Tag Archives: pain

Running Essentials (Vol.3)

In continuation with our Running Essentials series, this week’s post will keep it relatively simple.  The emphasis here is the need for continuous, maintenance work to clear potential hurdles and road blocks to your goals.
It goes without saying that it is essential to have at your service a competent practitioner you can trust for when the wheels begin to fall off. Unfortunately it happens to all of us at one time or another, especially if you are active.
That’s not what we’re referring to here.  We are talking about regular comprehensive sessions when all is well and running smoothly, in order to keep it that way.  It is far easier for patient and practitioner to rectify neuromusculoskeletal imbalances calmly in their infancy, rather than frantically and while in pain.
Finding a practitioner who speaks the same language and understands your goals and priorities is integral in this approach.  A knowledgable, holistic alley to collaborate with in ensuring you can continue to do what you love to do.
To simply utilize this individual for a more stressful damage control, injury cleanup normally ends up taking more time, money and emotion than if the proper respect and attention was paid to the body from the jump.
We are not simply speaking of rest and passive recovery either (although this is also key).  We are talking about active recovery between workouts.  If you look at a professional athlete, you have individuals receiving some sort of treatment numerous times per week, if not daily.  And while we are not referring to professional athletes here per say, but more of the full time desk jockeys who love to get after it during “play time,” the need for attention remains, one could argue even more so.
You take an individual who spends the majority of their hours in various positions and postures that are quite the opposite of a professional athlete.  This prolonged sitting, hunched postures, driving, etc., lends itself to countless imbalances in every single aspect of the neuromusculoskeletal chain.  The spotlight then shines on these imbalances when any type of physical activity is attempted, especially as we increase frequency, intensity and duration.
When speaking specifically  of running, we are talking about a repetitive pounding; a force transmitted and absorbed by the body that is exponentially larger than when walking.  Now throw into that equation a misaligned segment of the spine, pelvis or extremity, a chronically shortened or weakened muscle, a misfiring nervous system.  What we have is a recipe for disaster.
The point being is to make the changes in daily lifestyle that can be done, and to routinely work the other  potential issues out with that knowledgable practitioner.  It may seem like more of a commitment to have a weekly or bi-monthly session, but this pales in comparison to the time, money and stress that goes into the active injury identification, care and rehab.
We take our cars in for routine oil changes. We update our phones, no questions asked. In turn we expect reliable and optimal function.  How can we possibly expect anything close to that from our bodies, the most complex machine we will ever possess, when we don’t treat it with the same respect?
Come see us and we’ll do all we can to keep you moving.

The Time For Change is Here

Over the past few years I’ve had the privilege of speaking with a large number of diverse souls.  Due to my profession and personal interests, many of these conversations have been about health, namely that of the other party.

I will  usually hear a laundry list of complaints and presumed reasons for these issues.  Many times the individual will even verbally acknowledge the importance and impact that lifestyle changes could play in their life.

However, for whatever reason, the disconnect between talk and action remains and the path towards sickness and breakdown continues.  Knowledge without action is useless, and in this case, detrimental to your health.  Rather than going off and making this a psychoanalytical piece on why people don’t help themselves, let’s keep it positive and focus on how to get moving in the right direction.

First thing that needs to be done is to keep it real with yourself.  Take a good look in the mirror and decide what you really want.

Do you really want better health?

I would imagine so.  We all do.

Are you willing to WORK for it?

I mean really work. Not for show. Really work on yourself physically, mentally and spiritually.  This requires a discipline that keeps you in line and on track when no one else is looking. These are the times that the real changes occur.

What’s your goal?

Is it to kick the meds, normalize your levels, get rid of pain, drop some weight, do all you can to elongate this one shot at life?  Be clear on your goal as this will serve as your motivation to start and stick with it, especially early on in the process.

And be clear, this is a process. A marathon and not a sprint.  Living like no one else now so later on you can live; no, thrive like no one else.  Although drastic results are experienced by some early on, this is no quick fix. The “quick fix” mentality has got us in this mess to begin with by way of pill-popping per symptom and never really investigating or attempting to remedy why the symptom emerged in the first place.

Once you have your goal, investigate the means to achieving it.  What needs to be done and in what fashion in order not only achieve but sustain the achievement?

When it comes to healthcare, 90% of the time we are talking about lifestyle changes. Breaking the routine or the accustomed norms. This is where the “keeping it real” with yourself part comes into play.

Is your goal and the means by which to achieve that goal worth more to you than coming out of your comfort zone and breaking the habit?

Is it worth investing the time to plan and prep meals for the week ahead?

Will you follow through and set the alarm earlier or skip that 60 minutes of TV time in order to get that workout in?

Keep it real now. Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Although objectively speaking they do, ultimately this comes down to subjective perspective.

If you find that you are tired of the current state of affairs in your own life and you’ve decided enough is enough, the next step is to formulate a realistic, practical plan.  I find this to be another major stumbling block for people.  A sense of overwhelm sets in along with analyzation paralyzation.

The trick here is to get with your trusted healthcare provider and come up with a plan together.  Never be afraid to start small, as any change, any momentum in the right direction is better than sitting idle.  While sustained sweeping changes across the board would be ideal, studies show longer lasting changes occur more often as a product of smaller changes, cultivation over time.

A perfect example of this is my own personal anatomy of a “cheat meal.” This is that meal that diverges from the norm, an indulgence if you will. (In order to have a cheat meal you need to be sticking to clean eating for 80% of your meals or better.)

Through years of cultivation, the cheat meals have evolved from pizza and ice cream to a meal with gluten free rice, or a smoothie with organic peanut butter and heavy fruit. The latest “cheat” dessert has become a bowl of chia seeds with nuts, fruit, peanut butter and chocolate almond milk.

I say all this not to induce hunger, but to illustrate where you can wind up if you simply get started.  Make a change here and a change there. Implement another one as you learn more.  Once you get that ball rolling down the hill, it can be a powerful thing.

The other initial hurdle is that it is never a good time. Well, when it comes to core lifestyle changes there really never is an ideal time.

Again, they idea is to simply bite the bullet and get rolling.  In most cases it doesn’t have to be all or nothing all the time. Just do it.  Constantly talking the talk, while constantly finding excuses will leave you wondering where the time went and how on Earth things got so bad.

Believe in the power of lifestyle changes.  Resolution of every issue does not have to be another drug.  Every issue should not be blamed on genetics, making us all helpless victims.  Embrace the empowerment behind epigenetics and realize that lifestyle choices play a significant role as to whether or not certain genetic traits are expressed.  We’re talking about everything here from hair loss to cancer and auto immune diseases.

One shot.

One body.

That’s all we get.

The time is now to respect this opportunity and treat your body right.  Pick somewhere and get started today.  If you would like assistance on this journey, call us at anytime.  As we continue our own journey, we would love to be a part of yours.

Are Injections Your Best Option For Pain?

One of the more common modes of musculoskeletal pain treatment these days is that of an injection.  While various variations and alterations are made regarding the exact content and site of injection, in the majority of cases the basic formula remains the same.

There are two main components to an injection.  First we have the corticosteroid in which cortisone is commonly utilized.  The role of the steroid is to aggressively attenuate inflammation by dampening the immune system.  When you are inflamed, you will usually be feeling some level of pain or discomfort as the chemical mediators involved in the inflammatory process stimulate the pain pathways of your nervous system, and thus the perception of pain is experienced.

While this may effectively address a compartmentalized target, it does so at the expense of the rest of the body.  Inflammation is a main and necessary component of the immune system.  A steroid dampens the immune system, lessening the inflammation, but also compromising  overall immune function which is kind of important.

The widespread effects of steroids are seen when they are utilized as a method of control for an autoimmune condition.  In an autoimmune disease, the immune system has become imbalanced and has turned against the body that houses it, causing tissue destruction.  Patients who find themselves in this predicament often find relief with the use of corticosteroids as it knocks the entire immune system down a level, thus temporarily lessening the self destruction (rather than rebalancing the immune system, addressing the root of the dysfunction).

Some other side effects of corticosteroid injections include risk of infection, hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar), peripheral nerve damage (median nerve commonly injured in carpal tunnel injections) adrenal insufficiency (adding dysfunction to the commonly over worked “stress glands), immunosuppression, osteoporosis, and actual TENDON RUPTURE.

The tendon element can get dicey, as injections are now commonly utilized for such a wide range of sport type injuries including sprains and strains, bursitis, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, etc.  The logic behind aiming an injected dose of a corticosteroid at what is presumed to be a tendon issue comes into question when we discover the tendon doesn’t actually succumb to inflammation.

The term tendonitis (meaning inflammation of the tendon) is actually a misnomer due to the lack of inflammation. The proper term for the reduced mobility, strength and discomfort originating in the tendon is actually tendinosis but many clinicians (present company included) continue to use the outdated, falsely descriptive term.

As we explained above, the therapeutic property of the corticosteroid intended to be utilized in this instance is that of an anti-inflammatory agent.  If the tendon is incapable of becoming inflamed this is a poorly misguided effort.  Additionally, studies have shown that injections weaken the tendon and can actually lead to eventual  rupture.

The other commonly used component of these injections is a local anesthetic like lidocaine.  This provides immediate relief to the area as the pain signals are silenced by this chemical agent.

The dangerous aspect of using this or any numbing, pain blocking agent is that it puts a gag on the body as it tries to convey the idea that something isn’t right.  The underlying dysfunction persists, but miraculously you feel fine.  This creates a false sense of security and can lead to doing too much, too soon causing re-injury, escalation of the injury or a new injury.

Injections for common musculoskeletal injuries have become so popular due to our constant demand for the quick, easy fix.  The inflammation; the pain; they came about for a reason.  Something isn’t right in the way we move, our strength, stability or mobility and it has manifested in the irritation of a particular and tissue and now you and your potentially reduced training load.

If you want to be in this thing for the long haul, capture this opportunity to discover the breakdown, remedy the issue, and make your parts happy (and quiet) again.  As annoying, nagging, uncomfortable, disruptive, (insert adjective) as pain can be, it truly is a gift from the body letting you know to knock it off or make a change.  Simply silencing this signal may get you through temporarily.  It may even provide lasting relief.

However, it may not. It may actually leave you right where you started or worse.  The alternative can be more time consuming.  The alternative may take a little trial and error to find a unique to you treatment program, rather than a one size fits all remedy.  The alternative may involve looking beyond an injection site for pain and addressing the whole person and kinematic chain.

To me this non-invasive approach logically makes more sense as the primary mode of intervention.  If it does to you as well, and you’d like to give it a shot before getting a shot, we are ready and waiting to collaborate with you.

 

REFERENCES

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2084363/

http://www.m.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/cortisone-injection-soft-tissues-joints

Lab Tests: What Constitutes “Normal?”

Are you one of the many Americans feeling “off,” yet the blood work ordered by your doctor reflects “normal” ranges?  This can be a maddening predicament fueling a seemingly endless journey down the rabbit hole.

An explanation for this all too common phenomenon can be found by probing where exactly “normal” comes from.  The “normal” as well as the pathological ranges for your blood work and other labs are based upon the averages attained by all the people tested at that lab over the past year.

This means your numbers are being measured up against a segment of the population who we can assume were having health issues that led them to the lab in the first place.  It means you are being compared to a portion of the population which accepts things like fatigue, aches and pains, digestive issues, insomnia, hot flashes, etc. as a “normal” part of life.  They have to because they were told by their healthcare provider that their numbers were within “normal” ranges.  Ranges that were determined by people just like them, similar ailments and all.

While these ranges can be useful in labeling a definitive presence of a particular pathology, they do little for the assertive, concerned patient who knows something is wrong, but has not met the quantitative criteria for disease and traditional allopathic assistance.  Which in some cases isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Many times answers and thus long awaited relief can be found by looking at labs through the eyes of functional medicine.  This consists of narrower ranges of “normalcy” based upon levels that constitute energy, alertness, happiness; overall health, rather than stacked up against all the sick people in your region.

Uncovering and addressing an issue using functional parameters, before it reaches the outlying pathological ranges leaves the door open to engage the issue intelligently, naturally, and thoroughly, rather than with a knee jerk reaction filled with a lifetime laundry list of pharmaceutical dependency and donations.

Same Procedure, New Perspective.

Investigatory lab work is done to analyze various aspects of our complex matrix.  This provides us with tangible markers and their levels.  We can test pre, during and post treatment to measure one aspect of progress.  The difference is we are looking for favorable or better yet optimal levels, rather than “normal.”

I ask again, in a society where pain, obesity, diabetes and a fully stocked medicine cabinet is considered the norm; who the hell wants to be “normal?”

If you’ve been frustrated by “normal” labs while mysterious symptoms remain or if the afore described approach of functional medicine appeals to you, feel free to give us a call (321-848-0987).  As always, we are here to help.

Supplement Series: The Good Fats

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ESSENTIAL SUPPLEMENT OF THE MONTH

OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS (aka Fish Oil)

  • Literally thousands of studies have demonstrated that a deficiency in Omega 3s can contribute to:
    • DEPRESSION
    • MEMORY and CONCENTRATION PROBLEM
    • HEIGHTENED RISK OF ALZHEIMER’s:
    • Our brains are 60% fat, and require an adequate source of the Omega 3 fatty acids: DHA in order to function properly.
    • WEIGHT GAIN
    • CANCER
    • HEART DISEASE
    • ALLERGIES
    • ARTHRITIS
    • DIABETES
    • INFLAMMATION (pain, swelling, etc.)
    • ATHEROSCLEROSIS and BLOOD CLOTS

Ideal to have 1:1 ratio of Omega 3: Omega 6 for better HEALTH and LONGEVITY.

Unfortunately due to our lifestyles and dietary choices, the ratio favors Omega 6s, which tilts the scale in favor of a PRO-INFLAMMATORY environment and all of the conditions listed above.

Food sources of Omega 3s are inferior due to toxic accumulations in wild fish, the pro-inflammatory Omega 6 rich diet fed to farmed fish, and the additional step required to convert the ALA found in plants (flax, chia, hemp, etc.) to the desired Omega 3s (EPA and DHA).

That’s why REGULAR SUPPLEMENTATION with a good source of OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDs is imperative to HEALTH, WELLNESS and LONGEVITY.   

At Clarke Chiropractic and Wellness we encourage all to obtain our nutrients from whole food sources.  However, we also recognize a few supplements that appear to be so beneficial that supplementation may be advantageous.

We carry and recommend that most patients regularly supplement with Omega 3 Fatty Acids.  However, this is always based on the patient’s individual condition and health status.  You should never start or stop any supplements and/or medications without consulting with your trusted healthcare professional first.

If you are interested in confirming whether or not you are a candidate for some Omega 3s or any type of supplements in your life, feel free to give us a call (321-848-0987) and we’ll sift through what you need and don’t need.

Live Life.