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Headaches

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Headaches

Headaches can be quite unforgiving and they tend to range from mild annoyance to tossing your cookies in a dark bathroom.

Either way, they are no fun and often times affect how you go about your typical day. It has been estimated that roughly 57 billion dollars are spent annually in the U.S. managing headaches along with lost productivity. This is a sizable chunk of change for any economy.

If the dollar amount didn’t give it away, please know that headaches are pretty common. This, however, does not make them normal.

Symptoms

Face pain, vertigo, sinus pressure, auras, sound and light sensitivity, eye pain and dizziness can all be associated with headaches. While it is quite wonderful to rid yourself of these symptoms, it is even better for your body and more cost effective in the long run to eliminate the cause.

There are a plethora of reasons why one might be getting headaches, however I can assure you it is not from a Motrin, Excedrin or Aleve deficiency. These can certainly help from time to time, but to make it a lifestyle would likely be considered unwise.

Acetaminophen (and other NSAID's), the active ingredient in most headache drugs, can potentially have some nasty side effects that include: swelling of the tongue, insomnia, nausea, fever, jaundice, nervousness, irritability, headaches (go figure) and in severe cases a skin rash that can lead to death.   

Besides this interesting yet non-exclusive list, acetaminophen basically wreaks havoc on your liver. Fortunately for most of us our livers rebuild themselves quite quickly (30-40 days under good conditions).

Acetaminophen depletes the liver of its store of glutathione. This wouldn’t be a big deal except for the small fact this plays a huge role in immune function, free radical oxidation (anti-oxidant) and tissue repair (especially important if you’re already under a lot of stress or place a high physical demand on your body). 

If you currently suffer from headaches, here are a few of the usual suspects to take into consideration.

Food additives- If you currently consume one or more of these products, I’d strongly recommend you discontinue use. Do this for about 30 days. If the headaches persist, chances are there is a structural issue that needs corrected through chiropractic care, but I digress.

MSG- Monosodium glutamate, also known as yeast extract, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed protein, soy protein isolate, or simply “natural flavoring.” If anything in your cupboard has these words on it, then you can bank on it having MSG. There are actually many more names this goes by. You can find a decent source of this information here, http://www.livestrong.com/article/377482-other-names-for-msg-or-monosodium-glutamate/

Artificial sweeteners- This list includes basically any product that states sugar free and or low fat/ no fat. Some of these “foods” include diet soda, sugar free gum, sugar free juice, low calorie protein shakes, low fat yogurt, low fat pudding, low fat ice cream etc.

Water- Another possible source of your headaches could be that you are chronically dehydrated! Simple enough; drink more water!

Hormone Imbalance- For women, often times a hormonal imbalance can be the cause of headaches and they typically worsen, usually in the form of a migraine during menstruation, or PMS.

Stress- This one is a biggie, not simply because of the headaches they cause, but the overall health of an organism, especially when that organism is you. Reduce stress and simplify your life any and every opportunity you get. Your longevity depends on it.

Subluxation- There is literally study after study providing details on the overall effectiveness of upper cervical chiropractic and the management of headaches of all types; migraines (classic and common), cluster headaches, tension type and sinus headaches.

Out of the 4 case studies I read, covering 622 individual patients suffering from chronic benign headaches, 497 responded favorably to chiropractic care. Additionally, a randomized control trial observed chiropractic care consistently outperformed the medications, particularly over the long term.

Keep in mind, there a lot of things that can cause headaches. This list is not intended to self-diagnose or be all-inclusive but rather a starting point for someone who consistently deals with headaches.

As always, remember to stay hopeful and positive. There are always options out there that you have yet to explore! Go to work at it and find out what works for you.

In Health,

Dr. Andrew R. Burns

 

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Back Pain

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Back Pain

Back Pain

I have been dreading the thought of writing about this topic. Why, I am not sure. I think it could have something to do with the reaction I get from people when they find out I am a chiropractor, which usually goes something like “Oh, you’re a chiropractor huh!” Then they immediately double over and ask me to “crack” their back because it hurts soooo bad. Insert sigh emoji.

The truth is many folks would never know the whole body health benefits of chiropractic if it wasn’t for back pain so I shouldn’t bad mouth it too much.

Not to mention, back pain is a huge issue here in the states. In fact, we pay out to the tune of nearly 86 billion per year on this one issue alone and create a huge number of dependent drug users.

The bad news for someone with back pain is that they have pain.

The good news for someone with back pain is that they have pain.

What I mean by this is that pain only turns on when your body is trying to tell you something. The really bad news would be if you completely ignore it.

So let’s say you’re dealing with back pain, be it low back, mid back, or in the neck. You have some choices on what you can do.

First option: Do nothing at all. Let it fester and hope it goes away. By choosing this option you allow your nervous system to suffer. You potentially remain in pain for a long time and this is how something acute becomes something chronic. No bueno.

Second option: You see a pain doctor. They give you steroidal injections into the site of the pain and hope by the time the injection wears off your body will have righted the ship, or, they put you on some type of pain medications to take daily. If you want a synergistic effect, maybe they’ll even throw in some anti-depressants. Let’s forget about the “side effects” of these for a minute and realize exactly what this does. It covers up the symptoms your body is blessing you with so you can actually make positive changes in order to correct the problem. Again, amelioration of the symptoms is not the correction of the cause and once again, this allows acute to turn into chronic.

Third option: You have surgery. The numbers regarding successful back surgery are literally all over the place. Depends on who’s doing the surgery, what your definition of success is, how long following the surgery you ask the patient etc. A five year study conducted by The United States Agency for Health Care Policy provided extensive research on acute low back pain a few years ago and found that only 1 in 100 acute low back patients would benefit from having surgery. Couple this with long term arthritic changes along with surgical complications and you have a recipe for creating a lifelong dependency on painkillers and more surgery.

Fourth option: You perform some type of physical therapy with muscle strengthening techniques, yoga, Thai Chi, or some other form of physical exercise to help stabilize what could very well be an unstable spine. While the pain may get better initially, building muscles around a subluxated spine is like building a house on a faulty foundation.

Fifth option: You relentlessly watch those late night infomercials where you hang yourself upside down while dangling weights from your feet, wear a special brace, buy a machine that immediately resolves all back issues, hemorrhoids, and gout, then you actually go out and purchase it, only to find out what buyers remorse is truly all about.  

Sixth Option: You see a chiropractor and get your skeleton balanced out so the muscles start getting the right signals from the brain. Now if you want to look into incorporating the fourth option at least you won’t be building muscle mass around a crooked frame allowing osteoarthritis to take root.

Every case of back pain is different and luckily there are all types of chiropractors out there who perform varying techniques. What works for one, may not work for the other. If you have tried chiropractic in the past and it was ineffective, there’s an excellent chance your body was simply unresponsive to the technique being utilized. Try a different office with a different approach, but most of all, do not give up hope and resign yourself to a lifetime of chronic misery, pain and drugs.

In Health,

Dr. Andrew R. Burns  

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Multiple Sclerosis

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Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has long been thought to be an incurable disease of an autoimmune nature that directly affects the central nervous system (CNS). Another school of thought is that it is caused by a viral infection that simply lies dormant for a time and then attacks the CNS. I personally believe that new information coming out of the upper cervical chiropractic research world regarding a longitudinal study will soon change that way of thinking entirely, but until then, here’s what you need to know about MS.

MS is a disease of the central nervous system that affects the way information is passed along throughout the brain and spinal cord that collectively comprise the CNS. This system is made up by individual cells called neurons. These cells are then wrapped by an insulating layer called the myelin sheath. This layer not only separates the neurons from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), but it also allows for rapid transmission of electrical signals (the method by which these cells communicate information).

The cerebrospinal fluid has two very important functions: 1.It supplies a nice medium to suspend the brain providing protection. 2. It helps remove metabolic wastes while delivering nutrients and energy to the brain.

The CSF has seen resurgence in the world of research due particularly to the advances in neuroimaging with the insinuation that it maybe vastly more important than once believed. Chiropractors have long believed that the CSF was pumped much like blood. With functional and upright MRI, we now know our assumptions were in fact correct.

Numerous ailments can occur when the flow of the CSF becomes altered. In my opinion, this is the beginning of the pathological process creating scar tissue as the CSF begins to damage surrounding neurons. When an individual has multiple areas of plaques (scarring) within their CNS they meet the criteria to receive the official diagnoses of MS (literally translated, multiple scars).

The Upper Cervical Difference

When an injury occurs, whether subtle or traumatic, distortions from normal anatomical positions can be observed. When this occurs in the cervical spine, a number of issues can arise, but for the purpose of this article, we'll be discussing some of the changes seen with MS.

First, the bones in the neck begin to straighten out and the normal secondary curvature is lost. Tiny ligaments called the dentate ligaments are attached to the spinal vertebrae and anchor the protective layer surrounding the brain and spinal cord called dura mater (meninges). Because the dura mater is one continuous membrane from the skull down through the spine, when the bones misalign and the normal curvature of the neck is lost, these ligaments place traction on the spinal cord and tug the brain downward.

At the bottom of your brain sits the cerebellum. At the bottom of the cerebellum sit the tonsils of the cerebellum. As the brain is pulled downward, the cerebellar tonsils herniate through the foramen magnum (the hole in the bottom of the skull where the brain stem exits, literally translated “big hole”). This acts like a cork in a bottle, damming up the flow of the CSF.

The CSF continues to pulsate though now it has nowhere to go but inwards toward the brain, or outwards toward the skull. This is how the plaques are formed. The CSF continually bangs into the neurons causing damage. Think of it like a callus being rubbed on the skin of your hand. Whenever damage occurs to cells an inflammatory response is sure to follow and this is how MS patient's end up with the demyelination of neurons. This is also characteristic of a few types of neurodegenerative disorders, but particularly MS.

It is the upper cervical chiropractor’s job to realign these bones and allow the normal curvature to be restored in the neck. This allows the traction to be taken off of the spinal cord and brain, effectively uncorking the cerebellar tonsils and restoring the proper flow of the CSF, which, in turn, halts the progression of the plaques and in some instances, allows the neural tissue to heal.

This is not a new phenomenon. There are 20 cases that were documented over a 5 year span at the BJ Palmer Clinic in Iowa during the 1940’s and 50’s. [Killinger LZ, Azad A. Multiple Sclerosis Patients Under Chiropractic Care; A Retrospective Study, Palmer J Res, 1997;2(4):96-100]

Another 81 cases were analyzed in a retrospective study featuring both MS and Parkinson's Disease patients. 40 of the 44 with MS and 34 of the 37 with Parkinson's showed symptomatic improvement with no further progression of the disease while under care. Full text found here: http://www.chiro.org/research/ABSTRACTS/Eighty-One_Patients_With_MS.shtml

One study followed a particular lady who was diagnosed with chronic progressive MS at 47 years of age, 3 years following the diagnosis of MS. All MS symptoms were gone following 4 months of upper cervical chiropractic care and an MRI showed all plaques had stopped progressing, while some began to heal. This case study can be found here [Elster EL. Upper Cervical Chiropractic Management of a Multiple Sclerosis Patient: A Case Report. J Vertebral Subluxation Res, 2001; 4(2):22-30].

There are many more studies out there and I am confident many more to come! If someone you know has been diagnosed with MS, please take the time to share with them this article.

In Health,

Dr. Andrew R. Burns

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The Many Uses of Coconut Oil!

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The Many Uses of Coconut Oil!

Many of us have heard good things about Coconut Oil! It's time we take that tub out of our pantries and put it to good use! Research on Coconut Oil has revealed health benefits, that affect your entire body, inside and out!!

COOKING & EATING:

Smoothies: Add 1 tbsp. of coconut oil into your favorite smoothie recipe and increase your energy!

Popcorn Topping: Instead of butter, melt a little coconut oil and pour it over your popped popcorn. Then sprinkle lightly with Himalayan crystal salt.

A Spoonful in Hot Tea: Allow a tsp. of coconut oil to melt and mildly flavor your next cup of hot tea. 

SKIN CARE & BEAUTY:

Facial Scrub: combine coconut oil with Himalayan crystal salt and apply to face each night.

Tanning Oil/ Moisturizer: Coconut oil is a great tanning oil and also a great moisturizer to use after you've gotten a bit too much sun.

Shaving Lotion: Great for a close shave!

OTHER USES:

Metabolism Booster: 2 tbsp. per day are proven to rev up your metabolism!

Thyroid Supporter: Regular coconut oil consumption has been shown to support healthy thyroid function.

 

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Thank Goodness For the Hallway

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Thank Goodness For the Hallway

If I were today’s 4th grader, I’d be the poster boy for Ritalin, or any other of the psychotropic drugs being used to manage behavior. You see, apparently the hallway or the corner or parental pressure just doesn’t work anymore. Parents, teachers and school systems have resorted to ignoring their own advice, “Say No To Drugs” and are calling out the heavy artillery. 

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Intelligence Rules

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Intelligence Rules

Have you ever noticed that birds have no problem knowing which way is south for the winter? Apple seeds, given the right conditions, always turn into apple trees. And for some reason, the seasons always cycle in predictable order. Winter will surely follow autumn, again.

 

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