Vanderbilt Chiropractic

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10 Things Most People Don’t Know About Chiropractic

National Chiropractic Health Month spotlights the public health crisis caused by pain, and in particular the overuse of prescription painkillers. The media continues to cover the issue of pain extensively, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s declaration of the overuse and abuse of opioid painkillers in the United States as an “epidemic,” Chiropractic is an effective solution to combat the pain crisis in America.

Spread the Word

1. Pain is the last symptom of dysfunction.  A patient’s back is often restricted or unstable for months or years before it presents as a problem and they show up in a chiropractor’s office. In addition, the absence of pain is not health. While medication may be needed, if you take a pill and the pain goes away, the dysfunction that caused it still persists. Muscle, ligament and joint injuries often occur as a result of long-term bio-mechanical dysfunction, sometimes from past injuries, making the area more susceptible to future injury.

2. Athletes use chiropractors to stay well and perform better, not just for the occasional injury.  Athletes choose chiropractors because we are movement specialists. Chiropractors were spotted all over the Olympic coverage in past years, and top athletes such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Tom Brady, Evander Holyfield, and Arnold Schwarzenegger have all been proud patients of chiropractors. Female athletes also benefit from chiropractic care.  Dr. Mike Foudy team chiropractor for the Women’s World Cup Championship Team in 1994 states  “all but one member of the team received regular chiropractic care during their training and on the days of their matches. Chiropractic adjustments balanced their spine, removed nerve pressure and optimized the function of their bodies. They felt like they healed quicker from injuries and that the care gave them a competitive edge.” These days it’s far more common than not for major athletes and sports teams to keep chiropractors nearby to help prevent injuries, speed injury recovery, improve balance and coordination, and give them a greater competitive edge.

3. The body does not perform as a cluster of separate mechanisms, but rather a cascade of events that all starts with proper control by the nervous system.  The nerves that travel through and control every function of your body originate at the spinal cord and their transmission may be disrupted if the joints of the surrounding spinal column are not moving properly. This disruption in biomechanical integrity combined with altered physiological function is what chiropractors call a subluxation. Below is a chart that illustrates the relationship of the spinal nerves exiting the vertebra branching off to the various organ systems. You can see why it is not uncommon for a chiropractor to treat a patient with mid-back pain who also suffers from irritable bowel system, a patient with a subluxated sacrum who has been unsuccessfully trying to become pregnant, or a patient with an upper back fixation and acid reflux.


4. Doctors don’t do the healing.  Sorry to disappoint you, but a chiropractor will never fix your back. What we are able to do is restore proper motion in the joints, which relieves tension on the nerves and muscles and allows your body to do the healing that it is inherently made to do. Chiropractors believe that the body is a perfect organism in its natural state, and all disease comes from a disruption in the body’s proper transmission of signals by the nerves which affects its ability to heal and to defend against disease-causing agents. Chiropractors never treat disease. We assess to find which spinal levels are causing the dysfunction, and we adjust it to restore proper nerve flow so the nervous system may work as efficiently and effectively as possible.

5. Chiropractic is for all ages.  Many seniors are not aware of the benefits of chiropractic care which can help them not only with pain relief, but also increase range of motion, balance and coordination, and decrease joint degeneration. There’s no patient too young for chiropractic either! Chiropractors check infants moments after birth for misalignments of the upper vertebrae that may occur as a result of the birth process. In addition to supporting overall health and well-being, parents also take their children to chiropractors to encourage healthy brain and nervous system development, to assist with colic, asthma, allergies, bed-wetting and sleeping problems, and to assist with behavioral disorders.

6. We know about more than your backbone!  This surprises many people who had no idea that chiropractors give advice on nutrition, fitness, ergonomics and lifestyle, screen for conditions unrelated to the musculoskeletal system and refer out to other practitioners when necessary. Chiropractors are also able to complete specialties in other areas such as pediatrics, sports rehabilitation, neurology, clinical nutrition, and addictions and compulsive disorders.

Other than particular specialties and the differences in learning to adjust and learning to prescribe medication, our training hours are not dissimilar from that of medical doctor. The following are the classroom hours for basic science requirements compiled and averaged following a review of curricula of 18 chiropractic schools and 22 medical schools.


7. Successful chiropractic patients accept responsibility.  When somebody says that they tried chiropractic and it didn’t help, we cringe and get the feeling that they really missed the boat. Of course, there are cases with complicating factors, but we have heard this from people with straightforward chiropractic problems when it is very clear what has happened here. In most cases, one doesn’t acquire back pain over night, and it’s not going to go away over night. If a weak core from years of sitting at your desk is to blame for the additional stress on your joints, we would expect an adjustment to provide relief, but once the condition is no longer exacerbated, we would most definitely prescribe some exercises for you to do at home. The doctor might also suggest he evaluate your nutrition if he suspects an inflammatory diet may be wiring you for pain.  Sure, the doctor is  always happy to adjust someone, but if you’ve been given homework and you don’t do it, remember that this has to be a team effort!

8. Chiropractic may help you get sick less. Studies have indicated that adjustments consistently reduce the production of pro-inflammatory mediators associated with tissue damage and pain, and may also enhance the production of immunoregulatory complexes important for healthy immune system defense. As far back as the deadly flu pandemic of 1917-1918, chiropractors noticed that their patients seemed to have fewer fatalities than among the general population and were able to publish their work in an osteopathic journal since no scholarly journals were accepting chiropractic data. The estimated death rate among patients of conventional medical care in the U.S. was estimated at 5 to 6 percent while the fatality rate among influenza cases receiving spinal adjustments was estimated at 0.25%.

9. “I heard I’ll have to go forever” is a myth.  You may want to go to your chiropractor forever once you’ve started because you didn’t realize how great getting adjusted is, but your doctor won’t expect you to come for continuous care without symptoms. Generally, if you come in with pain, once you’ve been treated for your initial complaint, you’ll be scheduled for a few more appointments to make sure proper motion is being maintained, then it will be recommended you return occasionally to be checked just like you would go to the dentist to get checked for tartar buildup and cavities. Many people choose to see their chiropractor more frequently for wellness or maintenance care.

10. Adjustments don’t hurt. There is no bone snapping or warrior-style pulling heads off spinal columns! The neck adjustment some chiropractors use causes anticipation for many new patients, but is actually much more gentle than they imagined, and involves a quick, direct thrust to a specific spinal bone. The sound an adjustment makes is called a cavitation and is only space being created within the joint causing gasses to be released from the joint capsule, which creates the popping or cracking noise. Also, chiropractic adjustments will not wear out your joints, as some imagine because they have been warned in the past not to “crack their knuckles” for this reason. Adjustments, unlike “knuckle cracking” or having your friend stomp on you while you lay on the carpet, are applied specifically to improve the alignment of your joints and limit the small dysfunctions that over time can lead to arthritis. Most people after an adjustment describe the feeling as being “lighter”, having greater ease in moving the body, and being able to stand up taller.


What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and the substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. However, in some diseases, like arthritis, the body’s defense system — the immune system — triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign invaders to fight off. In these diseases, called autoimmune diseases. the body’s normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues. The body responds as if normal tissues are infected or somehow abnormal.

Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting itself from infection, illness, or injury. As part of the inflammatory response, your body increases its production of white blood cells, immune cells, and substances called cytokines that help fight infection. Inflammation is the body’s response to injury. It works to heal wounds, but it can also play a role in some chronic diseases. It is the body’s way of signaling the immune system to heal and repair damaged tissue, as well as defend itself against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria.

Acute inflammation often causes noticeable symptoms, such as pain, redness, or swelling. But chronic inflammation symptoms are usually subtler. This makes them easy to overlook.

  • Common symptoms of chronic inflammation include:
  • You have a “spare tire” around your waist. Build up of belly fat.
  • You have high blood sugar levels
  • You have digestive problems like gas, diarrhea, bloating or constipation
  • You’re tired all the time
  • You have skin problems like eczema or psoriasis, or your skin is red and blotchy

When inflammation occurs, the white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues to protect your body from foreign substances. This release increases the blood flow to the area of injury or infection, and may result in redness and warmth. This could also leak fluid into the tissues, resulting in swelling. This protective process may stimulate nerves and cause pain,.

The increased number of cells and inflammatory substances within the joint cause irritation, swelling of the joint lining and, eventually, wearing down of cartilage (cushions at the end of bones).  Chronic inflammation needs to be relieved as soon as possible.  For the body to be in a chronic state of inflammation is allowing long term damage that could be avoided.
Inflammation both chronic and acute can be avoided.
The first place to look is our diets.  There are foods that cause inflammation.  Night shade plants cause inflammation.  Those are tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and potatoes. Other foods to avoid are:

  1. Processed meat. Meat is not the enemy. In its best form, it can provide essential nutrients 
  2. Foods high in added sugars. Added sugar is bad for your body.
  3. Refined carbohydrates. Not all carbs are bad carbs.
  4. Foods made with seed and vegetable oils.
  5. Artificial trans fats.

Sugar is a trigger for inflammation.  Gluten, think of white flour breads, pasta, most baked goods that use flour.  When we eat meals full of this type of food we are left feeling the effects of inflammation.  which are feeling tired, lethargic and inflamed.  When we eat these foods our bodies recognize we’ve made a bad move and mounts an attack, doing its best to eliminate the threat and repair any damage that has been caused.   Our bodies are amazing machines that have the ability to repair so much damage from our abusive ways.  The problem is that we eat these foods day after day which has us in a constant state of inflammation making our bodies work hard to limit the effects.
The good news is that we can reverse this entire process by going to the source.  If we eliminate the cause of the inflammation we can solve the problem permanently.  You’ll feel better longer and it also helps your chiropractic adjustments work optimally. 

Foods that help with inflammation are : broccoli, blueberries, ginger, fish, celery, beets, coconut oil, turmeric, pineapple and walnuts.  Experts disagree about everything from plant versus animal protein to cholesterol in eggs, everyone knows that fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables are non-negotiable.  Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are particularly valuable, though you should “eat the rainbow” of fruits and vegetables every day.  

When you learn what to eat you will also learn what not to eat.  To beat inflammation you will need to steer clear of processed oils, flours, and sugars, as well as all preservatives, stabilizers and artificial flavors and colors.  Processed foods run the gamut.  They include ingredients that have been cured, milled, pasteurized, chemically derived, and altered in every way you can imagine.  This also includes most refined pastas, breads, sugary cereals, hot dogs, ice cream, fries, and yes, even pizza.

So, in order to rid our bodies of inflammation we must feed our bodies with whole wholesome foods.  This is called having a clean diet.  That should be our daily goal.  If we achieve this goal out bodies will thank us by giving us more energy, being healthy and vibrant.  That is a pretty great payoff for saying no to that cookie or donut.  We may find it difficult to be 100% compliant, so give yourself a break if you’d rather have that donut instead of that apple.  Try to make healthful choices 90% of the time.  Your body will thank you. 

Resistance Bands: What They Are And How To Use Them

You’ve likely crossed paths with a resistance band along your fitness or rehabilitation journey. While they look like a simple piece of latex, they come jam-packed with a full range of benefits. Resistance bands work by adding an external resistance force that can be applied without having to hold extra weight. When they are anchored in place, you can push, pull, curl, etc. against the rubbers resistance.  Resistance bands are available in light, medium, heavy and extra heavy thicknesses,  Dr. Brian recommends the medium resistance band to patients who need to strengthen a particular part of their body.  We give an instruction sheet when the shoulder needs rehabilitation.  These are easy exercises that can be done at home.

Two of the exercises for the shoulder are Standing or Side lying (Outward) External Rotation: Step 1: Securely tie one end of your resistance band to the door knob of a closed door.  While standing sideways next to the door hold the band with your hand away from the door.  Tuck a rolled towel under your elbow.  This reminds you to keep your elbow in and gives you better form.  Keep your elbow bent and move your lower arm as pictured above at least 45 degrees trying to attain 90 degrees away from your body.  Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions progressing to 5 sets of 10 repetitions. 

It is recommended to do these exercises for both shoulders since they are exercising small and underused muscle groups.  If done side lying, lie sideways on a bed, couch or floor, tuck a rolled towel under the arm you are exercising and use a small weight 3 to 5 lbs or a large soup can. Your other hand should be on top of the bed or couch and folded so that you can rest your head on it. Do the same movement as mentioned above for the same amount of repetitions. When you find these exercises become easy adjust the resistance band so you have to pull harder, or add more weight.

The other exercise Dr. recommends is Standing or Side lying (Inward) Internal Rotation. Step 1.  With the resistance band secured to a door knob of a closed door. While standing sideways next to the door hold the band with your hand that is nearest the door.  Keeping your elbow bent and  fixed against your side move your arm from your side inward across your body.  Again do 3 sets of 10 repetitions progressing to 5 sets of 10 repetitions.  Do these exercises with both arms.  If done lying on your back on a bed, couch or floor with your arm against your side and elbow bent to 90 degrees.  use a 3 – 5 lbs weight or a large soup can. Keeping the elbow fixed against your side, lower forearm first to comfort then raise forearm to trunk.  slowly lower to the starting position and repeat.  Start out doing 3 sets of 10 repetitions progressing to 5 sets of 10 repetitions. 

When this exercise becomes easy adjust the resistance band so you have to pull harder or add more weight. Using the resistance band in this exercise give you a better stretch and works the muscles more effectively.  
Resistance bands can be used to increase your mobility and strength in your legs also.  While sitting loop the band around your foot and bring up any slack.  Hold tight in both hands and push up and down with your knee flexing.  This works your calf, knee and thigh muscles.  Be sure to do both legs following the repetitions listed above.

Top 5 Benefits of Resistance Bands

  1. Effective workout. Using resistance bands as a workout tool enables you to work multiple muscles.
  2. Suitable for any fitness level. You don’t have to be a pro athlete to use resistance band.
  3. Cost effective. 
  4. Portable. Resistance bands are light weight which makes them very portable.
  5.  Routine variety.

Resistance bands offer a portable alternative to resistance and weight training. When you don’t have the time or easy access to the gym, a quality set of resistance bands can offer a great workout and a nice change of pace. Lots of people use resistance bands regularly as part of their exercise routine.
Google-resistance band exercises for many more suggestions and benefits gained using them during your exercise routines.

Emergencies happen, but can they be avoided.  Most of the time YES.

We often receive calls from patients that are in severe pain from just doing their daily tasks.  Bending over to empty the trash can, lifting a large suitcase into the back of their car, just sitting down into their car seat, getting out of bed and twisting wrong or taking their dog on a walk and the pup is pulling on the leash.   These are real injuries that cause real pain, but they don’t have to.  If people would just think of chiropractic care proactively.  When we receive these calls, we do our best to see you as soon as possible. We know you’re in pain and getting quick relief is most important at that moment.  Our schedule usually allows us to accommodate your needs.  Usually these injuries happen to those patients we don’t see regularly.   Regular (usually quarterly) chiropractic adjustments help your body move the way you need it to.  Correct spinal alignment prevents nerve interference.  In addition, every system in our body works optimally when the nervous system is correctly functioning.  When the spine is misaligned, the slightest movement can cause pain and interfere with your activities.  

We can’t emphasize enough that it is to your benefit to see us before you are having pain.  Pain can be avoided when you receive chiropractic adjustments to keep your spinal alignment instead of coming to us in pain to “fix” your spine. If your last adjustment has been more than 4 months ago, why not give us a call for an appointment today.  You and your spine will be happy you did and we will be very happy to see you.

If you are interested in watching either or both of these series, call our office for the username and password to gain access.  These are “must see” docu-series.

Foam Roller Stretches For A Healthy Spine

Raise your hand if you have a foam roller gathering dust under your bed or in your closet. Well, what’s it doing there?! Your back muscles called, and they’re begging you to use it.  This activity has gained in popularity.  It is an active way to lengthen the muscles in your back and bring blood, oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, giving you a fantastic stretch.  Foam rollers can be used all over the body, but we will concentrate on the spine in this article.  Don’t have a foam roller?  We have access to a supplier and they are reasonably priced or you can get them on Amazon or anywhere sports and fitness equipment are sold.

Here are 4 key stretches for your back:

1.  Torso Stretch – Lay on roller length wise so roller follows your spine from between your shoulders to your lower spine.  Head extending past the roller end.  Bring your arms backward and open wide.  Let your arms fall to the floor on either side of your head.  This gives a good gentle stretch to the whole torso area.  This is very healing to the spine because we are always rounded forward in our daily lives.  You can then bring your arms down and position yourself a little lower on the roller so it is under your head and the entire length of your spine.  You then roll from side to side ever so slightly.  This works the spinal muscles on both sides and also helps you achieve core strength and balance.  You should feel a gentle stretch in your lower and mid back and between your shoulder blades.

2.  Thoracic Mid Back Stretch – Lay down on the roller so it is between you shoulders and mid back.  With your feet planted  roll up and down from shoulders to mid back.  Do this exercise for 60 to 90 seconds.

3. Low Back Stretch – Sit on the roller, roll forward with your feet planted so the roller is in contact with your lower back.  Roll from mid back to hips, roll back and forth for 60 to 90 seconds.  This stretch engages your core muscles and you should feel a good stretch.

4.  Static Stretch – Sit with roller behind you, lean back over roller and extend back with your shoulders on the floor.  Hold for 60 seconds.

Another area where a foam roller is very effective is your iliotibial band or I T Band.  Because of anatomical differences between women and men, women tend to have tighter outer thighs due to a wider pelvic brim.  Rolling the outer thighs can be particularly important for women to help with this tightness.  The following exercise will target the long band of connective tissue that runs from the outer hip to the outer knee known as the I T Band.  Foam rolling this area can decrease stress on your hip and/or knee. 

I T Band stretch – Lie on your side with the foam roller under your right hip.  Bracing your abs and glutes for balance, slowly roll down and back up about six inches.  Do this for 60 seconds. Switch to the other side and repeat.
If getting on the floor with your roller is difficult, you could try these exercises on a firm mattress.  The roller will not roll as well as if it were on the floor.

Arterial Dissection / Stroke, Sun Safety & Bug Spray

Arterial dissection of the cervical (neck) arteries is a very rare condition that has recently been in the news.  Some media outlets report that this condition is caused by chiropractic adjustments.  This is very misleading and false.  This condition occurs in 3 people per 100,000 in the general population, but chiropractic patients it is 1 in 8 million people per year.  Symptoms of this condition can be neck pain and headache.  Whether a person seeks care from a medical doctor or doctor of chiropractic, stroke can follow at an equal rate regardless of the type of provider. 

In general a chiropractic patient is 4-5 times less likely to suffer from this condition due to them being more proactive with their health.  Regular adjustments reduce neck tension and proper alignment keeps nerve function optimal.  Studies have proven there is no greater association of stroke for persons under chiropractic care compared with those under medical care.  A team of neurosurgeons at the University of Pennsylvania published research concluding. “There is no convincing evidence to support a link between chiropractic manipulation and cervical artery dissection (CAD).

Dr. Brian practices Gonstead chiropractic which does not put the neck into flexion and rotation of the cervical spine to achieve proper alignment.  This increases safety of the adjustment and removes any risk factors of cervical spinal adjustments. In general chiropractic care is safe for all people. 

A chiropractor’s malpractice insurance premiums reflect this. Chiropractic malpractice insurance can cost $100 up to $2500 a year dependent on the years practiced..  Medical malpractice insurance is $20.000 up to $100,000 depending on the procedures the medical doctor performs.   If chiropractor’s were injuring their patients insurance companies would not insure them at such a low rate.

What’s more cancerous: the sun or your sunscreen?

Did You Know… your sunscreen may be more likely to cause cancer than the sun? Common sunscreen ingredients are suspected or known carcinogens and/or hormone disrupters, including diethanolamine, triethanolamine (DEA, TEA),padimate-o, octyl dimethyl PABA, benzophenone,oxybenzone, homosalate, octyl-methoxycinnamate (octinoxate), salicylates, and parabens. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, over 600,000 new cases of skin cancer are detected every year, and that number is on the rise.

Why is skin cancer suddenly so prominent?

Studies found that nations where chemical sunscreens are heavily promoted have actually seen a higher rise in melanoma. Sun exposure in adequate amounts actually prevents cancer through vitamin D production and immune system stimulation.  We must avoid sunburn but get the essential sunshine our body needs by using sunscreens that are good for our skin. This is why Doctor Brian recommends using a sunscreen that has only organic, natural  ingredients.  A good website for information on sun protection and a wealth of other healthy information is: (Environmental Working 

Two safe ingredients in sunscreen are zinc oxide and Titanium dioxide.  There are several brands on the market to chose.  Remember if there are too many ingredients it’s probably not your best choice.   You can even make your own sunscreen at home.  Mix 1/2 cup coconut oil with 2 tablespoons of zinc oxide ointment.  This will help you and your family enjoy time in the sun and not have to worry about burning or absorbing nasty chemicals from your sunscreen.

What’s Worse Than The Bugs?  

Let’s face it, no one likes mosquitoes.  Their bites itch and that sound they make is just so annoying.  But what’s worse, suffering through a few bug bites or having to deal with headaches, confusion, drowsiness, muscle pain, and nausea?  The use of DEET, the most common active ingredient in most insect repellents, has always been controversial, but new studies are showing that DEET isn’t all that safe.  Because the side effects of DEET can take months or even years to manifest, few people realize what could be the cause of common ailments.

Why have previous studies not shown the harmful effects of DEET? Previous studies on the effects of DEET have only been short term.  They studied the effects for only a few days after DEET was administered.  New studies have been testing the effect of DEET on lab rats, and the studies have lasted for months.  Dr. Mohamed Abou-Donia, who has studied the effects of pesticides on the brain, says that frequent application of DEET can causes neurons to die in certain parts of the brain.  The areas of the brain most affected by this toxin are the regions that control muscle movement, learning, memory, and concentration.  Also, in both animal and human cells, DEET has been seen to damage the DNA.   

What are the effects of DEET?  The effects of DEET don’t usually appear right away.  Sometimes they can take months or years to appear.  However, DEET toxicity can have some very serious side effects.  Besides headaches, fatigue, and nausea, DEET toxicity can  result in tremors, muscle spasms, seizures, and coma.  DEET also has the ability to cause genetic damage and mutations, leading to cancer and other problems later in life.  Several cases of toxic encephalopathy, any disease of the brain that alters the brain’s function or structure, have also been reported in children after using DEET.  

How can DEET enter my body?  DEET can enter your body the same way any other toxin can; absorption through the skin, inhalation, or ingestion.  The most common way is absorption, since most people apply the toxin directly to their skin.  However, once the skin absorbs it, DEET can also be absorbed by some of the main organs, causing internal damage.

Using DEET has also led to environmental concerns.  The chemical has shown to have a destructive effect on animal wildlife and water sources.  It is now estimated that over seventy-five percent of the world’s water sources are contaminated with DEET.  Everyday, animals, plants, and humans drink this water, consuming more and more of this chemical.  Birds and fish are even more susceptible to DEET than mammals are.  Help yourself and the environment by choosing bug sprays other than those that contain DEET.  You many not feel the effects yet, but why put yourself or loved ones at risk.  DEET is a toxin, and why would you want to be even slightly poisoned?

Safer Alternatives Include:  Citronella Oil, Lemon Eucalyptus Oil, Cinnamon Oil, Castor Oil, Rosemary Oil, Lemongrass Oil, Cedar Oil, Peppermint Oil, Clove Oil, and Geranium Oil, Possibly Oils from Verbena, Pennyroyal, Lavender, Pine, Cajeput, Basil, Thyme, Allspice, Soybean, and Garlic Another plant-derived substance, pyrethrum, is an insecticide. Pyrethrum comes from the flowers of the daisy Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium.

Frozen Shoulder Syndrome

After a long winter of hibernating, spring has sprung.  With spring comes outside chores.  If shoveling winter snow didn’t give you shoulder pain. Raking, weeding, mowing and planting could.  Frozen shoulder is a real condition and it is painful.  Frozen shoulder syndrome (adhesive capsulitis) is likely caused by overuse or injury that causes inflammation, scarring, thickening, and shrinkage of the capsule that surrounds the normal shoulder joint. 

Any shoulder injury can lead to a frozen shoulder.  Long-term immobility of the shoulder joint can put people at risk to develop a frozen shoulder.  This condition is characterized by night pain and stiffness in your shoulder joint and loss of range of shoulder motion during rotation and abduction (moving the arm forward and backwards). This condition can make sleep very uncomfortable.

Many patients with shoulder pain are told to have surgery, get steroid shots, or take anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve the pain. Unfortunately, these treatments do not always work to reliably reduce symptoms, particularly in patients with frozen shoulder syndrome (FSS). Only 2-5% of the general population has FSS, but rates are higher among people with Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, thyroid disease, and stroke; in fact, up to 40% of patients with diabetes suffer from FSS.

Finding an effective way to relieve FSS remains a challenge since many patients say they still experience symptoms for several years after their initial medical treatment which usually consists of corticosteroid and numbing. A recent study suggests that chiropractic treatment may provide better relief for persistent FSS.

The study included 50 patients with FSS between the ages of 40-70 years old. Patients were treated with chiropractic adjustments and within a few weeks on average the majority of patients had substantial improvements in their shoulder adduction (raising the arm to the side).  The median average patient had their pain score drop from a 9 out of 10 to a 2 out of 10, resulting in a median 78% improvement in pain. 

Additionally, researchers  evaluated the patients’ shoulder function by measuring their degree of shoulder adduction.  16 patients had regained completely normal shoulder adduction: 25 had 75-90% improvement in shoulder adduction: and 8 showed a 50-75% improvement..

“The results of this case series are encouraging in that many of these patients’ complaints seemed to improve or resolve within 1 month of presentation, whereas, in general, it is thought that FSS symptoms can persist for 2 years or more,” the researchers wrote.

Although large-scale studies are needed to test these results, the findings suggest that chiropractic adjustment can provide effective relief of FSS.  Thus saving their patient’s the pain and restrictions of having surgery and then long term physical therapy.

If you have noticed a decrease in your shoulder range of motion it is a good idea to have it checked sooner than later.  Chiropractic could get your shoulder back to optimal movement.  Prolonging this condition it only gets worse and more restricted.

Healthy Alternatives To Sweet Poison: Part 3

 All the sweeteners we list below are as natural as they are healthy.  These options also come packed with antioxidants and nutrients that are good for us, unlike artificial sweeteners comprised of nothing but chemicals.  And since they are minimally processed, you can also avoid the negative side effects of refined sugar.

1. Stevia
Free of calories and even sweeter than sugar, Stevia is a fantastic alternative to refined and artificial sugars.  It’s naturally derived from a South American shrub, making it the only calorie-free natural sweetener available on the market today. Be cautious when buying Stevia.  Stevia and Truvia are not the same.  Truvia advertises itself as being both “all natural” and “stevia-based.”  While Truvia does contain zero calories, it can hardly be called “all-natural,_ nor can it really be considered “stevia-based.”  It’s comprised of the ingredients erythritol (sugar alcohol), “natural flavorings” and rebiana, a crystallized form of a compound found in the stevia plant.  In the end it’s a smart idea to stick with what we know is natural, like stevia, while also being especially weary of deceptive labelling on food packaging.  

2.  Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is another natural alternative to sugar you should consider.  Not only is it nutritious, but its glycemic index score and fructose content are both low.  Therefore, when you consume coconut sugar, you won’t get the common “buzz followed by a crash” effect that comes with typical refined sugar.  You can use coconut sugar in all your favorite recipes in measurements similar to sugar.  Although it is somewhat coarser than refined sugar, this shouldn’t present any problem.

3. Raw Honey and Maple Syrup
An easy nutrition swap that can make a big difference is substituting honey or maple syrup for refined sugar. Whether you use sugar in cooking or your morning coffee, replacing it with a more nutrient-dense option is an important step to take for your health.Remember, both honey and maple syrup are still forms of sugar, but they come with significantly more micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), as well as some fiber, that make them far superior choices to white sugar.

Raw Honey is a fantastic natural sugar alternative.  In addition to being delicious, it also comes with a broad range of health benefits.  Apart from its antibacterial properties, honey is also an excellent source of antioxidants thanks to its pollen content.  In general the darker the honey, the higher its antioxidant value, nutritional content, and overall health benefits.  Resist the temptation to cook with honey.  Doing so will only water down its natural properties.  Instead, drizzle raw honey on yogurt, over sprouted grain toast or on whatever else you please.  You may also want to experiment with using it in your salad dressings.  Hot drinks like coffee and tea taste great with some added honey.  It is suggested that you try waiting a little bit until your beverage is tepid enough for comfortable sipping before you add the honey to avoid diminishing its benefits.   But be careful – you don’t want to diminish raw honey’s beneficial qualities by adding it to liquid that’s too hot.  Honey is a healthy and delicious natural sweetener – just make sure to buy it raw.

Maple syrup offers zinc, iron, potassium, manganese and calcium, and is two-thirds sucrose. In other words, if you replace refined sugar with maple syrup and keep the quantity the same, you will be cutting your sucrose consumption by one-third. When using maple syrup as a replacement, try using less (start with even less than half the amount of sugar) than your recipe calls for. It can be purchased as grade A or B syrup, B contains more minerals and has a stronger flavor, and grade A contains slightly fewer nutrients and has a milder flavor. Grade B is preferable, whenever possible.

4. Molasses
Molasses is created by what’s left behind after sugar cane has been refined into the unhealthy white sugar you’re trying to avoid.  Of all the natural alternatives to sugar, molasses is the most nutrient rich.  More specifically, it delivers a significant amount of vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium.  Traditional sugar is produced by heating the top layer to form crystals.  During this refining process, most of the nutritional benefits of sugar are left inside the molasses.  Therefore, instead of getting refined sugar, you’d be better off buying blackstrap molasses.  Since it’s sweeter than sugar, you’ll also end up using less of it over the long term.  

5. Date Sugar
Last on this list is date sugar.  As the name suggests, it’s derived from dried dates after the fruit has been dehydrated and ground to creat a special kind of sugar.  Since the dried dates don’t get processed, it follows that date sugar retains all the nutritional benefits from the raw material.  Additionally, it comes with a rich and sweet flavor, making it one of the best alternatives to refined sugar and artificial sweeteners.  You can use date paste for baking.  To make your own, soak some dates in hot water until they soften.  Drain the water into a container and blend the soaked dates until smooth.  Keep adding the soaking liquid until you create the thick, rich paste that you need.  While baking cakes or cookies, try using the date paste as a perfect alternative to refined sugar.  You can also use it to sweeten pies and muffins.

So there you have it – some of the best natural sugar substitutes to satisfy those cravings.  Although you might be trying to live healthy by cutting out added sugar and artificial sweeteners, it doesn’t mean that you completely have to ignore your sweet tooth.  Use the alternatives listed above instead and enjoy the extra benefits they provide.  And of course, you can always just bite into a juicy piece of fruit whenever the cravings hit.  The added fiber is a good thing,  I’ve included a chocolate chip cookie recipe that has no wheat flour or white/brown sugar.  We can follow a healthy life style and eat cookies too!

Chocolate chip cookies 

  • ¾ cup almond flour or almond meal, very firmly packed (about 3 ounces or 100 grams)
  • ¼ cup coconut flour, very firmly packed (about 1 ½ ounces or 43 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • Dash cinnamon (optional)
  • ½ cup butter or coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup real maple syrup (preferably grade B) or honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped, or 1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Pour in the melted butter (or coconut oil), maple syrup (or honey) and vanilla extract, and mix thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate.

Let the dough rest for 5 minutes in the refrigerator so the coconut flour can absorb some of the excess moisture (or let the dough chill in the fridge for 10+ minutes if you want fat cookies. Scoop dough, one tablespoon at a time, in mounds onto the baking sheet, leaving a couple inches around each cookie.

Bake for about 11 minutes, until golden brown. Let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then slide the parchment paper onto a cooling rack to finish cooling. The cookies will be fragile when they are warm but will firm up as they cool.

Sweet Poison: Part 2

Whether you reach for the pink, blue, or yellow packet, they all are unhealthy choices. Well, if you can’t go pink, blue, or yellow and sugar in all it’s numerous forms are not good choices either what are we to do to satisfy our sweet tooth? We will give some suggestions later in this article.  For now, let’s talk about those pink, blue, and yellow packets and why we should avoid them.

Saccharin branded as Sweet N Low is Sodium saccharin an artificial sweetener with effectively no food energy. It is about 300–400 times as sweet as sucrose but has a bitter or metallic aftertaste, especially at high concentrations. Saccharin is used to sweeten products such as drinks, candies, cookies, and medicines.  Where does Saccharin come from?  If someone dared you to eat coal tar, would you?  Would you happily sip it down or gleefully sprinkle it on your morning cereal?  Probably not.  After all, you’d have to be crazy to knowingly consume something as awful sounding as coal tar.  But what if I told you it was sweet?  Really sweet.  As in 400 times sweeter than sugar.  Would that matter?  Before you answer an emphatic “no,” consider this.  Not only have you likely eaten or drank this mysterious coal-derived sweetener, it graces virtually every table in restaurants across the country.

It was first produced in 1878 by a chemist working on coal tar derivatives at Johns Hopkins University.  After working with his compounds all day, he discovered that his hand tasted “sweet.   Not really sure how it came about that he tasted his hand, but there it is.  Today, saccharin is commonly manufactured by combining anthranilic acid (used among other things as a corrosive agent for metal) with nitrous acid, sulfur dioxide, chlorine, and ammonia.  Yes, that’s right.  Chlorine and ammonia.In fact, that particular group of chemicals sounds more like a recipe for a household cleaner than a sweetener.  And yet, millions upon millions of people consume saccharin every year.

A 1997 report from the Center for the Science in Public Interest felt that it would be highly irresponsible for the National Toxicology Program to take saccharin off their list of toxic substances.  They believed that doing so “would give the public a false sense of security, remove any incentive for further testing, and result in greater exposure to this probable carcinogen in tens of millions of people, including children (indeed, fetuses).”And with good reason.  There are  rodent studies showing that saccharin caused bladder cancer, not to mention vascular and lung cancer.  It also increased the risk of uterine cancer in female mice. This was based on several studies, including one from 1978, which found that rats given saccharin developed bladder cancer that was quite aggressive. 

Additionally, rats exposed while in the womb were even more likely to develop cancer than those exposed immediately after birth.  Researchers in that study concluded, “Saccharin is carcinogenic for the urinary bladder in rats and mice, and most likely is carcinogenic in human beings.  But the pro-saccharin people argued that rats and people aren’t the same.  Agreed.  There in lies the issue.  No one is willing to do a double blind, placebo-controlled study with saccharin, as it would be irresponsible to knowingly place someone at risk.  But there are several case-controlled studies showing a definitive link between saccharin consumption and increased risk of cancer.  Studies have proven that there is an increase in bladder cancer in consumers who use saccharin regularly. 

As if cancer weren’t bad enough, saccharin has also been tied to a variety of allergic reactions, including headaches, breathing issues, skin rashes, and diarrhea. Worst yet, it is still being added to some infant formulas!  And then there’s the dieters’ and diabetic dilemma.  Or perhaps irony is a better word.  A 2008 study from Appetite found “a significant increase of plasma insulin concentration was apparent after stimulation with saccharin.  And they didn’t even ingest the saccharin!  They just rinsed their mouth out with it.  As we all know, increased insulin levels is a risk factor for both obesity and diabetes.  Probably NOT the side effect dieters and diabetics are going for when they choose a sugar-free product.

Aspartame branded as Equal or NutraSweet is an artificial sweetener that’s sold under the brand names NutraSweet and Equal. It’s commonly found in “diet” foods. While the sweetener remains popular, it also faced controversy in recent years. Many opponents have claimed that aspartame is actually bad for your health.  It’s Interesting that  if you Google “is aspartame bad for you?” you will first come to sights that sing aspartames praises.  You need to dig deeper to find the truth.  You will find that recent studies have shown that artificial sweeteners actually increase weight gain. They fail to satisfy cravings and often intensify hunger. Aside from contributing to weight gain, this sweetener has been linked to serious birth defects and cancers of the brain as well as other neurological disorders. Aspartame consists of Aspartic acid and Phenylalanine, which when broken down in the system produces Methanol, which can be toxic in high amounts. 

Since the onset of its use in the United States, its safety in regards to consumption has been highly controversial. Because of the claims against aspartame and its safety, it is considered one of the most thoroughly tested and studied food additives around. The FDA, as well as numerous independent laboratories, have conducted studies regarding the side effects and safety surrounding aspartame consumption.

Aspartame has been linked to numerous hazardous side effects including a greater risk of birth defects in women who consume aspartame while pregnant. Not only has aspartame been linked to certain cancers, it’s side effects include  seizures, headaches, dizziness, weight gain, lupus, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. The side effects attributed to aspartame can occur gradually over time or can be acute reactions to the chemical. Immediate reactions can include trouble with vision and eyes, ringing in the ears, heart palpitations and shortness of breath.  There is still a large amount of controversy surrounding the use of aspartame as an artificial sweetener. Though links to certain cancers and other health problems have been shown, there is still widespread use of aspartame in everyday products.

Sucralose branded as Splenda is another artificial sweetener.  From its discovery until very recently, Splenda was regarded as safe to consume. This may not be entirely true, however.  Splenda has always been considered to be biologically inert (chemically inactive), meaning it passes through the human body untouched. However, a recent article posted to the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health noted that some of the ingested sweetener is metabolized, meaning that it is not entirely inert.  There are other interactions that medical researchers are currently investigating; for instance, ingested sucralose has been linked to altered intestinal microbe levels in mice; and it is believed that cooking with sucralose may produce toxic compounds called  chloropropanols which are chemicals that are suspected to be carcinogenic to humans.

We know that refined sugar can lead to all sorts of health problems, especially weight gain. But is reaching for the “sugar free” alternatives any better? Often times, no. Consuming these chemicals we can barely pronounce won’t do us any good other than just briefly satisfying our cravings. If you’re confused about what to do, keep reading. Below we’ll go over some of the best artificial sweetener alternatives and natural sugar substitutes to satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way. 
Next month we will write about healthy alternatives to processed sugar and artificial sweeteners.  There are good choices to be made that not only feed our sweet tooth’s, but help us in our quest for overall good healthy choices.

Sweet Poison

Sugar.  We add it to our morning cup of coffee or tea. We bake it into pastries, cakes, and cookies. We even sprinkle it all over our breakfast cereal or our oatmeal for added flavor. But that’s not all. Sugar is also hidden in some beloved “treats” that people consume on a daily basis, such as soda, fruit juices, candies and ice cream. It also lurks in almost all processed foods, including breads, meats, and even your favorite condiments like ketchup, salad dressings, spaghetti sauce, barbecue sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

Most people view sugary foods as tasty, satisfying and irresistible treats. But studies show that there are three words that can more accurately describe sugar: toxic, addictive and deadly if we consume too much of it. Our bodies crave sugar, and in Joseph Mercola DO’s opinion, “sugar is one of the most damaging substances that you can ingest — and what’s terrifying about it is that it’s very abundant in our everyday diet. This intense addiction to sugar is becoming rampant, not just among adults, but in children as well.”  But how exactly does sugar work in our body, and what side effects can excess sugar have on our health?

The human body is not made to consume excessive amounts of sugar, especially fructose.  It is actually a liver toxin and is metabolized directly into fat – a factor that can cause a whole host of problems that can have far reaching effects on our health. As a general recommendation, keep your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day, including that from whole fruit.

Today, the average person consumes 77 lbs of sugar a year, plus over 20 pounds of corn syrup. Refined sugar contains no fiber, no minerals, no proteins, no fats, no enzymes, only empty calories.

Your body must borrow vital nutrients from healthy cells to metabolize this incomplete food. Calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium are taken from various parts of the body to make use of the sugar.

Sugar actually speeds up cellular death and Osteoporosis, due to the withdrawn calcium. Likewise, the teeth are affected and they lose their components until decay occurs and hastens their loss.

Diabetes is another commonly known disease caused by sugar as well as a high fat diet. Diabetes is caused by the failure of the pancreas to produce adequate insulin when the blood sugar rises. Refined sugar may be one of the major dietary risk factors in gallstone disease. One out of ten Americans has gallstones. This risk increases to one out of every five after age 40.

Low insulin production means a high sugar (glucose) level in the bloodstream, which can lead to a confused mental state or unsound mind, and has also been linked with juvenile criminal behavior. 
Since our craving for sugar is addictive, it can be uncomfortable to eliminate sugar from our diets at first.  Common sugar withdrawal symptoms include headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, anxiety, cravings, and diarrhea. The good news is that these symptoms significantly reduce after a few weeks of quitting sugar. In fact, within a month of quitting sugar, you may experience benefits such as clearer skin, fewer cravings, and weight loss.  Some people say the symptoms dissipate within days of stopping sugar.  Once you have kicked the habit, it is much easier to avoid sugar because it usually tastes too sweet.

Ways to reduce sugar withdrawal symptoms:

Stay Hydrated: Sometimes sugar cravings can disguise themselves as thirst or hunger. Drinking water is one way of quieting or stalling those strong urges that may come because of sugar cravings. Use a water bottle to have water readily available. Aim to drink at least 1.5-2 liters of water per day.

Eat healthy Fats: Healthy fats found in foods like avocados, cheese, whole nuts, eggs, and fatty fish are highly nutritious. Your body digests fats slowly which helps ward off sugar cravings. In fact, fats like coconut oil have short fatty acids that help suppress cravings. If you usually cook with vegetable oil, replace it with coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil.

Take Probiotics: What is it about Probiotics that makes them so important? Probiotics add gut flora that’s important in the digestion and metabolism of food. Sugar intake tends to interfere with the gut flora, leading to the overgrowth of other organisms like candida. Candida is a yeast organism that feeds on sugar. It may cause conditions like oral thrush or vaginal thrush. The overgrowth of these organisms may spike your sugar cravings. Luckily, probiotics like kefir, kimchi, and miso help increase the good gut bacteria. In addition to eating probiotic-rich foods, take probiotic supplements.

Eat lots of Protein: Eating high protein foods can help curb cravings and control hunger. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition investigated the effect of a high-carb diet and a high-protein diet, and it showed that a high-protein breakfast decreased the hormone ghrelin (hunger) which is responsible for increasing appetite and satiety levels.

Exercise regularly: Rather than thinking about how hungry or how much you want to eat, keep your mind occupied by doing exercises. Why not try taking a walk or weight training? Working out may ease the fatigue and anxiety triggered by sugar withdrawal, thanks to the endorphins your body releases when you work out.

Eat more fruits: If you still want a sugar kick without worrying about calories, try a fruit. It’s a quick fix to a sugar craving. Fruits have natural sugars and are loaded with minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. Fruits like pineapples or bananas are so sweet and high in fiber giving you a momentary feeling of satiety and happiness. Remember to eat fruits in moderation. Eating too many can spike your blood sugar levels. Eat a maximum of 3 fruits a day.

Eliminate all processed foods high in sugar: There is no way you will curb sugar cravings if your food cabinets are packed with processed foods. Studies show that even seeing junk food increases cravings. Make sure you completely empty your cabinets, give away that food if you have to. Take the necessary measures to ensure you remove any temptation. Don’t impede on your efforts of cutting sugar by making it hard on yourself.

Get Adequate Sleep: Lack of sleep can worsen your sugar withdrawal symptoms. It can worsen your headaches, cravings, and anxiety. Therefore, make sure you sleep for at least 7-8 hours a night. Maintaining a regular sleep routine will help you sleep better.

Get a support system: When willpower fails you, what’s the next best option? Talk to your family or friends. Tell them about your goal of cutting down sugar and how the withdrawal symptoms are affecting you. They are likely to be more sensitive when they are around you. Even talking about your cravings out loud may help you reduce your sugar withdrawal symptoms. You can acknowledge the feeling without having to do anything about it.

Deal with Stress: Stress makes your sugar withdrawal symptoms worse. According to Anxiety Center, stress uses up a lot of your energy. This dips your energy levels such that your body craves sugar. Stress is something we go through in life, but there are many ways of overcoming it. Do something fun like playing sports, taking a walk, or talking to a loved one. When you deal with stress, sugar cravings will subside with time. Next month we will give you some good substitutions for sugar and we don’t recommend artificial sweeteners. Stay tuned.

Top 5 Reasons To See A Chiropractor

More than 35 million Americans visit chiropractors every year. Most people think of a chiropractor for pain relief and spinal adjustments. Those certainly are key reasons to seek chiropractic care, but chiropractic care can benefit your health and the quality of your life in many more ways.  

Here are top 5 reasons to see a Chiropractor!

1)  TREAT ROOT CAUSE OF PAIN: The essence of chiropractic care is that treatment focuses on the root cause of the problem, not just the symptoms. A chiropractor’s goal is to determine where and why pain, inflammation and muscle tension may be occurring, then build an effective treatment plan.  For those with long term conditions or chronic pain, chiropractic care can be very effective by using the latest technology and chiropractic treatments.

2) AUTO ACCIDENT INJURY OR WHIPLASH: Many auto accidents cause whiplash, spinal injuries, and soft tissue injuries.  Rapid movements from accidents can injure the vertebrate, neck and back muscles, shoulders, limbs, head and the brain. Chiropractic care can effectively provide a thorough analysis, diagnosis and treatment of auto accident injuries with a full range of services for pain relief and physical therapy rehabilitation.

3) REDUCE STRESS: Stress prevents our nervous system and our brain from communicating properly, and keeps our body from functioning normally. The nervous system is in control of pain signals sent from different parts of the body to the brain.  This can cause mental and physical stress over the entire body.  A balanced body will create less tension and stress. So, when the spine is not correctly aligned, your whole body can feel the effect. A well adjusted body enables you to manage stress better.

4) IMPROVE SLEEP: Many people do not sleep well due to pain, stress, and overall body aches. When there is stress or pressure on your spine, your body can’t reach the level of deep sleep you need. Proper spine alignment leads to decreased pain and stress while in bed. Chiropractic adjustments can release pressure on your nerves and help restore the harmony throughout your body. Sleep is improved over time and so is your overall health and wellness. 

5) BOOST IMMUNE SYSTEM: The main purpose of our immune system is to protect and fight against infections from entering our body.  But sometimes there are issues that cause the immune system to not work properly such as autoimmune disorders, allergies or illness. The immune system and the nervous system work together to adapt and heal your body.  Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to boost the coordinated responses of the nervous system and immune system.  So when your spine is properly aligned and the nervous system is working correctly,” it can help prevent illness or speed up recovery. Dr. Brian recommends getting an adjustment at the first sign that you are coming down with something like a cold or the flu.  Many patients call and cancel their scheduled appointments due to “now feeling well”.  That is when you need an adjustment the most.  Being adjusted at this time allows your nervous system to function optimally and help you fight off what ever illness is trying to take a hold of you.  There is no need to apologize for coming in sick and exposing Dr. and staff to your illness.  We get our adjustments regularly and take precautions and supplements to boost our immunity.  The saying “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger is true! 

Vanderbilt Family Chiropractic is committed to helping you live a healthy and pain-free life.  

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