Tag Archives: stroke

Unmasking the “Miracle” of the Chiropractic Adjustment

Quite frequently, you will hear someone speak of traditional chiropractic care as a must.  More specifically, certain individuals can attest to experiencing amelioration of seemingly unrelated issues after receiving an adjustment.  At the very least, those who partake in routine spinal adjustments describe an overall feeling of wellness when sticking to a maintenance program and being adjusted regularly.

But why is this? How does causing a specific cavitation (the “pop” or “crack”) within a spinal joint lead to far reaching systemic benefits?  We know and have discussed some of beneficial consequences an adjustment can have on a neuromusculoskeletal level (https://clarkechiropracticwellness.com/2013/04/30/what-is-an-adjustment/), but how about some concrete research and evidence of the actual chemical consequences somewhat responsible for these unexplained occurrences of healing and well being?

Well, the studies are out there, and it is truly fascinating and empowering stuff if you are interested in the all natural route to enhancing your quality and quantity of life.  The follow chemicals (neuropeptides) are just two of the many that have been shown to be effected by a chiropractic adjustment; with levels being measured pre and post adjustment.

Neurotensin is a chemical in our bodies that is shown to be reduced in unmediated schizophrenics.  In fact many antipsychotic drugs (oft chalk full of unfavorable side efffects) are designed to elevate neurotensin levels.  This elevation in neurotensin, as seen  in the blood after a chiropractic adjustment of the cervical (neck) or thoracic (upper torso) spine, acts as a psychostimulant.

Decreased levels of neurotensin has also been linked to:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Gastrointestinal function
  • Cardiac function
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Eating disorders
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Stroke
  • Inflammation
  • Cancer of the:
    • Colon
    • Lungs
    • Ovaries
    • Pancreas
    • Prostate
    • Bones
    • Brain

Oxytocin is another neuropeptide that increases after a chiropractic adjustment, specifically of the cervical spine, and plays a crucial role as an endorphin (endogenously produced opioid), which adds further explanation to the pain killing effects experienced through an adjustment.

Most are familiar with the role of oxytocin in promoting lactation and uterine contractions, as a synthetic form is often administered to a mother to help facilitate the birthing process.  With a spinal manipulation of the cervical spine prompting a natural boost in oxytocin levels, could we soon see those forward thinking and open minded mothers to be receiving a cervical adjustment immediately prior to, our even during the birthing process?

In addition to pain modulation and the birthing process, oxytocin is also know to play an integral role in:

  • Memory
  • Bonding
  • Behavior (sexual, social, eating, etc.)
  • Learning
  • Anxiety
  • Sugar metabolism

These correlations are by no means being implicated as the primary drivers or causative factors of each of the conditions and traits mentioned.  However, an undeniable link between the blood levels of chemicals like neurotensin and oxytocin and these issues does indeed exist, and many times it is the chemical manipulation of this link that pharmaceutical companies target.  However, as we know and have stated, these drugs are rarely free of side effects.

We know there is a direct link to a chiropractic adjustment and an increase in these neuropeptides which can help explain why the benefit reaches such a larger scale than simply addressing neck pain or headache.  When it comes to certain, powerful neuropeptides, you are intentionally altering your chemical physiology in a beneficial way.

Sounds like an intelligent addition to the natural, holistic approach to piecing together the wellness puzzle, and living the truly good life.

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Side Effect Free Options to NSAIDs

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.

Some Thoughts on Depression, Pain and Stroke

We’ll take it easy on you with this week’s post as we head into another weekend.  Sometimes I have to repeatedly re-read some of the facts and figures during my constant investigation of the ever growing and changing research.  These are a few of those “double take” paragraphs that I have compiled and felt compelled to share.  Take it in, embrace the empowerment and make the necessary changes.

DEPRESSION – INFLAMMATORY DIET LINK

For 12 years, researchers tracked the diet habits and health outcomes of more than 43,000 women — none of whom had depression at the start of the study period. Here’s what they found: Women who sipped soft drinks, ate fatty red meat, or consumed refined grains (like pasta, white bread, crackers, or chips) daily were 29 to 41% more likely to be diagnosed or treated for depression than those who stuck to a healthier diet. Blood tests revealed that women who ate the above foods also tested significantly higher for three biomarkers of inflammation.

http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/certain-foods-linked-inflammation-and-depression?cm_mmc=MSN-_-PVN_News-_-Pass%20The%20Pasta–And%20The%20Prozac-_-Pass%20The%20Pasta–And%20The%20Prozac%20SL

GOT PAIN?  PATIENT BEWARE

Back pain accounts for more than $100 billion in annual U.S. healthcare costs and is the second leading cause of physician visits and hospitalizations.

What Happens When Physicians Don’t Know How to Treat Pain?

They resort to the only treatment they know: prescription drugs to treat inflammation, arthritis, back pain, stress, and autoimmunity. And now we’re facing another epidemic on top of chronic pain: prescription drug abuse.

The latter has been called the fastest-growing drug problem in the US by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as the number of deaths from opioid painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone rose nearly four-fold between 1999 and 2009.  Pain medications were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008.

The overdoses now kill more people than cocaine and heroin combined. As USA Today recently reported, more US states are now taking action to try and stop this growing problem.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/10/states-prescription-drug-painkiller-abuse/2961389/

STROKE: MORE EVIDENCE TO GET UP, MOVE AND NOT BE A STATISTIC

The American Heart Association reports 800,000 Americans suffer from stroke each year. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the US and the fourth leading cause of death. Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable, because for the most part, strokes are the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Recent research published in the journal Stroke found that, if you’re inactive, you have a 20 percent higher risk for having a stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack) than people who exercise enough to break a sweat at least four times a week.

The study involved more than 27,000 Americans for an average of 5.7 years, male and female, Caucasian and African-American.  It included a larger proportion of people from the “Stroke Belt” states, where stroke rates are higher (Virginia, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, and Alabama).

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23868271?dopt=Abstract

Get out there and move! Have a great weekend.

5 More Reasons to Drop that Weight

In a culture obsessed with image and appearance, it’s no wonder that the weight loss industry continues to reign supreme.  We are inundated with images of slim supermodels, shredded athletes, and air-brushed celebrities creating an often unrealistic and unattainable perception of the ideal.

While this has the potential to lead to frustration and unhealthy habits, on the other hand it can serve as motivation to drop that extra baggage.  You see in a society fixated on superficial aesthetics, unfortunately, health winds up taking a back seat.  If striving to fit into that bathing suit can serve as a catalyst for those slowly dying due to the extra baggage to take steps toward a healthier life, then so be it.  (Call that your alkalizing lemonade out of organic lemons or your colloidal silver lining.)  Provided of course, it is done in a healthy and controlled manner.  No fad diets or quick fixes here.

The truth of the matter is the dangers of living life overweight or obese stretch way beyond the outward appearance.  Here are 5 more hazards you may or may not have already been aware of that will hopefully spark you or someone you love to wake up and change before it’s too late.

In order to appreciate these hazards, it needs to be acknowledged that a fat cell is not a benign cell, but rather an endocrine cell; that is, a cell that secretes hormones classified as adipokines.  Hormones are secreted throughout our bodies to serve as communicators and messengers in carrying out various tasks and functions.  This is vital for life, but when not functioning correctly, can be severely detrimental to our health.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

I know we’ve all heard being overweight can lead to increased blood pressure, but why?  Other than the fact that the body needs to work harder to do everything due to the surplus of lbs., fat cells (aka as adipocytes) actually secrete a hormone called angiotensin.  Release of this hormone normally occurs due to the kidney to control blood pressure, but an excess of fat cells leads to an excess of angiotensin, leading to high blood pressure and all the well documented risks that come along with that.

INCREASED INSULIN RESISTANCE

Another hormone secreted by fat cells is called resistin.  This hormone causes insulin resistance, which is one of the key factors involved with type II diabetes.  Mounting research implicates the fat cell’s release of resistin as the linking factor between obesity and diabetes.  Insulin resistance also is involved in hypertension and atherosclerosis.

INCREASED INFLAMMATION

You can’t read anything health related these days without seeing the word inflammation being named as the common denominator involved with virtually all disease processes.  So what do you think the fat cells have the ability to secrete?  You guessed it, numerous inflammatory mediators (i.e. PGE, TNF, IL-6) that increase pain and cause internal destruction.

INCREASED RISK FOR BLOOD CLOTS & STROKE

The hits just keep on coming here.  Fat cells release something called plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1).  This is a protein that essentially diminishes the body’s natural ability to breakdown clots, and enable continuous blood flow.  Too much PAI-1 and you’re prone for sluggish circulation, which can culminate in clots and stroke.  This poor circulation can also lead to swelling and other symptoms such as pain, numbness and tingling due to the lack of blood flow to our peripheral nerves.

This protein is also produced in the cells that line our blood vessels (endothelial cells).  It is normal and quite necessary for these hormones to be present in our bodies.  The main issue here is with excess fat cells comes excess presence of these hormones, leading to a loss of balance (homeostasis) and subsequent pathology.

ESTROGEN DOMINANCE

The last issue we will touch on here is the fact that fat cells produce estrogen.  The more fat cells you have, the more estrogen will be produced.  Male breast cancer continues to rise congruently with obesity.  An overweight male taking part in testosterone therapy is simply providing the fat cells more fuel to convert into estrogen and all the other issues correlated with elevated estrogen levels (infertility, erectile dysfunction, enlarged prostate, cancer, etc.)  Excess estrogen in females can also lead to various forms of cancer, hair loss, hypothyroidism and uterine fibroids.

Obviously the consequences of carrying excess fat extend way beyond these mentioned, but add these to the continuously enlarging list.  I also realize that losing weight is exponentially more difficult than simply saying the words and the degree of difficulty varies on an individual basis.  However, research, evidence and history have shown us that it can be done.

If you’ve tried time and time again to no avail, and are somewhat lost at this point, but willing to truly sacrifice today in order to invest in the future, consult a healthcare professional.  If you’d like to begin your path in the right direction with a nutritional consult, feel free to contact me at anytime (contact information at the top of the page to the right).

A consistent commitment to exercise and a diet overhaul can be life changing and in many cases, saving.  Add the assistance of someone trained to identify functional imbalances that may be impeding your progress, and some serious momentum in the right direction can be attained.  We only get one shot down here and one body to carry us through the journey.  Respect life and make the investment in your future today.

REFERENCES

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23839524

http://www.abcam.com/index.html?pageconfig=resource&rid=12300&pid=10694

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14671216

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15049878

http://www.diabetesdaily.com/wiki/Resistin

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11201732

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11450024

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23011535