track.


 

HOW TO FEEL HAPPY & VIBRANT

EVERY DAY

 No, I havent found the fountain of youth or am advocating that everyone apply for a medical marijuana card. lol. But…there are a few things that could make your body work more efficiently on good weather days as well as bad ones. Knowledge is power so I want to share a few things with you. 

So WHY do you feel stiffer or more painful on rainy days??

 A recent systematic review of the relationship between joint pain and weather found no consensus on the issue. However, several researchers have found evidence that a decrease in the barometric pressure associated with a storm front can increase the pressure inside your joints thereby potentially increasing your stiffness or pain. 

 VITAMIN D

 study published in the Archive of Internal Medicine in 2009 showed that Vitamin D  levels have “plummeted” among ALL U.S. ages, races, and ethnic groups over the past two decades. Because there are such small amounts of Vitamin D in food, the only 2 ways to get adequate amounts is thru direct sun exposure or via supplements.Over the past 10 years, several researchers have found an association between extremely low vitamin D levels and chronic, general pain that doesn’t respond to treatment. Check it out HERE. So start taking your Vitamin D! Click here for a great source of Vitamin D. 

EXERCISE-The Happy Drug

 Did you ever notice how some people are addicted to exercise? There are good reasons for that (some bad if you push through pain…..) Exercise releases endorphins which are your body’s natural painkillers and “feel good” hormones. Read more HERE.

Turmeric-The Spice of Life

You may know turmeric as that yellow spice that is used in indian curry dishes. The active ingredient in turmeric that has been extensively researched and provides more health benefits than there is room on this page is curcumin. One of the main reasons people take curcumin is for its potent natural anti-inflammatory properties. It is important to take curcumin with a pepper based supplement to maximize the effects such as Pure’s Curcumin with Bioperine. You can read more about turmeric HERE

 So what should you take for supplements??

 If you want even more information, then you could read my post on  which vitamins and supplements are best for you. CLICK HERE. 


GET RID OF SURGICAL SCARS

AND

GET A FREE FACIAL FOR TRYING 

 Dear OrthoWell patients, 

 My name is Andrea Linn and I am currently a patient at OrthoWell PT. I just had an ACL reconstruction.

I was born in Europe- Hungary. I went to school there to be a cosmetologist. In the USA, I have worked for many prestigious beauty brands but my most favorite is Le Metier de Beaute. I want to share with my secret for getting rid of surgical scars-quickly. 
 
Does it take long for your surgery scar to heal? Do you need extra nourishment for your body skin? Would you like to erase signs of aging from your body?
 
I have a recommendation for you: Le Metier de Beaute’s fantastic Vital ET Recovery Boost.
 
Redefine Age
Replenish, repair and protect your entire body with Vital ET Recovery Boost – Body. This highly effective form of Vitamin E protects you against free radicals. Free radicals are known to damage collagen, create dryness and lead to the development of fine lines and wrinkles. This deeply reparative serum will drive super antioxidants and vitamins directly into your skin, leaving you with it glowing and age-resistant.
 
Key Ingredients:
TPM® Technology. Vital ET®, a patented technology that decreases redness and swelling while fortifying resistance to inflammation caused by environmental stressors.
 
Usage:
Apply to clean skin in the morning and/or evening. Gently massage Vital ET Recovery Boost – Body over entire body. Pair with SPF protection when going out in the sun.
 
6.35 fl. oz. / 180 mL  $125.00
 
Small samples will be available at the front desk. Please try them.
:
Le Métier de Beauté is one of today’s most technologically advanced skincare brands using a unique TPM technology. TPM increases the therapeutic benefits while reducing redness- inflammation – irritation.
Le Métier de Beauté (which translates to “the craft of beauty”) is known for its award-winning Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Complexe. The line also features stunning makeup and has collaborated with couture and ready-to-wear designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig of Marchesa on a fashion-inspired color collection.
 
Le Metier de Beaute features incredible anti-aging skincare and make up — everything that your face and body needs. 
 
Patients of Orthowell Physical Therapy are invited to a complimentary anti aging mini facial in Newburyport or Beverly.
 
Please contact Andrea to schedule your appointment.
 
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact Andrea

Prevent Your Pain from EVER coming back

Click the link to read about

this new option at OrthoWell 

Wellness Maintenance Program

 Our wellness maintenance program is for those of you who want  consistency of care after being discharged from physical therapy in order to prevent any reccurence of pain. We have three different plans the we offer that you can read about by clicking the link above.


SUCCESS STARTS HERE!

4/27/16

The winter of 2015 had me shoveling so much snow on our alpaca farm.  Spring into summer convinced me my sore shoulder wasn’t just going away.  I quit “using” my arm as it hurt to even raise it.  I procrastinated so long that I thought for sure I would have to have surgery.  I was in such pain that I finally saw a surgeon.  He strongly suggested I try PT and said he’d heard good things about OrthoWell.  Talk about life changing!  After 5-6 weeks of working with Chris and his team, I have to say that I’m calling this just short of a miracle!  Everything was explained to me and shown to me in a clear and concise manner.  I am looking forward to having my life back this summer, if that sounds dramatic, well, it is! 

                                                                                                             – Olivia Sanderson


WALL OF FAME

Here is the update on our Wall of Fame in Beverly. We are proud of our patients and the success that they have had.  If you have previously provided us with a testimonial, we would love to take your picture with your therapist and hang it with your testimonial for display it in our clinic!  Seeing is believing! 

All the Best,

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

Do Pain Creams Really Work?

Pain Cream

Do pain creams really work??

There are a lot “pain creams” on the market that tout their effectiveness. Do they really work? Do they just take your mind off of the pain temporarily?

A topical counterirritant is a cream that essentially takes your mind off of the pain. Creams such as BenGay and IcyHot simply activate nerve ending in your skin that “fool” your brain temporarily. These products do not cross the skin barrier to get to the root of the problem. What if I told you that we recommend a product at OrthoWell that is:

*Safe

*Natural

*95% absorbed thru the skin

*Fast acting

*Research proven

We use a cream from two different companies that contains esterified fatty acids. One of the companies is EFAC at Hope Science and the other one is 1-TDC at Elite Science The inventor of the EFAC-brand formula researched the effects of esterified fatty acids and came up with a combination that beats the effects of chondroitin and glucosamine…hands down! You can read the results and more about the evidence behind EFAC HERE.The proprietary formula for esterified fatty acids is the same in both products but the 1-TDC product uses a paraben-free cream. So how does it work?

It has been shown that EFAC reduces joint and muscular discomfort within 30 minutes of topical application and within 14 days of oral consumption. The effects of the esterified fatty acids include:

*Pain reduction

*Tissue regeneration

*Improved function and range of motion

*Reduction of inflammation

*Lubrication of your joints and tissues.

Read what Robin said about it:

“After only 3 days I noticed a huge improvement in my feet. I also applied the EFAC to my knuckles and thumb joint, when arthritis is bad! Pain gone after application! I want to take a bath in this cream!” Robin Graves. January 31, 2017.

The esterified fatty acids are carried in the membranes of our white blood cells. Because white blood cells are the first responders after injury or in the presence of inflammation, the fatty acids are delivered directly to the affected site and play a role in mediating the inflammatory process. You can read more about the pharmacology HERE. These products have shown dramatic effects in the treatment of gum disease and positive results have been demonstrated in humans as well as animals. Don’t forget about your dog!

Both companies offer a cream as well as capsules. The cream contains a 7% concentration of the esterified fatty acids where as the capsules contain a 70% concentration. You can maximize your benefits by taking the supplement orally as well as topically. There are no side effects and no maximum allowable dosage. You can essentially take as much as you want. However, the manufactures suggest 3-6 capsules per day. We recommend that you apply the cream at least twice daily or as needed depending on your pain level. In some cases, we suggest piercing the capsules and applying the contents of the capsule on smaller areas for maximum effect. There is a small amount of menthol in the cream for the topical analgesic effect. Research has been done that compared the effects of the cream with versus without the menthol and the results were the SAME

You can purchase these products online or in our office. Let us know if you want to give them a try! You wont be disappointed.

CUPPING THERAPY

Cupping Therapy

We offer another specialized service at OrthoWell called Cupping Therapy. Cupping has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. It is used in TCM to stimulate specific points on the skin which correspond to acupuncture points that lie on energy meridians, or pathways. Through manipulation of the points on the skin, the TCM practitioner can influence or change a specific organ’s blood or energy called Qi (chi).

In our clinic, we use cupping in a different way. We are not TCM practitioners. We are western practitioners with a great respect for eastern treatment philosophy. There are many types of cupping methods. We use Dynamic Cupping in our clinic. I can personally say that I have had incredible results with dynamic cupping. One day I asked myself “if I have such great results, why not use cupping on my patients?”

Our method for using dynamic cupping is to lightly lubricate the skin. We place gel, polymer cups onto a region that we are treating by squeezing the cups and placing them directly onto the skin. When we release the”squeeze”, it creates a negative pressure within the cup which “sucks” the skin up into the cup. The intensity of the negative pressure depends on the tolerance of the patient. Our goal is to pre-stretch the skin and underlying fascia and then to have you slowly move through controlled range of motion exercises in order to increase the effectiveness of the stretch. This is the “dynamic” part of our cupping method. Cupping therapy should NOT be painful! You should experience a warm, pulling sensation during the treatment which lasts around 5-6 minutes. Cupping therapy can improve blood flow and lymphatic drainage. TCM practitioners talk about the release of energy “stagnation” via cupping therapy.

Yes, you will have cupping marks on your skin for several days after a treatment. The color and response to the cupping is dependent on the extent of stiffness or the extent of “stagnation” at the treatment site as well as the amount of time that the cups are in place. TCM practitioners believe that the skin is a mirror of our health. All skinmarks that appear as a result of cupping therapy are usually not painful. The discoloration is a result in a change of blood flow through the area. It is not traumatic “bruising”.  There is no external or internal damage inflicted to the skin and the capillaries do not leak as a result of injury due to trauma. The “bruised” areas will turn yellow green before totally fading away.

So, we typically perform cupping therapy after we have completed other manual techniques such as pump massage, Active Release Technique and Graston Technique. It is a good way to mobilize the tissue after the other manual therapy techniques. It is just another treatment technique that we offer at OrthoWell to get you better…faster! Check out the video below for a demonstration.

 

Trigger Point Dry Needling -Video – FREE trial!

For those of you who don’t know, we are offering another specialized service at OrthoWell PT. It is called Trigger Point Dry Needling. Our new PT, Katie Moulison,DPT, is certified in dry needling and she has been performing this technique for 2 years as well the past several months in our clinic. I have created a comprehensive web page devoted to trigger point dry needling. CLICK HERE. It is another one of those techniques that not everyone knows about. It is a technique that can have a profound effect on the chronic pain associated with trigger points and myo-fascial restrictions.

Here is a video that we made in-house about trigger point dry needling. It includes an explanation of trigger points as well as a demonstration of the actual trigger point dry needling technique. It will give you a much better understanding of the technique and may even encourage you to come in for a FREE session to try it out. Just give us a buzz and we will get you in the schedule. The video will be available on our trigger point dry needling web page as well as a comprehensive Q&A section. Don’t forget to share with your friends!!

CANCER – I FOUND A CURE!!

Cancer Cure

CANCER- I FOUND A CURE!!

My subject line is no joke. I really did find a cure for cancer!!

The realization will come as quite a shock to many of you.

I spend a lot of time reading and talking about health and fitness. I thoroughly research each and every blog post before I share it with you. Patient education is a top priority at OrthoWell and it is an integral part of our mission statement. We really DO care about you and your health. For this reason, I feel obligated to share the following information.

I was introduced to a book by one of my patients that may change or even SAVE your life! The title of the book is Outsmart Your Cancer by Tanya Harter Pierce. I have had the unfortunate experience of getting a phone call by my father that he has bladder cancer. The realization, of course, was more unfortunate for him. This came up in the conversation with my patient as we broached the cancer subject. She shared her experiences regarding her own cancer history and then she began to open my eyes, my mind, and my anger to the realization that our medical establishment is intentionally misinforming the public about cancer. Some of you may be saying “yeah, right, why wouldn’t my doctor tell me if there was a cure for cancer?” or, like my father said, “yes, I have heard these things before” but then he dispels the “myth” and decides to go through with his radiation and chemo. Don’t get caught up in the “disbelief factor”. I am telling you, from the bottom of my heart, not to be naïve and not to stay ignorant to this realization. You NEED to read this book as my words alone will not do it justice.

Outsmart Your Cancer is not a promotional vehicle for a new cancer pill or a new cancer prevention diet. As a matter of fact, the author does not promote any one single approach to curing cancer. Her objective is to share with us all that has been hidden from us. Yes, there are MANY alternative treatment options to both prevent and to cure yourself of cancer. Her introduction to cancer was the same as mine. The realization that a loved one may die from cancer! I would like to share some excerpts form the book regarding the misinformation campaign that has been waged on the public.

In the author’s words:

I have also discovered that for many of these cancer approaches, the way they work has been proven by rigorous scientific research performed by highly respected physicians, brilliant biochemists, and Nobel prize-winning scientists. Effective alternative approaches to cancer ARE obtainable today, and they are not bogus methods developed by quacks and kooks as the public has been led to believe.’

“During my research, I spoke to over 100 people who had recovered from their cancers using the alternative treatments presented in this book.”

 “The suppression (of information) has been carried out in many different ways by many different organizations and is simply the result of business economics and common unethical tactics that tend to occur when large money interests are involved in any field.’

 ‘Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation involve billions of dollars of profits for the industries that supply them… the cost of developing and bringing a new cancer drug to market is close to $1 billion… A treatment made up of natural ingredients is not patentable… A natural form of treating cancer will never be pursued by a drug company… alternative treatments will always be considered an economic threat to the multibillion-dollar cancer establishment.”

 If you want to watch a YouTube video to convince yourself of the misinformation campaign that has been waged by the FDA and American Medical Association, then watch this video on Dr Burzynski’s treatment for cancer. CLICK HERE.

So when should you start an alternative treatment approach if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer?

 As soon as possible! Unfortunately, most people start with conventional treatment before they try alternative approaches. It is the fear and shock factor associated with “I have Cancer” that makes people decide prematurely regarding the BEST treatment option. They usually start with the big three…chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Don’t become a statistic. Get educated!

 So how do you make an educated decision on what treatment path to follow after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer?

Outsmart Your Cancer spells it out in simple terms and in black-and-white. There ARE options…successful options that have cured thousands of patients with cancer. All you need to do is read and/or listen (a DVD of patient testimonials comes with the book).

So when do you start a cancer prevention program?

 NOW!! Outsmart Your Cancer will empower you to start a prevention program today. Scrutinize what you put into your body. Yes, you ARE what you eat. Don’t forget to read my post on Vitamins-To Take or Not To Take for more information.

Because I WANT to be your advocate for health and wellness and because I WANT you to stay cancer-free, I am stocking Outsmart Your Cancer in my clinic. I feel that strongly about the information in this book! I have purchased them in bulk so the wholesale cost is only $20 per book. Don’t delay! Get the facts!

Other things that could change your life that are discussed in the book include:

ACIDIC vs ALKALINE

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that cancer cells cannot survive if the environment is alkaline enough? Did you know that the QUALITY of what you consume determines whether your body becomes acidic or alkaline? Many people, either with cancer or attempting to prevent cancer, strive to maintain their body pH at an optimal alkaline range between 7.0 and 7.5. Your body pH can be evaluated by a simple saliva test using pH strips in the privacy of your own home. So how do you do this? I’ll give you the answer even though you need to read more about it…CALCIUM. One of the most important roles of calcium is to help our bodies maintain proper pH levels. In addition, the absorption of calcium into the body is completely dependent on the levels of vitamin D in the intestinal tract.

WOMEN -THE PILL – HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY

Do you really understand the effect of synthetic hormone replacement therapy? Outsmart Your Cancer discusses what every woman NEEDS to know about the effects of The Pill and hormone replacement therapy. You need to really be aware of the things that your doctor is NOT telling you. Long-term clinical studies have proven the cancer-causing effects of synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Get the facts!

MEN-TESTOSTERONE & PROSTATE CANCER

As for the men, did you realize how controversial conventional treatments are for prostate cancer? There are studies in the medical literature which contradict the current use of testosterone inhibiting drugs to lower your PSA level. It has been shown that testosterone actively INHIBITS cancer growth and that elevated PSA is actually a man’s defensive strategy for fighting prostate cancer. So then, why does the medical establishment advocate the exact opposite approach?

DENTAL FILLINGS & MERCURY

Did you know that the main component of silver fillings is mercury and that mercury is one of the most deadly substances on earth if ingested? Did you know that your dentist is not required to tell you that your filling contains mercury? Did you know that several European countries have band silver-mercury amalgam feelings for decades but they continue to be used in the United States? The toxic nature of amalgam feelings has been down-played by the American Dental Association for a century in spite of warnings to dentists to “never touch the amalgam with your fingers” and “it must be disposed of under strict toxic waste protocols.” Dentists who have been outspoken against amalgam fillings have lost their licenses to practice. Outsmart Your Cancer references a book written by one such dentist who describes the alleviation of multiple sclerosis and Parkinson symptoms as well as cancer via the removal of amalgam feelings. Once again, get the facts.

There is SO MUCH more in Outsmart Your Cancer. The rest is up to you!!

LASER – The New Gold Standard?

 

DEEP TISSUE LASER THERAPY IS HERE!!!

For those of you who haven’t been in to see us recently, we have been using a demo class IV laser device from Litecure since the beginning of June and have been getting some amazing results. We were so impressed with the results that we “bit the bullet” and purchased our own laser. A very worthwhile investment for OrthoWell and for the health of all of our patients.

I have added a page on our website that provides a comprehensive explanation and videos of the benefits and effects that a class IV deep tissue therapy device provides. In a nutshell, the laser uses photon energy to stimulate chemical reactions at the cellular level. Research has demonstrated an increase in metabolism, a decrease in inflammation, a decrease in pain, and an acceleration of healing at the treatment site. In other words, the application of laser in combination with our manual therapy and exercise techniques is getting our patient better even FASTER! It has also been extremely beneficial to conditions that have NOT been responsive to our traditional physical therapy interventions.

If you are interested in trying laser or if you feel that your symptoms have plateaued, then laser may be the answer that you are looking for.

***SPECIAL OFFER***

We want you to experience the benefits of deep tissue laser therapy so we are announcing a special offer. Call us now to schedule a FREE laser treatment. We will  introduce you to laser therapy and provide a laser treatment FREE of charge. Let us know what works for you!

Laser Dog

 

 

 

Vitamins -To Take or Not To Take?

Vitamins

Do you take a multi-vitamin? Do you take vitamin C? If you said yes, you wouldn’t be alone. Supplement sales in 2012 hit $11.5 billion and are projected to be over $15 billion by 2017. People are looking for alternatives to traditional medicine and pharmaceuticals. If you have been in my physical therapy clinic, I am sure that many of you have heard me say “I am trying to place your body in the best position to heal”. The same can be said for my thoughts on vitamin and mineral supplements. Our bodies are incredible healing machines if you simply provide it the proper environment and the proper sustenance in which to heal. This blog post has been a labor of love as it has taken over 6 months to complete. I have attempted to provide THE EVIDENCE for why and what we should take for supplements. I hope this helps!  Let me know what you think.

The first thing you need to realize is that there are a lot of unsubstantiated health claims made about vitamin and mineral supplements. You have to be a careful observer when reading about the “health effects” of supplements. Most of these substances are unregulated by the FDA. There has been an advocacy movement on the part of the USFDA to protect the consumer from unsubstantiated health claims. You can read more HERE. You need to be the educated consumer before making a purchase. Websites such as www.multivitaminguide.org provides a scientific comparison of over 100 brands of multi-vitamins. Check it out and see how YOUR choice compares.

I am of the opinion that you have to base your decision regarding supplements on the best available scientific information. This may mean that you put more trust in the biological “process” than in the actual “claim”. For example, we know that free radical damage is a “process” that can be mitigated by antioxidants. However, we cannot claim that antioxidants will “prevent cancer”. Read HERE to see four scientific examples or do a Medline search for the “effects of antioxidants” and take your pick.

I think that all of you would agree that stress is a threat to a person’s well-being. Your body responds to stress by utilizing an elaborate system of enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to defend itself. Read HERE for details. An antioxidant is a compound that neutralizes the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that attack the nearest stable molecule and strip it of an electron. This can cause a chain reaction called oxidative stress which can cause damage to a living cell. Free radicals are a natural byproduct of cellular metabolism but their numbers may exceed the number of antioxidants when experiencing high levels of emotional OR physical stress. If this cycle goes unabated, it may lead to inflammation, infection, heart disease, or cancer to name a few. Obviously, this is a process that we want to mitigate. As a result of the depletion of antioxidants when under stress, it is recommended that you supplement or ingest fruit & vegetables not just once, but several times during the day. Yes, there are many different types of antioxidants. Vitamin E & C are probably the most popular. What do you choose as part of a dietary supplement regimen? It depends on who or what you read and how much money you want to spend. Is one any better than the other?  Same answer! One way to look at it is “the more you stress, the more you need”.

The recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables to maximize your levels of dietary antioxidants is 5-10 servings. Rich Vitamin E sources are things such as whole grain, nuts (especially almonds!), and seeds. Read more HERE. Unfortunately, most people don’t come close to these daily allowances. One way to help neutralize the effects of free radicals is to supplement your diet with antioxidants. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that is very efficient at breaking the oxidative stress chain.  Vitamin C is a very abundant water-soluble antioxidant. It actually plays a role in returning Vitamin E to its active form. All citrus fruits contain high levels of Vitamin C. Polyphenols are another option. They are the chemicals that give fruit and vegetables their color. They are powerful antioxidants as well. Here is one example of polyphenols and one that I take on a daily basis. Check it out HERE.

So what’s up with the fatty acids? I’m sure that you have heard of omega-3’s and omega- 6’s. Right? This is the reason some people take “fish oil”. Some of you may even remember choking down cod liver oil as a child. With the advent of preservatives and the addition of poor quality vegetable oils in our foods, our ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 has gone awry. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the typical Western diet can be up to 16:1. Not good! Human beings evolved with the ratio being around 1:1.  Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio can promote diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, whereas increased levels of omega-3 (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio) can have a preventative effect. Omega-3 can also help regulate pain and inflammation as well as maintain proper blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Read HERE for more.

So how do you decide which omega product to purchase? You want to purchase a product that has the highest purity and potency. Purity means that it is free of toxic chemicals such as mercury and PCB’s. Potency is based on the actual amount of EPA and DHA in the oil. EPA and DHA are the essential fatty acids in omega-3. Essential fatty acids cannot be produced by the body and are “essential” to ingest. Food sources high in omega-3 are salmon, almonds, flax, walnuts just to name a few. Check on-line for a chart. You want to ensure that the product that you intend on purchasing has undergone third party testing. The International Fish Oil Standards Program at http://www.ifosprogram.com/ is one such organization. Here is an example of the IFOS page for the omega 3 product that I use. Click HERE. So how much omega-3 do you need? I have concluded based upon my research that the daily recommended allowance for omega-3’s is anywhere between 2500-10,000 mg.

Have you ever had your Vitamin D level checked? If not, you may want to. A study published in the Archive of Internal Medicine in 2009 showed that Vitamin D  levels have “plummeted” among ALL U.S. ages, races, and ethnic groups over the past two decades. This is especially true in seasonal parts of the country like New England where sun exposure is variable. Because there are such small amounts of Vitamin D in food, the only 2 ways to get adequate amounts is thru direct sun exposure or via supplements. The best form to take is Vitamin D3 and it is this form that is produced during sun exposure. Over the past 10 years, several researchers have found an association between extremely low vitamin D levels and chronic, general pain that doesn’t respond to treatment. Read HERE. Go the preceding link to read several examples of people who had miraculous results in pain reduction with Vitamin D supplementation. So how much should you take?  The Vitamin D council recommends anywhere between 5000-10,000 IU per day. Check out their recommendations HERE. Here is a LINK comparing options for purchasing vitamin D. I take the generic Vit D3 from CVS.

So how about the MANY other vitamins and minerals? The Vitamin D Council gives recommendations for vitamins that work synergistically with Vitamin D. They include Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Zinc, Boron and Magnesium. You can read more about them and the recommended daily allowances HERE. As mentioned earlier, websites such as www.multivitaminguide.org provides a scientific comparison of over 100 brands of multi-vitamins which should contain all the recommended daily allowances of trace minerals and vitamins. My choice is first on the list from XtendLife: Total Balance. If you need to supplement your B vitamins, another option in liquid form is called Folidreen. Taking your supplements in liquid form and adding them to juice is a great option for those who have difficulty taking pills.

I have also been questioned about and have had personal experience with urine turning a bright yellow when taking a multivitamin. Is this bad?  One of the main reasons for this is the excretion of riboflavin. The Latin origin of riboflavin is from the word flavus which means “yellow” or “blonde”. Your yellow urine reveals one key thing. Your body has taken what it can from the vitamins and the rest is excreted. Read more HERE.

So why do we need trace minerals? Minerals are essentially the elements on the periodic table in chemistry class. They are things like chromium, zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron etc. They work synergistically with all of the other vitamins and nutrients that our bodies need to maintain optimal health. Ideally, trace minerals should come from eating a raw food diet. Unfortunately, researchers have shown that raw food isn’t even enough because our soils have been so depleted of these vital minerals. It is believed that 90% of people are deficient in trace minerals. READ HERE. If it’s not in the soil and it’s not in our food, then what do you do? You need to get your trace minerals via a supplement. You need to scrutinize your multi-vitamin and even look into liquid options such as Concentrace: Trace Mineral Drops.

Another example of the importance of minerals is the balance of calcium and magnesium in our systems. As stated at Natural Vitality:

Magnesium and calcium are fundamental nutrients that need to be in balance with each other in order for you to fully experience good health. Their importance on a cellular level is critical. Calcium and magnesium are like opposite sides of a coin. Calcium excites nerves, while magnesium calms them down. Calcium makes muscles contract. Magnesium is necessary for muscles to relax. Calcium is needed for blood clotting, but magnesium keeps the blood flowing freely.”

Deficiency of magnesium or calcium can be caused by a number of stresses on the body including emotional stress, taking drugs such as diuretics, antibiotics, oral contraceptives, insulin, or cortisone, heavy exercise, diabetes, and gastrointestinal disorders. Some people may need to seriously consider supplementation when these conditions exist. Calcium is extremely important as an alkalizing agent for your body. Stress and poor nutrition makes your body acidic. Acidic environments promote cancer growth! The recommended daily intake of calcium according to the National Institute of Health is 1000mg for adults aged 19-50 and 1200 for 51 plus. The recommended daily intake for magnesium according to the NIH is 320g for age 30 and older. Don’t forget that calcium CANNOT be ingested without Vitamin D. So you may want to order the combination of the two in a product. An excellent source of calcium is coral calcium. You can read HERE for a comparison of the best coral calcium products on the market. I order mine in tablet and powder form (for my smoothies) from True Blue.

So how about your joints? What are the best supplements? You want to focus on products that deliver RESULTS!  The best known supplements for joint health are glucosamine and chondroitin. But have they been shown to be effective? The Cochrane Database www.cochrane.org of Systemic Review is the largest collection of randomized controlled studies in the world. The Cochrane Review of glucosamine for arthritis looked at 4963 patients and concluded that glucosamine “failed to show benefit in pain and function”.

Products which contain esterified fatty acids are turning out to be the new gold standard in the treatment of joint pain. One example is EFAC or esterified fatty acids complex. It is comprised of a proprietary blend of esterified fatty acids that inhibit the inflammatory cascade by bonding to white blood cells and inhibiting a mediator of inflammation called prostaglandin. Double-blind studies using EFAC for osteoarthritis and periodontal (gum) disease have been published in leading medical journals including the Journal of Rheumatology and the Journal of Periodontology. It has been shown that EFAC can reduce joint and muscular discomfort within 30 minutes of topical application and within 14 days of oral consumption. You can read more HERE.

It is available in both capsules and creams in order to maximize your results. Both are available and for sale in our clinic. You can find more information at www.hopescience.com.

In conclusion, yes, I am a believer in taking supplements. I hope that this blog post has made you a believer as well. Please let me know your thoughts or your experiences with supplements. We can all learn from one another!

 

 

 

 

Proper Breathing – The Cure for Pain & Stress?

What do you think of when you visualize someone who is really stressed out? It sure seems like some people are wound tightly these days. I have had my own issues with stress. I’m sure you have too. I find myself talking more and more with my patients about the effects of stress and how beneficial diaphragmatic breathing and proper nutrition can be.  We will discuss nutrition in an upcoming post. You also need to be aware of other possible manifestations of stress like increased muscle tone, rapid heart rate, palpitations, increased blood pressure, GI distress, mood swings, loss of appetite, and sleep disturbances to name just a few. These symptoms make living a happy, relaxed and “normal” life much more difficult.

So what about the relationship between stress and breathing? Breathing occurs at a very primal level. If you don’t breathe, you don’t live! Your body will do whatever it takes to draw air into the lungs. Instead of using the diaphragm, it may recruit other accessory muscles in your neck or low back. This pattern reinforces poor posture and causes impaired flexibility which can promote shallow, ineffective breathing. It prevents the ability to exhale fully and to perform a proper, full diaphragmatic breath. Lets review what that means.

First of all, when performing a diaphragmatic breath, your belly should expand outward. This is due to the downward movement of your diaphragm as you inhale. Secondly, your lower ribcage should expand. Thirdly, your upper ribcage will expand during a maximal inhalation. Your ribcage should expand as a unit. It should NOT elevate. Movement of your ribcage upward, shoulder shrugging, or contraction of your neck muscles are all signs of faulty breathing patterns. Remember that slouched sitting and forward head posture encourages shallow breathing and prevents full, complete expansion of your ribcage. We discussed breathing pattern disorders in relation to CORE activation during my last post and video demonstration. Here it is in case you missed it:

 

 

So what does the research say about the link between pain and breathing disorders?  A very interesting phenomenon is the prevalence of pain syndromes that are NOT caused by a specific organic illness. Katon & Walker (1998) noted that patients with the most common physical symptoms (i.e. abdominal pain, chest pain, headache, back pain), are responsible for half of all primary care visits in the USA, and yet only 10%–15% of these are found to be caused by organic illness! All these symptoms are well recognized as capable of being the result of breathing pattern disorders.

Perri and Holford (2004) evaluated 111 patients attending a chiropractic pain clinic and found 56.4% demonstrated faulty breathing on relaxed inhalation, increasing to 75% when taking a deep breath. 87% reported a history of various musculoskeletal pain problems. Based on this population, they observe that: “Chances are 3 in 4 that new patients seen today will have faulty breathing patterns.”

So what does the research say about the effects of breathing exercises on stress? Remember, stress reactions are controlled by our autonomic nervous system i.e. sympathetic and parasympathetic. Fight or flight?  In Pal and colleagues, breathing exercises were shown to enhance the parasympathetic (inhibitory or calming) effects and decrease the sympathetic (excitatory) effects of muscles and nerves. They improve respiratory and cardiovascular function and improve both physical and mental health. Convinced yet?

So how do you begin breathing exercises?The first step is understanding that the relaxation response has to be relearned. You need to learn how to identify and turn off the stress response. As stated by Kabat-Zinn, “you need to learn how to replace negative thoughts and physical tension with regular practice of ‘calm stillness of mind and body’ “. Buddha is in the house! The next step is to schedule regular daily practice. You need to invest 10-15 minutes at least one time every day. According to Leon Chaitow, we need to “restore an energy-efficient, low chest, nose-breathing pattern with a relaxed pause at the end of exhalation”. He calls it “low slow nose breathing”. Initially, lay comfortably supported by pillows in a quiet room. Progress to sitting once a positive outcome is achieved in lying. You need to reinforce proper posture at home, work, and car and realize that breathing and relaxation techniques only help eliminate the symptoms, not the causes of stress. Be honest about making realistic lifestyle changes. The video below demonstrates a method that uses both breathing and physical relaxation techniques.

 

Remember that breathing drives everything that happens, both good and bad, throughout our entire bodies. So breathe right to live right!!

 

EXPLAIN PAIN!! THE WHY & HOW.

First of all, I would like to apologize to everyone who is reading this article. I apologize for the fact that you have pain, whether chronic or acute, that may be as a result of unfortunate circumstances or the result of an inadequate health care system.  Pain is very misunderstood even in the medical community. Chronic pain sufferers can be stigmatized because of this lack of understanding. Currently, one in four Americans have chronic pain. That’s 75 million people! I want to reassure you that there is an answer. There is a physiological reason WHY you have pain. I want to convince you that the pain you feel may not be coming from where you think and feel it is. You WILL get better. Let me explain your pain!

 

Anatomically, we are essentially all the same. Each of us has approximately 206 bones, 640 muscles, and 400 nerves in our bodies. Our spine consists of 24 vertebra which are attached via ligaments and muscles to our head at the top and to our sacrum and pelvis at the bottom. Each vertebra is separated from the next via our discs. At each vertebral level, there is a spinal nerve that exits a small hole called a foramen. This nerve is the connection between your spinal cord and the rest of your body. Each spinal nerve sends branches to specific locations in your body. They connect the muscles adjacent to your spine to the small nerves at the ends of your fingers and toes. Think about your spine as the tree and the nerves as all of the branches.

 

Your nerves respond to any and all types of stimulation such as touch, temperature, pressure, pain and relay a message thru the spinal nerve to your spinal cord and then up to your brain. Impulses and/or commands from your brain are then transmitted back down the spinal cord to the spinal nerve and out to the targeted area. This communication system is active ALL the time. Our brain determines whether we are consciously aware of it or not. For example, if you are running from a lion attack and step on a tack do you think your brain will tell you “Ouch! Stop. You stepped on a tack?” Hopefully not or else “Dinner is Served!” So what happens if something goes wrong with this system? What happens if this system becomes over-sensitive?

As mentioned above, we have 400 nerves in our bodies. That amounts to 45 MILES of nerves! So how does a nerve “talk” to the brain? At rest, a nerve is always “listening”. Every nerve has a certain threshold that, once surpassed, will generate an electrical signal (called an action potential) that will be sent thru the spinal nerve to the spinal cord and up to the brain. If the threshold isn’t reached, then the nerve just continues to “listen”. For example, how long does it take for you to shift your weight while sitting in the movie theater?  The threshold of your “buttock nerves” has been surpassed when your brain tells you to shift your weight. This threshold is different for everyone. In the diagram below, you can see that that the resting state of the nerve is at a certain level while it is “listening”. After the action potential occurs, the nerve returns to its previous resting state. However, in certain circumstances, the nerve does NOT return to the previous resting state and the nerve remains in a heightened state. It is essentially MORE sensitive, or hypersensitive, and will fire an impulse much more easily.

After an injury, 1 in 4 people experience this heightened nerve state. Why? The answer has a lot to do with the individual’s response to stress. For example, people that get injured in a stressful environment such as a car accident, playing competitive sports, or a stressful job are 7-8x more likely to develop a chronic pain syndrome. In addition, emotional responses to the injury such as worry, fear, and anxiety perpetuates this stress cycle. To use the lion example above, this fear is like an ongoing emotional lion attack to the nerves of a chronic pain sufferer. The Kendall study found that the biggest predictor of developing chronic pain is FEAR! Fear that your pain will not go away. Fear that your life will never return to normal. All of these responses have one thing in common physiologically, they release both inflammatory chemicals and several stress hormones including one that I am sure you have heard of called ADRENALINE.

 

Throughout the length of our nerves, there are channels or pores that open or close in response to physical or chemical stimulation. They are called ion channels. The amount and type of ion channels are based on our genetic coding as well as what our brain THINKS we need to survive. Ion channels live for only 48 hours so the amount and type is always changing. When the channel is closed the nerve is “listening”. When it is open the nerve is “reacting”. During cold weather we produce more temperature sensitive channels. During times of stress or fear we produce more adrenaline sensitive channels. The more that we focus on the pain, the more that our brains perceive a threat and continue to send inflammatory chemicals and adrenaline into the area. This response is like a constant “knock on the door” of the ion channels. Regular ion channels stay open for milliseconds. Certain adrenaline channels can stay open for up to 5 minutes! As a result, the nervous system up-regulates and becomes much more sensitive. Can you see the physiological link now between your emotions and your nerves? The initial trauma or injury caused your pain, but it is your BRAIN that perpetuates the pain.

 

Logically, your next question would be “Is that what’s wrong with me” and “How do we know this?” The explanations are based on what we know about nerve science. We know that you have a pain syndrome based on your physical examination and what you have told us about your pain.

 

Your next question may be “Why did this happen to ME?” As I mentioned earlier, 1 in 4 people after a traumatic event develop chronic pain. The greatest predictor of chronic pain is uncontrolled acute pain from the injury. Medications, icing, rest, bracing are important strategies in the beginning. Our brain determines our pain tolerance and everyone is different in this regard. Having high levels of stress chemicals in our system not only perpetuates the pain cycle, it also leads to chronic fatigue, depression, mood swings, and sleep disorders to name a few.

 

So then, “What can we do to treat it?” Our objective is to determine what we can physically as well as mentally do to control your pain. The more that you understand your pain, the more control you have over your brain. Studies have been done that demonstrate a significant reduction in perceived pain just by understanding the physiological process. So re-read this article several times until you REALLY get it. Doing this means you are already moving in the right direction! Choosing the right medications is an important part of the healing process as well. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID’s) such as ibuprofen and Aleve may help. Medications such as Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Neurontin(Gabapentin) function by plugging the openings in your ion channels. Narcotics such as morphine can actually make nerve pain worse! As a side note, your brain can produce pain relieving chemicals that are 50x more powerful than any drug that your doctor can prescribe.

 

So how do we turn on our brains? As I mentioned earlier, education is the key. The more you know, the more you control. Secondly, choose your foods wisely. Tryptophan is an  amino acid that cannot be produced by our bodies. It is a powerful precursor to the “happy” hormone our bodies produce called serotonin. High levels of serotonin can also aid in plugging holes in ion channels. Serotonin is also a precursor to melatonin which plays an important role in mood and sleep disorders. Foods with high levels of tryptophan are turkey, bananas, soy products, tofu, almonds, sesame seeds and walnuts. Lastly, the right type of physical activity is key to controlling your pain and normalizing your nervous system. “Move it or lose it!” certainly applies in this case. There is Gold Level evidence in the literature that aerobic activity performed daily for 10 minutes at 50% max effort can reduce chronic pain. Aerobic exercise cleanses our system of inflammatory chemicals and stress hormones. The most important things that our nerves need to heal are proper movement, adequate space to move, and lots of blood! Our nerves constitute 2-3% of our body weight and use 25% of our blood. The circulation to a nerve will be cut off if the nerve is stretched more than 7-8%. It is very important to determine what kind of movement and/or irritability is occurring in the nervous system. We call this nerve movement “neural dynamics”. Stretching a nerve is NOT something that you want to do. A qualified physical therapist will perform a thorough assessment of your neural dynamics and establish an appropriate plan of care to restore proper and painfree nerve mobility. Manual techniques such as soft tissue and joint mobilizations, Primal Reflex Release Techniques and spinal manual traction can also be beneficial. Hands-on techniques can help to retrain your brain and to desensitize the system. Proper diaphragmatic breathing is also key. If you don’t get enough oxygen, how will you feed your healing nerves?

 

Once again, I apologize to everyone who has read this article. I know that having pain every day must be very difficult and challenging. I want you to know that there is HOPE. Reading my article is only the beginning. Please let me know if we can help you further.