Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chiropractic Care: Less Pain or More Health?

What are you hoping to get from your chiropractic care? Less pain? Less tightness? Or more health? More movement? More life? This single distinction best explains why some people opt to benefit from chiropractic care for the rest of their lives. They’re the ones who want more.

But it often doesn’t start that way. Many people begin chiropractic care because they have an ache or a pain they want to quiet. In other words, they start out wanting less. As they learn what chiropractic care is, they discover it could offer more. More of what they really want. Participating in that discovery is one of the greatest joys chiropractors experience.

Some don’t see the difference between a proactive (more) and a reactive (less) approach to their health, preferring to seek care only when they have symptoms. No worries. Everyone shows up at a different place on this journey of self discovery. Chiropractors are merely here to serve, whether they want less or more.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Chiropractic Care Puts Figure Skater Back on Ice

A team of medical specialists including cardiologists, neurologists and spinal experts could not determine what was causing elite figure skater Ashley Wagner's full-body muscle spasms and a racing heartbeat. Wagner's career was in jeopardy until she visited a chiropractic physician. The Doctor of Chiropractic determined that muscle tension in the back of Wagner's neck was pushing a vertebra out of place and squeezing various nerves - effectively causing the body to go haywire.

The Washington Post recently covered Wagner's health ordeal and her struggle to prepare for this year's national championships, where she finished sixth. The full story can be read at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/26/AR2011012603487.html

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Natural Sleep Aids

This is the third in a series of articles about the importance of sleep for your health and well being.

Natural Sleep Aids
Melatonin is naturally produced by the human body. All humans produce melatonin as the main chemical that promotes sleep. Melatonin is available in a supplement form; mixing it with vitamin C seems to offer the best absorption and promote the best night's sleep. Keep in mind that studies suggest taking high doses of melatonin may actually prohibit normal sleep. It is best to start at approximately 1.5 mg per night and then add .5 mg each night, not to exceed 3 mg for a total dose. Individuals who have difficulty remaining asleep will often find success by using a time release melatonin supplement. (Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplement for the first time).

Arginine and orthinine are amino acids that can help you sleep better. Take them in a 2:1 ratio on an empty stomach (no food 30 minutes prior) and with 3-4 ounces of water. Start at 2 grams of arginine and 1 gram of orthinine for the first two nights; then you can double the dosage from there. Most people see their best results when they are between 2 and 4 grams of arginine (1-2 grams of orthinine). Higher doses will be wasted; your body will filter them out in your urine. The effect of these amino acids is to deepen the sleep cycle and therefore promote more natural production of human growth hormone.

Tryptophan. Your body uses the amino acid L-tryptophan to make serotonin, the main chemical that helps you sleep. Adrenaline and tryptophan are antagonists to each other, so lower levels of one will normally result in higher levels of the other. Never mix tryptophan and melatonin; use them separately for best effectiveness. The typical dosage of tryptophan is 500 mg, 30 minutes prior to bed on an empty stomach. A handful of shelled sunflower nuts has approximately 500 mg of L-tryptophan. Turkey is also very high in L-tryptophan and works very effectively to promote sleep, as demonstrated by your relatives every Thanksgiving holiday.

Vitamin B. Here is a simple one to try first: Take a B complex with your last meal of the day. B vitamins promote normal nerve function and relaxation, which in turn promotes normal, deeper sleep.

Good sleep is one of the most underappreciated contributors to good health, even though the connection between the two is abundantly clear. Are you getting enough sleep? Remember, it goes way beyond whether you'll be sluggish the next day; a poor night's sleep can affect your health in countless ways, from the psychological to the physical. Discuss these helpful hints with your doctor and make sure you get the sleep you need every night. It's that important.

Natural Sleep Aids educational information is provided by "to your Health" newsletter, an MPA Media Publication.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In a Rut? Change Up Your Routine.

Rut [ruht]: noun, a fixed or established mode of procedure or course of life, usually dull or unpromising. Does this sound like your life? Are you stuck in a rut, desperate to find a way to break free of your boring routine? Well, it's time to start adding some much-needed spice to your life.

So often we feel helpless and frustrated with the status quo of everyday living. Going through the motions and feeling a lack of control in your life can be disheartening. The good news is that you are in 100 percent total control. By taking responsibility for the decisions you make and the feelings you choose to respond with during any given situation, you hold the key to change.

Rule 1: Change Your Mindset
Many of the things you want to do, but are hesitant to do, lie just outside your comfort zone. We grow when we feel uncomfortable and challenged. The next time you are in a situation in which you feel overwhelmed, anxious, angry, irritated or experience negative emotions, take back control of how you feel. Do not fall into the trap of instantly reacting to situations in your life; begin responding.

Rule 2: Feed Fitness
The mind-body connection is undeniable. How you feel is directly related to how well you take care of your body. It does not take much effort to make a positive impact on your body.

If you are not currently exercising, check out a local fitness club. The very act of joining and spending just 30 minutes or so four times a week, investing in yourself, will suppress that rut. If you are exercising on a regular basis, change up your routine by doing exercises you have never done before.

Rule 3: Explore New Ideas
Do you have a hobby you are passionate about? Would you like to share that passion with others? Do you want to start a new hobby? Then do it. For example, visit Meetup.com, a wonderful Web site where you can find like-minded individuals who are passionate about the things you love.

One of the most exciting parts about Meetup is that you can venture out into hobbies, topics or subjects that you may have been interested in learning more about, but did not know where to begin. This is an opportunity to meet new people and form friendships with people who share common interests.

Rule 4: Control the Clock
Change your normal routine of going to bed and waking up. Choose to stay up longer or wake up earlier to invest time in yourself. Take some much needed me time, free from interruptions of family, friends, roommates, television and the overall white noise of daily living. Take this opportunity to read a good book, listen to music, write in a journal, focus on your goals and map out your activities for the day.

This is a time period with no pressure, deadlines, anxiety, interference from anything or anyone. Feeling a sense of control over our lives fosters self-empowerment, self-reliance and self-confidence. What better way to control your life than by controlling your time?

Rule 5: Make Your Own Map
Normal routines get ingrained in your brain, to the point that every stop and turn is mindless. This is the epitome of ritual rut! You go from home to work and then work to home, making ceremonial stops along the way. How about changing up that boredom and choosing an alternate route?

Instead take a different highway, choose a more scenic route, go straight instead of turning, be creative and become your own GPS.

Rule 6: Just Say Yes
Whenever you feel like saying "no" to something or someone, just decide to say yes! When we say no, it is usually because something is pushing us outside of our comfort zone. We tend to pull back into our zone because of an underlying sense of fear.

Face the fear and do it anyway. Let the transformation begin! In most cases, you'll probably say to yourself, I can't believe I almost didn't do that.

Rule 7: Volunteer
The act of volunteering your time, energy, expertise, companionship, friendship and energy to helping others will change you forever! By taking attention off yourself and devoting it to others, you will automatically feel more happiness and less stagnation.

People often feel they have limited time in their own lives and that finding more time for volunteering is impossible. Yes, our lives can certainly be crazy and hectic in this fast-paced society. But if you take the opportunity to really look at how you spend your days, you may find opportunities to replace trivial wasted moments.

Rule 8: Try a Change of Taste
The simple act of changing your food selections can bust your rut. Do you always order the same thing off a menu? The simple act of changing your food selections can bust your rut. Do you always order the same thing off a menu?

Food is an emotional experience. It's how we socialize and foster relationships. Change up your menu at work and home. Choose different foods for breakfast and dinner. If you go out to lunch with colleagues at work, pick a different venue every few days.

If you want to make over your life, start with a few little changes and work your way to bigger ones. A primary reason people fail in their quest for lasting change is that they alter too many things at once. In their zest for getting out of a rut, they alter everything and it ends up being an overload. Slow and steady wins the race. Small adjustments in your routine can have enormous impact on how you feel. Have you ever had a small pebble stuck in your shoe? Did it hurt every time you took a step? To get rid of the pain, you simply take the pebble out of your shoe. Now take control and remove the small pebbles from your life. Small is big.

This article was written by Perry Nickelston, DC, clinical director of the Pain Laser Center in Ramsey, N.J. It was originally published in To Your Health newsletter, an MPA Media Publication.