Here are a few simple exercises that can help preserve full range of motion while strengthening your shoulders so you can avoid injury and pain:
- Starting from a seated or standing position, turn your palms up.
- Slowly raise your arms out to the sides and up overhead.
- Repeat 6-8 times.
Tips for Success:
- Have a slight bend in your elbows and keep your arms in the plane of your body while you do this exercise.
- Pull your shoulders down away from your ears and squeeze your shoulder blades together on your back.
- Breathe in while your raise your arms and breathe out while you lower your arms.
Overhead Reach and Climb
- Raise one arm out to the side and overhead, stretching through your rib cage on that side.
- Slowly bring that arm down so the elbow is at your waist while, at the same time raising the opposite arm up.
- Repeat 6-8 times to each side.
Tip for Success:
- To maximize the stretch pause and hold at the top for a few seconds.
- From a seated or standing position bring your arms out to your sides and parallel to the floor
- Turn your palms up and pull your shoulders down and back.
- Slowly bend your elbows to bring your arms in by your ribcage.
- Slowly press your arms back out to the sides.
- Repeat 8-10 times.
Tip for Success:
- Prevent wrist injury while doing this exercise by keeping your wrists in a neutral position.
For a shoulder care program designed for your specific needs call Dr. Roizman’s office at (828) 225-5575 to schedule an in-office consultation.
Spring is here and along with it the start of running season. When a runner comes into my office presenting with back pain, it is my job as a chiropractor to determine the underlying cause of the pain and then develop a plan of action to get him or her fully healed and back out on the trail as soon as possible.
Back pain may be a simple problem arising from a minor muscle strain that heals quickly with adjustments, exercises and home care or it may signal a more serious condition requiring urgent medical attention. The physical examination is designed to rule in or out the most serious potential problems first.
More Worrisome Symptoms and Causes
The impact of running can cause a non-symptomatic bulging disc to herniate causing pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. In long distance runners stress fractures can occur. A recent trauma, such as a slip-and-fall or car accident may also result in a fracture or disc herniation that becomes more noticeable with running.
The most important telltale signs of a serious back or nerve injury include radiating pain, weakness, numbness or tingling down the front, back or side of one or both legs. If the patient describes or the exam reveals one or more of these symptoms an x-ray and/or MRI will be necessary to evaluate the spine, vertebrae and nerve roots. If imaging shows one of these conditions is present the patient is advised to discontinue running until their back is stabilized. This may require surgery or a lengthy period of rest and physical therapy.
Less Worrisome Symptoms and Causes
Once the history and initial neurological evaluation rule out a serious injury or medical condition then a muscle strain, biomechanical imbalance or structural fault are more likely. At this point it is safe to proceed with a combination of physical exam and/or x-rays to localize the precise muscles and joint structures involved. These conditions can generally be treated with a combination of chiropractic care, physical therapy, ice, stretching, anti-inflammatories, massage and other conservative measures.
A list of potential muscle strains causing low back pain may include paraspinal muscles, gluteal muscles, hamstrings, or hip flexors. Gait analysis can reveal altered biomechanical patterns from the feet on up, the forces from which can manifest as low back pain.
A common structural fault, known as antero- or retrolisthesis, occurs from forward or backward slippage of a vertebrae. Another type of structural fault involves congenital fusion or non-fusion of a spinal joint. This often happens in the region of the fifth lumbar vertebrae and the sacrum and is called sacralization or lumbarization. In some individuals, one side may be fused while the same joint on the opposite remains unfused, causing instability and pain. Such biomechanical faults are revealed on x-ray.
The Bottom Line
Back pain can be confusing and misleading and signs and symptoms can overlap. If you experience back pain while running, do not try to diagnose the cause of your back pain to determine if it is minor or serious. The best advice for dealing with running-related back pain is to stop, walk and make an appointment to see a qualified healthcare practitioner.
A combination of genetic and environmental factors can cause a wide range of allergic responses. Allergies can lead to or stem from from an imbalance in one or more of your body’s systems and can appear at any stage in your life. Wholistic chiropractic care offers a variety of diagnosis and treatment options.
Stress, Antibiotics, Poor Diet
Common triggers that can set off an imbalance that may lead to the development of allergies include stress, antibiotic use or a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. These factors share certain characteristic effects that initiate a process known as leaky gut syndrome. One of these effects is chronic inflammation throughout the body. This type of low-level Inflammation may not be as noticeable as that of a bee sting but it causes the lining of the digestive tract to stretch and become permeable. Instead of functioning as a selective filter that absorbs digested food, the permeable intestinal lining allows undigested food particles to leak into the bloodstream. Too large for your cells to absorb and use, these undigested food particles fall under attack by your immune system, which sees them as potentially dangerous foreign objects and a food allergy is born.
Once inflammation sets in, the intestinal tract attempts to rid itself of whatever may be causing the irritation by increasing levels of mucous formation. Mucous occurs in both the digestive and respiratory tracts and provides a place for molds and fungi to take hold and grow, further draining the immune system, crowding out beneficial bacteria and setting the stage for food allergies, respiratory allergies and opportunistic infections.
In the case of poor diet or chronic stress, you may not make the connection between with allergy symptoms until considerable damage is done. Antibiotic use is normally discontinued after three to ten days, only to reoccur at the next sign of infection. Repeated courses of antibiotics can damage the intestinal lining in ways that persist for years.
Decreased nutrient absorption leads to further digestive and immune complications because unabsorbed nutrients are not available for production of the enzymes, stomach acid and other components necessary to digest food.
Stress increases levels of the hormone cortisol which decreases inflammation. However, chronic stress results in cortisol depletion and elevated inflammation and associated digestive and immune system effects, such as allergies. Altered thyroid function may also impair immune function and make you more susceptible to developing allergies.
Left/Right Brain Imbalance
Your allergies may also stem from an imbalance in communication between the two hemispheres of your brain. The left brain typically activates the immune system while the right brain has the responsibility of suppressing the immune response. An overactive left brain or underactive right brain may result in an overly enthusiastic immune response that, unchecked, can snowball into allergies and autoimmune conditions. Studies show that lower right brain function is associated with increased levels of certain antibodies. Also, there seems to be a higher prevalence of allergies, asthma and autoimmune conditions in left-handed families and women with asthma, a condition that often is accompanied by allergies, are more likely to have left-handed children.
Wholistic Chiropractic Treatment Approach
Finding and healing digestive components of allergies is a key piece of the puzzle for many allergy sufferers. Lab testing for food intolerances and digestive function can reveal important information. Appropriate dietary modifications, cleansing and detoxification procedures restore healthy digestive and immune function. Applied kinesiology techniques help to find and fix particularly subtle or hidden allergies. Where brain and central nervous system imbalance is a contributing factor, chiropractic functional neurology can help detect and balance brain function so that your immune system is expressed in a healthy way.
To the ancient Mayans chocolate had magical and divine powers, an indication that they may have known about its mood-altering effects.
Chocolate’s ability to counteract depression by raising serotonin levels is widely known. Less well known is that both women and men use chocolate as mood food, according to a 2010 study of over 1,000 adults.
Antioxidants in chocolate can protect your brain from the damaging effects of air pollution. Chocolate decreases brain inflammation. Chocolate consumption has also been shown to protect a part of the brain that produces the neurotransmitter dopamine and the vagus nerve, which controls the majority of your internal organs.
Components in chocolate called bioactive amines may reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s disease by improving brain metabolism and increasing dopamine levels.
For most of history, chocolate was consumed unsweetened and without the added saturated fat that makes it a sinful indulgence instead of the health food that it truly is.
Sprouted seeds and beans are a great way to add raw vegetables to your winter diet. They add fresh flavor and crunch to sandwiches or can be sprinkled on cooked food before serving. Sprouts are packed with vitamins, minerals and enzymes that assist your digestive system, preserving your body’s energy for activities such as boosting your immune function to help ward off colds and flu.
Broccoli sprouts can help lower your cholesterol levels and prevent cancer.
Alfalfa sprouts contain a remarkable 25 percent protein and provide antibacterial and liver-cleansing benefits.
Vitamin C levels increase as much as eight times in the sprouting process. B-complex increases by six times and vitamin E by three times.
Making your own sprouts is easy and can be safer than store-bought sprouts. Follow safe hygienic practices to prevent bacterial contamination. Store sprouted seeds in your refrigerator and rinse sprouts daily with fresh water.
A fungus known as Cordyceps sinensis, pictured above, often used in traditional Chinese Medicine for its ability to bolster the immune system, is also a good supplement to turn to when your adrenal glands need a boost. Cordyceps has the ability to increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol without depleting the adrenal glands, implying a stress-sparing effect on the body while maintaining sufficient levels of this important stress hormone.
Add vitamin E to your supplement regimen to decrease excessive levels of the adrenal-activating hormone ACTH and the adrenal steroid hormone known as corticosterone. Vitamin E prevents oxidation within the pituitary and hypothalamus; areas of the brain that control the adrenal glands, thereby also preventing the types of cognitive impairment that occur from stress.
Adrenal health is yet another reason to keep your vitamin C levels topped up. Adrenal tissue contains high levels of vitamin C. In times of stress your adrenal glands secrete vitamin C into circulation. It is well-known that when animals become sick or otherwise stressed they produce prodigious amounts of vitamin C. Humans have lost the ability to manufacture vitamin C and must obtain it from food sources or supplementation. For your adrenal and immune health, your best bet is to supplement with vitamin C daily.
By, Tracey Roizman, DC
Cures from the Past
For some people headaches are an occasional annoyance, for others a disabling chronic condition. There have been many creative headache cures throughout history. In China around 200 a.d., Hua Tho, a famous surgeon and the discoverer of anesthesia offered to relieve the emperor’s headaches by removing a portion of his skull. In medieval Europe headaches were treated by applying a solution of vinegar and opium to the scalp. And, in the late 1800’s William Gowers, an eminent physician and founder of modern neurology emphasized the importance of a healthy diet. Failing that he recommended nitroglycerin dissolved in alcohol.
The Sensible Solution
Fortunately, modern chiropractic care has a lot to offer headache sufferers. Chiropractic has proven through numerous studies to be highly effective and provide longer and more permanent relief for headaches than even some of the most highly touted wonder drugs. Because headaches are a common health issue, people often accept the idea that they are a normal, inevitable part of life. But headaches, particularly those that recur, are signs that something is wrong. Aspirin and other medications relieve the pain of tension headaches, migraines and cluster headaches without correcting the underlying causes. Moreover, analgesics often cover up the warning signs associated with neck, head and back pain. When those causes are eliminated so also are the headaches that come from them.
An important study by Duke University compared a variety of methods for the treatment of muscle tension headaches. When chiropractic care was compared to the drug amitriptyline the results were greatly in favor of chiropractic therapy. During the six week study the short term effectiveness was similar for each type of therapy. It was the long term benefits in the three months after treatments were discontinued that chiropractic care was shown to have a tremendous advantage over drug therapy.
Patients in the study who had received chiropractic care continued to experience fewer and less severe headaches while patients who’d had drug therapy went back to their previous condition. Additionally, 82% of patients taking amitriptyline reported adverse side effects including fast heart rate, blurred vision, urinary retention, dry mouth, constipation, weight gain or loss, low blood pressure on standing, rash, hives, seizures, and hepatitis.
Another study, this one from Harvard, discovered that chiropractic care is the leading alternative therapy sought by patients seeking relief for headaches. Could it be a healthcare revolution in the making? Let’s hope so.
How it Works
The reason chiropractic care outperforms drug therapy for headaches is simple. Chiropractic care provides lasting relief by removing the causes of headaches and it does so safely. Drugs, on the other hand are designed to put out fires once they’ve started. The preferable solution is obvious and that is why studies and patients support chiropractic for the care and cure of headaches.
Headaches have a spectrum of causes or triggers. One of the most common triggers for headaches is cervicogenic problems, meaning ‘arising from the neck’. It’s possible to have a cervicogenic headache in the absence of neck pain.
One of the ways chiropractic treatment helps decrease the occurrence of headaches is by improving the balance of the upper neck. Postural strain is one reason for the neck to become misaligned. Stress from sitting at a desk or computer or from driving accumulates quickly because these are activities we spend a lot of time doing. Traumatic injuries such as slip and fall accidents, auto accidents or athletic injuries cause misalignments in the spine and tension in muscles.
In many cases the original injuries go back to childhood. These persist and cause a domino effect of underlying weakness that makes the headache sufferer vulnerable to other stressors in the environment. Sinus headaches, which are generally associated with allergies or weather patterns often have a structural component of spinal imbalance together with muscle tension. Your food sensitivity headache, in fact, might respond very well to chiropractic care.
Helping headache sufferers is a daily occurrence in chiropractic clinics. In my practice I see patients whose primary complaint is headaches and I also see patients who come in for general health care and remark that their headaches have vanished since the start of their chiropractic treatments. In all cases the result is less pain and greater health. Certainly, that is preferable to pain pills with their temporary relief and associated side effects. And, best of all you can keep your cranium intact.
Olive leaf extract is a versatile herb with powerful immune-building properties. Oleuropein, one of the active ingredietst in olive leaf extract, is also present in olive oil and helps retard spoilage. Keep olive leaf extract handy in your winter medicine cabinet for these uses:
Antibiotic effects. Olive leaf extract has been found effective at treating chronic bacterial and viral infections that are resistant to conventional methods of treatment. A constituent of olive leaf also helps prevent flareups of dormant viruses. Pneumonia, influenza, herpes, shingles and Epstein-Barr virus have all been successfully treated with olive leaf extract. Urinary tract and yeast infections also respond well to this herb.
Antioxidant benefits. The combination of antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of olive leaf extract is greater than either property by itself, according to research.
Food-borne infections such as E. coli and skin infections such as staphylococcus aureus may be prevented by olive leaf extract.
Olive leaf extract also helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and digestive function.
Typical adult dosage is 500 mg in capsule form or one dropperful of liquid extract one to three times per day.
For guidance in the best use of olive leaf extract for your particular health needs, contact Dr. Roizman at (828) 225-5575.
Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, lends them their characteristic spicy quality. In plants, capsaicin serves as a protective barrier, keeping predatory animals from eating the fruit. In people, capsaicin has a variety of healthful benefits, including:
Pain Management: Areas of the brain that suppress pain messages are activated when you eat chili peppers. This particular mechanism of pain reduction is unique to capsaicin, according to research. Consuming capsaicin suppresses not only the pain messages from the capsaicin itself, but pain from other areas of your body, such as a recent sprain or muscle strain or chronic pain associated with arthritis.
Weight Loss: Capsaicin promotes weight loss by boosting your metabolic rate. Its ability to prevent rebound weight gain may make it more effective than calorie restriction, in some cases.
Cancer: Capsaicin decreases energy production in cancer cells and inhibits cancer-promoting enzymes. It also promotes programmed cell death in cancer cells — a process known as apoptosis.
Brain Health: Nerve degeneration and seizure activity decrease with use of capsaicin. The chili pepper constituent also acts as an antioxidant in the brain by preventing oxidation of lipids, which comprise a large percentage of brain tissue.
by Tracey Roizman, DC
The practice of spinal manipulation has historically been part of many cultures throughout the world, in some places dating back hundreds, even thousands of years. In fact, the term “Ortho-Paedics” originated in 1727, when it was used to describe manual and other procedures to correct asymmetries of the spine and skeletal structure of children.
Children are ideal candidates for the healing benefits offered by gentle chiropractic corrective care. This is not surprising, considering the physical stress incurred during birth followed by the rapid growth of childhood and the inherent routine bumps, falls and other activities that define this part of life. Aches and pains that we attribute in adulthood to the inevitable effects of aging are often the result of spinal and bodily misalignments that originate in childhood and go uncorrected for decades. Or not at all.
Interestingly, the primary reason parents bring their children for chiropractic care these days in this country is for help with an ailment that, at first might not seem to be directly related to the spine. The problem is recurring ear infections.
Few of us get through childhood without experiencing some of its typical ailments. Statistically, 75% of children have at least one bout with ear infection by the time they are three. The reason is part anatomy and part immunity. The developing structure of the child’s ear combined with their immature immune system make them uniquely susceptible to this common condition.
In babies and young children, the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear and the throat, and serves to equalize pressure and drain fluids, takes a more horizontal than vertical course. As the child grows the eustachian tube changes shape, becoming more vertically aligned and this forms a more efficient system for drainage. Until then, young children are susceptible to fluid accumulating in the ear. When fluid accumulates in a closed space, the result is pain pressure and infection.
The young child’s developing immune system encounters new challenges on a daily basis. Normally, illness does not result. The effect is a mild runny nose or simply a day of uncharacteristic sluggishness. When a child does get sick their immune response can be quite dramatic. Sudden high fevers and other severe symptoms make children and parents equally anxious for quick relief.
The use of antibiotics to provide this relief has become standard practice. However, antibiotics can complicate the situation by killing healthy bacteria and suppressing the child’s immune system. This increases susceptibility to recurrences of infection and additional courses of antibiotics.
We in the U.S. have been particularly enamored of antibiotics and often rush to use them prematurely. Some cases of otitis media are not infections at all, but simply accumulations of watery fluid causing pressure and pain. As a result the rates of antibiotic resistance in this country are significantly higher than in other places. 25% of strep. pneumoniae cases are now antibiotic resistant compared to .002% ten years ago.
Chiropractic therapy has helped many families get through this phase of life healthier than they otherwise could with conventional medicine. Children respond remarkably quickly to natural chiropractic care. In many cases a series of 5 to 8 adjustments is sufficient to make the patient pain free, infection free and most importantly less likely to relapse.
What do spinal adjustments do for ear infections? There are small muscles in the throat and around the eustachian tube that control activities such as swallowing and talking and also the opening and closing of the Eustachian tube. Adjustments to the cervical spine help to normalize nerve flow to these small muscles. By calming tight constricted muscles, the eustachian tube is allowed to open, allowing fluid and pressure to drain.
What are you missing if you don’t go the route of antibiotics? Progressively more serious illnesses can result. A child whose immune system is suppressed by repeated antibiotic use has a vital internal colony of beneficial bacteria that is practically non- existent. They are vulnerable to developing conditions such as allergies, asthma, and pneumonia without this protection
Allergies occur as a secondary effect of antibiotic use because, in addition to destroying the normal flora, antibiotics also damage the delicate lining of the intestinal tract. Large proteins and other partially digested food particles are then able to pass through the intestinal membrane and enter the bloodstream where they are attacked by the immune system.
The respiratory system is similarly affected. Allergic responses lead to constriction of breathing passages and the symptoms of asthma. Also, the respiratory system has its own normal colony of beneficial bacteria which when disturbed can lead to respiratory allergies and asthma.
In recent years emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria has become an important public health concern. The less we rely on antibiotics the better. A lot can be accomplished with some good guidance, some health-promoting care, including chiropractic adjustments and a few small dietary and/or lifestyle changes. The cycle of antibiotic dependence can be broken and a strong healthy child can emerge.