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It is estimated that of the 238 million adults in the US, 116 million suffer from chronic pain. Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are the most common allopathic approach to the management of these chronic pain patients. However, there are more complaints filed to regulatory agencies worldwide against NSAIDs than any other classification of drugs.
Due to pro-inflammatory lifestyles (diet and physical, chemical and emotional stressors), pain and other subsequent signs or symptoms of internal disfunction runs rampant. This leads to the perceived need for routine NSAID use (tylenol, aspirin, advil, ibuprofen, etc.) to get through the busy day. While the underlying cause of the inflammation should always be addressed, what we are talking about here is a short term, safer alternative to the NSAID.
The reason a smarter option should be exercised is due to the fact that like all drugs, over the counter or prescribed, these magic pills are not sans side effects. NSAID use and overuse is responsible for an alarming number of hospitalizations and even deaths each year. Common side effects include internal hemorrhaging, liver and kidney damage, digestive dysfunction including degradation of the stomach and intestinal wall (ulcers), and stroke; with the likelihood of occurrence increasing with usage.
So when you see these commercials with the delivery man or mother of three relying on her her alieve or advil to get through the day, best believe reliance on an even longer list of meds will follow to address the aforementioned issues.
To understand viable options, we need to understand the physiologic mechanism of action behind the NSAID. These drugs work by inhibiting a part of the inflammatory pathway that leads to the formation of something called a prostaglandin (PGE2) that would normally lead to stimulation of pain fibers. They do this by inhibiting an enzyme in the pathway called COX-2, and are thus noted as COX-2 inhibitors.
What most people don’t know is that there are actually other ways to block the formation of PGE2, and thus the pain. In addition to a laundry list of other systemic benefits, Omega3 (Fish Oil) supplementation also serves as a COX-2 inhibitor, and thus a potentially powerful, natural anti-inflammatory. (Provided this is a high quality Omega 3 supplement and at a therapeutic dose.)
Another fascinating option that works in a similar COX-2 inhibitory
manner is the application Low Laser Therapy or LLT. These are often classified as cold lasers (due to the lack of heat) and work by utilizing a specific wavelength and frequency of light to achieve a desired therapeutic purpose within the tissues. One of the effects of Low Level Laser Therapy is that it too blocks the COX-2 enzyme, and thus the formation of PGE2 and the sensation of pain, but without the side effects.
As previously stated, the long term objective should always be to identify and eliminate the cause of the problematic inflammation so the use of natural or chemical anti-inflammatories is minimized. However, due to the well documented hazards associated with these seemingly harmless and casually over consumed drugs, wiser options, that work in the exact same manner, should be exercised.
As with any adjustment to your healthcare regimen, always consult with you knowledgable and trusted healthcare coach before making any changes. Whether it’s the all natural temporary relief of pain, or a combination of short term relief to get you through while we work on a long term solution, we are here to collaborate with and coach you to a better quantity and quality of life.
We’re ready when you are.
Heartburn. Indigestion. Acid reflux. These are annoyances that plague millions of Americans. The prevalence of this condition is so frequent that the sales of OTC (over the counter) antacids is in the billions. I even saw Larry the Cable Guy pitching some Prilosec on a commercial, urging that we don’t let heartburn get in the way.
Dr. Cable Guy has it partially right. You shouldn’t allow heartburn to get in your way. However the answer is not to mindlessly pop a side effect laden pill in order to silence your body’s cry for help. Especially not on a regular basis, as even the manufacturers warn to caution long term use.
So what to do? Well, with this situation as with all, the optimal solution is to search for the cause of the dysfunction.
What’s the problem?
A burning sensation somewhere along your upper digestive tract. What’s the cause? Well, if you’re like many pill popping Americans, you may believe the issue is too much stomach acid. Drugs like the aforementioned Prilosec work by inhibiting the production of stomach acid, when in fact too little acid may actually be the issue. Moreover, the issue may have nothing to do with acid volume at all, but rather nervous system dysfunction leading to discordination of the sphincters designed to prevent the back wash of potent stomach acid.
To our first point, a condition called hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) can actually be the counterintuitive root of acid reflux. We need our stomachs to secrete hydrochloric acid in order to protect us from harmful invaders hitching a ride with our food, and as a mandatory early digestive aid. Without it, proper digestion cannot occur leaving one susceptible to nutrient and mineral deficiencies, as well as gut irritation, inflammation, infection and permeability. And if you’ve read any other posts on this site or are up on the current research, you’re aware this can set the stage for a host of issues including autoimmune diseases.
When food is not hit with a proper dose of hydrochloric it begins to go rancid and putrefy in our gastrointestinal tract. The body, in all of its infinite wisdom, tries to refuse this ball of rotting nastiness and directs it towards the nearest exit. Unfortunately due the early juncture that this takes place along the digestive process, this ends up being your esophagus, where it irritates the delicate tissue and causes your classic heartburn.
Now if you chose to go the OTC route you will most likely experience some temporary relief, as it blocks the acid that is normally back washed into your esophagus. Unfortunately all you did was shove a dirty old sock in your body’s mouth as it attempts to inform you that something isn’t right. So what happens? Well, next feeding the symptoms return and you learn to pop another pill as it now becomes your standard appetizer or dessert.
Not to pick on Prilosec, but since Larry gives’er the nod let’s hear some of those potential side effects that increase the longer you rely on them in order to enjoy that funnel cake with Mr. Cable Guy. Those listed as common include headache, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and flatulence. More serious possibilities include fun things like pancreatitis, hepatic (liver) impairment, gastritis, nephritis (kidneys), and blood disorders.
Most importantly you need to keep in mind that you’re inhibiting the function of the entire digestive process. While this may give you the short lived gratification of enjoying a taste, you are setting yourself up to be nutrient deficient and plagued by the laundry list of possible issues that can occur from that leaky, inflamed gut. So what can you do to break the cycle?
Well, first find a practitioner that is willing to go beyond the knee jerk reaction of prescribing something to decrease the stomach acid. (In many cases supplementing with HCl (hydrochloric acid) actually brings relief.)
You’ll want to undergo a thorough consultation, exam, and perhaps some blood work in order to discover whether the causative factor is something like your thyroid gland, adrenal glands, or based in the brain. You’ll have to be willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes, especially when it comes to diet in order to heal the gut and identify any possible food intolerances that may be causing constant internal stress and leading to esophageal sphincter dysfunction.
If you suffer from chronic heartburn or another condition that you’re tired of being on meds for;
If you’re tired of feeling like you’re running in circles;
If you’re interested in a natural and holistic approach described in the paragraph above;
if you believe the body is a complex matrix of interconnected systems and not isolated compartments;
if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired; then please give us a call (321) 848-0987. It would be our pleasure to collaborate with you in your journey towards optimal health.
I recently had the opportunity to spend my afternoon as an exhibitor at the Brevard County Women’s Expo. The reason for my presence was to provide information and an avenue to pursue natural, holistic healthcare. One of the biggest draws to our booth was the book, “Changer Your Brain, Change Your Life,” by Dr. Daniel Amen. I highly recommend this book, or at the very least checking out our previous post pertaining to it. (https://clarkechiropracticwellness.com/2013/08/08/mental-health-a-new-perspective/)
Basically, the book provided hope by doing two things. Number one it illustrated that areas of decreased blood flow and metabolic activity in the brain do exist. This means that there are portions of the brain not functioning at full capacity. Depending on the location of decreased function, various symptoms will be outwardly exhibited resulting in the diagnosis of conditions like anxiety, ADD/ADHD, depression, anger, obsessive compulsive behavior, sleeping disorders, etc. This is huge because it demonstrates to the individual that there is no inherent character flaw within them, but rather an area of the brain with sluggish function.
The second critical thing this book shows is that therapies can be applied that target the area of decreased function. Dr. Amen’s clinics have functionally scanned over 80,000 brains from 90 countries showing the affects of brain based therapies pre and post treatment. The real testament though is the improvement to the patient’s quality of life. An image showing increased activity is one thing, but it’s pretty much meaningless to the individual if they are still burdened with life altering symptoms.
(It should be noted that when he finds it necessary, Dr. Amen also utilizes pharmaceutical means in conjunction with the therapies to treat his patients. Other patients have responded simply to the brain based therapies and supplementation.)
The universal optimism to be drawn from Dr. Amen’s work is that it provides more proof that the brain can adapt. Application of the correct brain based therapies and exercises can positively take advantage of the brain’s plasticity or adaptability and increase function from the brain and beyond. As we know, the brain serves as the master control center for the entire body, inside and out; making the possibilities endless.
From a functional doctor’s point of view, this ties in phenomenally with what we do and why we do it. Let me explain:
When you seek treatment, you are more than likely looking to address a symptom that has become bothersome in your life. Although bothersome, this symptom is actually a good thing as it is our body’s brilliant way of letting us know something isn’t right. Rather than attempting to silence our body’s inborn alarm system, as a functional doctor, we look to neurologically, nutritionally, and biomechanically analyze the whole picture and discover the breakdown in function that caused the symptom to manifest in the first place. Being trained to identify areas of potential decreased function in the brain, and then apply specific therapeutic exercises and therapies to target that area and take advantage of the brain’s aforementioned plasticity is what functional neurology is all about.
You see, there is no claim being made to cure those conditions mentioned above. The approach is to acknowledge the symptoms, but go beyond them attempting to identify and correct the underlying breakdown in function causing the symptom. The thing about a symptom is that we never know if this is the first identifiable sign of an underlying issue or the 4th or 5th. And if we simply silent the symptom, the internal derangement more than likely still exists and will manifest itself in other, perhaps more severe ways; kind of like the body screaming even louder for our attention.
This all ties into Dr. Amen’s work in that he has contributed to evidence showing the brain can change through therapies. Being that the brain controls all function, effective treatment can not only lead to addressing the presenting complaint, but end up having widespread, favorable consequence throughout the body. Sleep patterns, immune function, digestive issues, blood pressure regulation, name it.
If you’re ready for a change and interested in further exploring the world of natural and holistic healthcare through functional medicine I’d love to talk.
Stay open my friends.
I am sure everyone out there is familiar with the phrase: “ignorance is bliss.” To some extent this is true. However, if given the choice between knowing the truth and being empowered with the knowledge to alter one’s lifestyle in a beneficial manner or remaining literally fat, dumb and happy; which would you choose? The inspiration behind this blog is to lessen the ignorance and open eyes to what is truly going on in our own bodies and in the world around us. The goal is to educate and inspire positive lifestyle changes.
For those of you who don’t know, my name is Rich Clarke and I will be graduating from Palmer College of Chiropractic this March, and opening a clinic in Brevard County, FL soon thereafter. My initial draw towards chiropractic was stemmed by the all-natural, drug-free approach to healing. Through my journey over the past five years, it has since evolved into something much more. The recognition and appreciation for the complexity of the human body and how every system within it synergistically operates, enabling each of us to live, is truly a remarkable and delicate process. It is the appreciation of this delicateness and recognition of how internal and external stimuli can alter our bodies in positive and negative ways that continues to drive my passion to discover more. The intricacies of the body and how chiropractic, nutrition, and other lifestyle changes can be used to enhance function and improve quality of life will be explored and explained. There will also be ample attention paid to all of the mis-information out there, in an attempt to enable us to not just exist by mere survival, but to excel and thrive. I began by applying this knowledge to my own life and have since felt it was my duty to share it with my close friends and family. This blog is an attempt to enlighten and reach a larger audience, empowering you all with information that leaves you with the ability to make the best choices.
I will be putting out a couple of posts a week. They will attempt to provide perspective, knowledge, research backed information, and ways you can practically apply it in order to achieve optimal wellness, longevity, and happiness in your own life. Feel free to comment at any time with questions and or suggestions for a future post. I thank you in advance for joining me and hopefully I can assist you in making a difference in your life and the lives of those you care about.