Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Built to Last

Just like the well-known, best-selling American truck, your body is built to last. But if it's built to last, why do so many people have serious problems with their bodies? If a human body is built to last, why does it seem to break down so easily?

The pharmaceutical industry earns billions of dollars each year, profiting from the tendency of so many people to suffer from debilitating disease. For example, osteoporosis affects more than 10 million women in the United States. The disorder involves loss of bone mass and may lead to fractures of the hip and lumbar vertebras, both of which may have severe consequences. In June 2010 a new drug was approved by the FDA to help prevent such fractures in postmenopausal women.
It is estimated that 55% of all Americans older than age 50 either have low bone mass or have lost sufficient bone mass to have received a diagnosis of osteoporosis.1 But if our bodies are built to last, why is the prevalence of osteoporosis so high? It doesn't make sense that our internal systems are simply designed to fail.

It is much more likely that our bodies are designed to withstand a tremendous amount of wear and tear. Human bodies are self-healing, self-renewing, and self-replicating machines. A human cell's most basic survival systems are based on deep complexity. Yet once a woman reaches menopause she joins a group of individuals at risk for losing a significant amount of bone mass and developing osteoporosis. What is wrong with this picture?

The hidden factors, revealed only upon close analysis and understanding, relate to lifestyle - what it is that we're doing with our bodies. If your driving style consists of flooring the accelerator and alternately slamming on the brakes, you'll quickly burn out the brake lines and ruin the tires of your fine built-to-last truck. If you rarely change the oil and oil filter your truck's performance will seriously degrade. If you ignore traffic signals and highway signs you'll probably crash your vehicle.

Defective care and maintenance and dangerous driving will drastically shorten the useful lifespan of your truck. The truck may be built-to-last but you've effectively voided the warranty. The day will quickly come, much sooner than anticipated, that you'll be forced to junk your truck.

This extended metaphor is exactly analogous to how we live our lives. Much recent research demonstrates that lifestyle is responsible for a large proportion of all cases of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. For example, 82% of coronary deaths in women may be related to individual health behaviors.2 The main strategy to prevent loss of bone mass and osteoporosis is to engage in regular vigorous, weight-bearing exercise.

From a broader perspective, the main strategy to preventing disease in general is to eat a healthy, diverse diet, do vigorous exercise regularly, get sufficient rest, and ongoingly engage in rewarding, fulfilling activities with family and friends. Our bodies are built to last. How long they last, to a large extent, is up to us.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Luck Of The Draw

Some people do all the right things and still develop serious health problems. Others flaunt their bad habits and are able to live long lives, dying peacefully in their sleep at the age of 95. For example, high blood pressure (hypertension, HTN) is a common chronic disease in the United States. With HTN a person's heart has to work much harder, all the time, to pump the blood needed by the rest of the body. HTN is associated with heart attacks and stroke, and hypertensive heart disease is a leading cause of death.

HTN is often described as a lifestyle disease. Those who are overweight and/or obese (this characterizes two-thirds of American adults) are at increased risk for HTN, as are persons with diabetes. People who don't exercise regularly are more likely to develop high blood pressure, as are those who smoke cigarettes. In fact, overweight/obesity, lack of exercise, and tobacco use are the top three causes of HTN.

Obviously, achieving an average weight, exercising regularly, and stopping smoking (or never starting) are three main lifestyle actions related to decreasing one's risk of developing HTN. But some people who are slim, have exercised all their lives, and do not smoke may still develop high blood pressure. In such a case, HTN is termed "essential hypertension". The person has a very healthy lifestyle, there are no risk factors for HTN, and still they become hypertensive. That is the luck of the draw, otherwise known as a genetic predisposition to this disease.

In a contrasting example, a few people may smoke two packs of cigarettes a day since age 15, drink a quart of gin every few days, and never get really sick. They don't develop lung cancer or liver cancer and have no problems with HTN or heart disease, and live lives that fly in the face of all received wisdom in the field of public health. They continue to thrive well into their 80s and beyond and love to tell their well-meaning friends and relatives, "I've never been sick a day in my life" while lighting up another cigarette. Such persons are described by epidemiologists as outliers, those whose health parameters represent an outlying 2.5% or less of the standard values. Their luck of the draw lies in possessing an indestructible constitution.

Of course the exceptions only prove the rule. Their existence does not suggest that rules for good health should not be observed. Regular vigorous exercise and a healthful diet containing plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables are important for all of us, young and old. Chiropractic care is an important component of the lifestyle mix. Chiropractic care helps people, young and old, achieve the best health possible. This natural form of health care helps take the "luck" out of the equation. We can make our own luck and chiropractic helps us do that in the arena of health and well-being.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Benefits Of Chiropractic Care

Health is not merely the absence of disease. The body has an innate intelligence that runs a series of complex systems that rely on proper balance and coordination in order to function correctly.
Wellness requires you to be a proactive agent for your body. You need to treat it well and not wait until you hurt before you decide to take care of it. As we've said before health is not merely the absence of disease any more than wealth is an absence of poverty. Let’s remember health is not simply “feeling fine,” for we know that problems may progress for years without causing any symptoms whatsoever. As you know by now, heart disease for example, often develops unnoticed for many years before it strikes: in fact, the first symptom of heart disease that many people experience is a heart attack or death.

Now let us be clear that we are not under the illusion that everyone who creates a wellness lifestyle will be immune from pain, sickness, and disease. There are many people who do everything right and still get sick and die. Some will argue that there are many people who do everything wrong and live long, seemingly healthy lives. However, since we have no way to predict who is who, we have to do our very best to reduce our risk and promote our health.

Over the years in private practice, we have seen how neglecting their health has drained people of thousands of dollars, sometimes to the point of bankruptcy. We have seen people who have saved up and waited their entire lives to take a dream trip or to send their kids to college, whose savings and dreams were siphoned away to pay for health care expenses. We have seen people with work injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or neck/back pain who have been unable to work, unable to drive, and even unable to sleep without pain. We have seen family members whose entire lives become dominated by the necessity to care for another family member who is sick or in pain. The effects of long-term illness or disability on a family can be devastating; in many cases, it happens to families who are already over-stressed, under-loved, and emotionally maxed out.

On the other hand, We have seen people who have been unemployed due to their pain or health condition choose to adopt new healthy habits: within a short period of time they are back at work making money, taking care of themselves and their families again, and are able to put away savings for their retirement.

We have heard every excuse you can imagine as to why people believe they can’t afford the time or money to invest in their health. But the truth is that you must invest in your health today, or disease may bankrupt you in every way later. If you don’t have the time and money to improve your health while you feel good, what makes you think you will have the time and money to improve your health once you have lost it? As Anthony Robbins once said, "you can make time for wellness now or you can make time for sickness later." The choice is yours.

With regards to your wellness, the three main ideas that we really want to drive home . . .

Health is not merely the absence of disease.
The body has an innate intelligence that runs a series of complex systems that rely on proper balance and coordination in order to function correctly.
By living a wellness lifestyle you can enrich your life with vibrant health.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

If You Suffer From Neck Pain........

Do you suffer from neck pain? If you do, you’re not alone. Nearly 75 percent of American adults will suffer from neck pain at some point in their lives. And, looking at our anatomy, it’s no wonder so many of us do. Though having your head perched on top of your spine gives you a great view of your environment, the set-up is rather like propping a bowling ball atop a tower of blocks. The price? Our necks are prone to injury of the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. But by paying attention to our posture, doing regular stretching and strengthening exercises, and visiting our chiropractors, we can help keep our necks pain-free.

Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain ranges from mild (annoying and distracting) to severe (incapacitating). Poor posture during normal, everyday activities such as watching TV, using a computer, reading a book, or talking on the phone can easily trigger minor neck pain. TV watching can be particularly bad for the neck if you’re lying on a couch, with your head propped at an awkward angle for a prolonged period of time. Holding the phone between the jaw and shoulder (rather than in your hand), reading at a desk or table with your head hung over a book, or working with a computer monitor below eye level can also be particularly stressful for the neck. By resting and making efforts not to repeat the offending stresses on the neck, minor neck pain usually disappears on its own within a day or so.

Neck pain that won’t go away or keeps coming back can signal a more serious underlying problem. Subluxations or joint restrictions; injuries such as whiplash; diseases like osteoarthritis, meningitis and tumors; congenital malformation; and degeneration (such as that in arthritis) require more than rest. A trained healthcare professional such as a doctor of chiropractic (DC) can help. He or she can determine whether the cause of your neck pain is minor and easily treatable or more serious and requiring more intensive, extended treatment. Then he or she may recommend chiropractic adjustment, massage, natural anti-inflammatory supplements, and/or strengthening and stretching exercises. In some cases, the DC will refer you to a specialist.

Prevention is Key
How can you avoid the need for treatment in the first place? The first step is to take note of your everyday posture. If your job requires a lot of phone use, consider wearing a headset. Do you slouch when you watch TV? Lie on the couch? Choose to sit upright, in a posture-supporting chair. When studying or reading, avoid putting the book or magazine on a flat surface. Instead, consider using a book prop. And, if you notice your computer monitor is below eye level, elevate it by placing it on top of a shelf or tower.

If you experience neck pain that doesn’t abate within 24 hours, seek the advice of a trained healthcare specialist for the appropriate diagnosis and treatment. And remember, because chiropractors specialize in the neuromusculoskeletal system, they are some of the most well-trained healthcare professionals to consult about neck pain.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Mind-Body Connection: How Your Emotions Can Affect Your Health

People who are emotionally healthy are in good control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. They feel good about themselves and have good relationships. They can keep problems in perspective.
Your body responds to the way you think, feel and act. This is often called the “mind/body connection.” When you are stressed, anxious or upset, your body tries to tell you that something isn’t right. For example, high blood pressure or a stomach ulcer might develop after a particularly stressful event, such as the death of a loved one. These are physical manifestations of psychological problems.
Poor emotional health can weaken your body's immune system, making you more likely to get colds and other infections during emotionally difficult times. Also, when you are feeling stressed, anxious or upset, you may not take care of your health as well as you should. You may not feel like exercising, eating nutritious foods or taking medicine that your doctor prescribes. Abuse of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs may also be a sign of poor emotional health.
First, try to recognize your emotions and understand why you are having them. Sorting out the causes of sadness, stress and anxiety in your life can help you manage your emotional health.
Secondly, express your feelings, try to live a balanced life. eat healthy, exercise often, keep a positive view of yourself. Accept change, calm your mind and body with relaxation techniques and most importantly have a good social network to share your feelings and get out and enjoy life with.

For more information about Dr. Jason Peloquin, please visit his website at: www.HandsofGoldChiropractic.om

Subject matter requested by new patient-initial consulation 7/27/10

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gluten Intolerance - What Do I Need to Know?

Approximately 40% of Americans have the genetic potential to become gluten intolerant. More than 1% of Americans have celiac disease. In fact, this percentage may be a low estimate because most physicians are unfamiliar with the signs and symptoms of celiac disease, which can be a “great masquerader”. Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are closely related. After repeated exposure to gluten, a person who is gluten intolerant may develop celiac disease. Gluten is a complex of proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. The human digestive tract cannot break down gluten into its component amino acids, so gluten proteins persist in the gastrointestinal tract until they are excreted.

In susceptible individuals, the gluten proteins may be identified as "foreign" and their immune systems may launch a reaction against these non-self proteins. In such persons, including infants, children, teenagers, and adults, continued exposure to gluten may cause development of signs and symptoms of celiac disease.

Wheat, rye, and barley comprise significant components of the Western diet. Almost all breads are made from one or more of these three grains. Cookies, cakes, bagels, muffins, pizza, and pasta are all gluten-containing foods. Additionally, gluten is found in vitamin pills, shampoo, toothpaste, household cleansers, and even prescription drugs. Wheat-based binders are often used in the manufacturing process of these articles. So gluten is literally everywhere.

A susceptible person's initial immune reaction to gluten persists with continued exposure. Eventually the immune reaction may damage the lining of the person's small intestine, leading to the classic symptoms of celiac disease - abdominal pain, constipation and/or diarrhea, and abdominal bloating. Intestinal damage causes these very unpleasant and debilitating symptoms and may also lead to additional serious diseases. Malnutrition is one of the major consequences of celiac disease.

Importantly, gluten intolerance may be related to a variety of serious disorders. Neuropsychiatric conditions such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and schizophrenia may be associated with underlying gluten intolerance and celiac disease. Arthritic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), and psoriatic arthritis may be related to gluten intolerance. Endocrine conditions including diabetes, hyper- and hypothryroidism, and Addison's disease are often related to gluten intolerance and celiac disease. Infertility and frequent miscarriages may also be related to an underlying condition of gluten intolerance.

The takeaway is this. Gluten intolerance and celiac disease may be an underlying cause of serious medical conditions that have not been treated successfully. The key is considering gluten intolerance as an underlying cause and taking appropriate action. Patient knowledge and increased physician knowledge and awareness are crucial to correctly identifying a hidden problem.

Your family chiropractor is an expert in nutrition and is trained to identify underlying causes of health problems. In addition, chiropractic treatment may help restore more normal and more effective immune system functioning. In cases requiring a holistic, multidisciplinary approach, chiropractic treatment is a crucial component.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Don’t Confuse Being Out of Pain with Being Well

Many of my patients start to miss appointments once they are feeling better. Its my job as a teacher to explain to them the phases of healing before they relapse. Getting back to doing normal motions with tissues and structures that are not 100% will lead to re-injury. Most patients cannot afford to "shut it down" meaning miss work, not pick the kids or groceries etc. That's why maintaining your alignment and sticking to the game-plan pays off in the future.

A doctors recommendation is not based on economics. Multiple treatment therapies build off the one before by retraining the brain to re-energize the area which facilitate healing. It also increases proprioception, which is the brains ability to remember where you are in space. Most therapy treatment plans are based on science. A doctor recommends a specific number of treatments based on research studies, clinical experience and the physiology of the healing tissue. Everyone is different with more or less barriers to overcome.

Pain is the last sensation to show up during a chronic repetitive injury, and the first to go away while healing. Long before there is pain there is dysfunction causing neurological compromise, increased muscle tone along with decreased range of motion. Healing involves first ridding the pain, regaining the lost range of motion, increasing the strength lost and finally retraining the brain to keep a certain muscle tone and to hold unconsciously have control over the very small motions of the effected area.

Next time a doctor or therapist recommends a certain number of therapies, remember this article so you can understand why he or she recommends them. No one can give you a percentage of how much better you can feel, but going with these guidelines, you can expect maximum results.

Hands of Gold CHiropractic

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

YOUR PERSONAL CORPORATION

You are the CEO of your own personal enterprise. In addition to whatever business you might be running or might be in, your personal corporation consists of the value you generate during your time on Earth.

Some persons such as government officials make choices and take actions that obviously affect the lives of many others. For most of us it may seem that we have less scope and reduced impact, but that is not necessarily so. Our choices and actions affect those people closest to us - our family, friends, and colleagues - and their choices and actions affect persons closest to them. An ever-widening series of ripples continues to flow, affecting more and more people, all stemming from the actions we take and the choices we make today. If we haven't recognized this potential and this power, all that's required is raising our gaze to the horizon and widening our field of view.

In order for a corporation - a personal corporation - to be effective it needs to have a sound balance sheet. If there's a lot of red ink it's going to be difficult to be able to provide goods and services. Depletion of resources leads to depletion of energy. We need to provide a steady stream of raw materials so we're able to create new products that are desired in the marketplace.

Our personal corporations require specific raw materials 1,2,3
  • Healthful, nutritious food
  • Regular vigorous exercise
  • Sufficient rest
  • A positive mental attitude

If we're not receiving sufficient amounts of any of these inputs, the debit side of our balance sheet increases. We don't have enough energy to accomplish our daily tasks, let alone do the things that will make our corporation profitable. With sufficient inputs we have energy to spare and our corporation thrives.

What are some outputs of a healthy personal corporation? A healthy, happy family. A creative work environment. Ongoing engagement in rewarding social activities. An ongoing experience of accomplishment. Self-expression. Peace. Joy.

In order for our personal corporation to continue to grow and prosper, it's basic needs must be met. In addition, it's always a good idea to make sure all the parts are working properly. That's where chiropractic care comes in. Just as an accountant reviews the financial health of a corporation, your chiropractor reviews its physical health. She makes "adjustments" wherever and whenever necessary, enabling your personal corporation to continue to evolve.


1Fitzbiggon ML, Beech BM: The role of culture in the context of school-based BMI screening. Pediatrics 124(Suppl 1):S50-S62, 2009
2Maizes V, et al: Integrative medicine and patient-centered care. Explore (NY) 5(5):277-289, 2009
3O'Donnell MP: Definition of health promotion 2.0: embracing passion, enhancing motivation, recognizing dynamic balance, and creating opportunities. Am J Health Promot 24(1):4, 2009




Wednesday, January 13, 2010

THE INNER GAME OF HEALTH

Way back in the 1960s, when everything was brand-new, the Beatles introduced Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to national television audiences in American and the UK. The Maharishi came to the West with the Beatles to introduce a new thing - Transcendental Meditation.

At the time most Westerners were not familiar with meditation in any form. The Maharishi introduced a simple method that has become well-known and popular over the years. Meditation is even more important to our health and well-being in the 21st century than ever before.

It takes a lot to maintain good health these days. Of course, eating a healthy diet - with plenty of fruits and vegetables - and exercising regularly are the cornerstones of good health. Sufficient rest is another key ingredient - most of us require at least seven hours of sleep each night to restore energy and vitality.

There is another essential factor - one that is less well-recognized and easy to overlook. In the early years of the 21st century we all need to find ways to manage our daily levels of stress. If we tell the truth, for most of us, our stress levels are off the charts.

Meditation can be a powerful tool for reducing the impact of stress on our bodies, and for helping us better manage the stress in our lives.1,2 Meditation is simple and straightforward - all that's required is a commitment to making it happen.3

You don't need any special equipment. You don't need incense or candles. You don't even need a mat or a cushion. You can do meditation sitting in a comfortable, straight-backed chair.

There are many methods and ways of practicing meditation. In Transcendental Meditation you silently repeat a simple phrase to yourself. You focus on the phrase, known as a mantra. In Zen meditation, you focus on your breath - not by breathing deeply, but rather as a means to focus your attention. Breathe in, breathe out. Your attention wanders. Notice that, and return your focus to the breath.

Or, you can simply sit quietly. Close the door and turn off your cell phone. Make sure everyone in your home knows this is your alone time. Just sit quietly for ten minutes, allowing yourself to relax. Find a place within yourself on which to focus, and let yourself go. Set aside ten minutes a day. You'll find that you eagerly look forward to this quiet time and that you emerge refreshed and revitalized.

Your chiropractor is an expert in helping people achieve greater levels of health and well-being and will be glad to help you learn about methods of stress reduction that will work for you.