08
Jul
15

How Coffee Affects Your Health


coffee-cup-200-300We seem to hear different things from the medical community every few years about either the positive or negative effect that coffee has on our health. So what is the most current information? Is coffee good or bad for your health? The answer, in short, is that it’s a little of both.

Too much coffee can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure, anxiety and upset stomach, in addition to its ability to become addictive. And don’t forget that added cream and sugar contribute to weight gain. For example, a 24-ounce Starbucks venti double chocolate chip frappucino contains a mind-boggling 520 calories!

Despite these drawbacks, moderate coffee consumption can actually have a protective effect, helping to reduce your risk of many problems, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, liver cancer, gallstones and Type 2 diabetes, to name a few. It can also lower the risk of stroke in women.

Current research has indicated that there is no increased risk of heart disease or cancer from moderate coffee drinking. The studies done earlier that reached that conclusion were flawed in that they did not take into consideration other lifestyle habits that went along with increased coffee drinking, such as smoking and lack of exercise, two major causes of these diseases. In fact, coffee has been shown to protect against many kinds of cancer.

A recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found that there was a 25 percent reduction in cases of endometrial cancer in women who drank four or more cups of coffee per day. Scientists believe this may be due to the fact that coffee has the ability to lower concentrations of free estradiol and insulin, in addition to the cancer-fighting effect of coffee’s antioxidant phenols.

Even a few cups of coffee every day can cut men’s risk of developing prostate cancer by 30 percent, with those consuming six cups of coffee a day reducing their risk of a dangerous form of the cancer by a whopping 60 percent.

Coffee also reduces your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma by up to 20 percent, according to scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Another study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who drink coffee (four cups per day) have a 20 percent lower risk of depression than those who drink no coffee at all.

It is recommended that you get no more than 500-600 mg of caffeine intake per day, the equivalent of about 6 to 8 cups of brewed coffee. Obviously, the amount of caffeine in a cup of espresso will be more than that in the equivalent amount drip coffee.

The key point to keep in mind is to consume coffee in moderate amounts, especially if you are pregnant. But all in all, the benefits of coffee consumption far outweigh the risks for most people, so grab a café grande and drink up!

Nutrition is a very complex and our understanding of it is constantly evolving. If you have questions about your current nutrition or supplement plan, please ask. We are here to help!

20
Nov
13

What Are Food Cravings? Is Your Body Really Trying to Tell You Something?


SwisschiropracticFor some years, researchers had believed that having cravings for a particular type of food may be an indication that you are missing a particular nutrient in your diet. For example, if you crave red meat then you may have an iron deficiency, or if you crave ice cream you must need calcium. Studies have shown, however, that cravings have nothing to do with a nutritional deficiency, but are actually caused by chemical signals in the brain. Nutritionist Karen Ansel says, “If cravings were an indicator of nutritional deficiency, we’d all crave fruits and vegetables. The fact that we all want high carb, high fat comfort foods, along with the research, is a pretty good indicator that cravings aren’t related to deficiencies.” Yes–it’s really all in your head.

When you crave a food, the same reward centers in the brain that are responsible for drug and alcohol addiction are more active: the hippocampus (memory), the insula (emotion and perception) and the caudate (memory and learning). These areas are all very receptive to dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that are responsible for feeling relaxed and calm and which spur reward-driven learning. The reason you crave things such as ice cream, potato chips and chocolate is that these items are full of fat and/or sugar. Both fat and sugar are involved in an increased production of serotonin and other chemicals that make us feel good.

There is a large societal aspect to cravings as well. For instance, women in Japan tend to crave sushi and only 6 percent of Egyptian women say they crave chocolate. Approximately half of American women claim that their cravings for chocolate reach a peak just before their period. However, research has found no correlation between fluctuations in women’s hormones and cravings. In fact, postmenopausal women do not report a large reduction in cravings from their premenopausal levels.

Studies have found that the more people try to deny their cravings, the greater the craving they have for the forbidden food. Researchers suggest that it is better to give in to the craving in a controlled way rather than denying yourself altogether. Just be sure to restrict what you consume to a reasonable amount. If your dopamine receptors are constantly bombarded with high-fat and high-sugar foods (or drugs and alcohol), they shut down to prevent an overload. This makes your cravings even greater and you end up eating more in an attempt get the same reward, but you never really feel satisfied.

Exercise and distraction are two good ways to reduce food cravings. One study found that a morning workout can reduce your cravings for the whole day. Smelling a non-food item can also help. Keep a small vial of your favorite perfume with you when a craving comes on and take a whiff when the craving hits you. It will occupy the aroma receptors that are involved in food cravings.

 

19
Nov
13

How Flexible Should I Be and How Can I Measure My Flexibility?


Low back pain SwisschiroWatching a dancer her leg to her nose is an impressive sight, and many of us can perform similar feats when we’re children. But we begin to lose flexibility as we age if we do not make a conscious effort to remain limber. Inactivity causes muscles to shorten and stiffen, and muscle mass is lost with increasing years as well. However, maintaining flexibility as we get older is of great importance, since it allows us to retain our mobility and reduces the likelihood of aches, sprains and falls as we age.

Optimal flexibility means the ability of each of your joints to move fully through their natural range of motion. Simple activities such as walking or bending over to tie your shoes can become major difficulties if your flexibility is limited. Unfortunately, sitting for hours at a desk, as so many are forced to do on a daily basis, eventually leads to a reduction in flexibility as the muscles shorten and tighten.

There are a number of different tests used to measure flexibility, but the one test that has been used as a standard for years is the sit and reach test. It measures the flexibility of your hamstrings and lower back. The simple home version of the test requires only a step (or a small box) and a ruler.

Before the test, warm up for about 10 minutes with some light aerobic activity and do a few stretches. Then place the ruler on the step, letting the end of it extend out a few inches over your toes, and note where the edge of the step comes to on the ruler. Sit on the floor with your feet extended in front of you, flat against the bottom step (or box). With your arms extended straight out in front of you and one hand on top of the other, gradually bend forward from the hips, keeping your back straight. (Rounding the back will give you a false result). Measure where your fingertips come to on the ruler. They should ideally be able to reach at least as far as the front of the step. Any measurement past the edge of the step is a bonus. No matter how far you can reach on the first measurement, do the test periodically and try to improve your score every few weeks.

If you find that you are less flexible than you should be, some regular stretching exercises combined with visits to your chiropractor can help to restore flexibility and improve range of motion, helping to ensure that you remain limber into older age.

 

18
Nov
13

What Exactly is “Ergonomics”?


Neck painThe term ergonomics stems from the Greek words ergon (work) and nomos (laws). According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, ergonomics is defined as “the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the working population.” Good ergonomics in the workplace is key to maintaining our body’s proper health and function, and it can have a major effect on the quality of our work.

Ergonomics involves the physical stressors in our workplace as well as related environmental factors. For example, physical stressors are any activities that put strain on the bones, joints and muscles. These can involve things such as performing repetitive motions, vibrations, working in awkward positions and actions using excessive force. Environmental factors that contribute to bad ergonomics include loud noise, bad indoor air quality and improper lighting.

Bad ergonomics can increase the risk of injury to the musculoskeletal system, causing conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and neck and back pain, as well as creating a range of other health problems, including sick building syndrome, eyestrain and hearing loss. However, there are steps you can take to improve your workplace ergonomics that can help reduce health risks.

Cumulative trauma disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis, are caused by repetitive motions such as typing. To prevent this, set up your computer workstation in a way that allows your hands and wrists to be in as neutral a position as possible. When sitting at your desk, your chair should be at a height where your eyes are level with the top of your computer screen, and your arms are at a 45-degree angle for typing. Ensure that your wrists are not angled up or down or to the left or right. If your desk is too high to keep your forearms straight, raise the height of your chair and use a footrest to keep your feet from dangling.

Your chair should be at a height where your feet are flat on the floor or on a footrest, while keeping your knees just slightly higher than the level of the seat. The chair should provide some light support to your lower back (use a pillow, if necessary) while allowing you to move freely. The arms of the chair should support your lower arms while letting your upper arms remain close to your torso.

To reduce eyestrain, adjust ambient lighting to diminish glare and adjust the brightness and contrast until your eyes are comfortable reading. If you are working in a noisy area, use earplugs or headphones that cut ambient sound (but not set loud enough to damage your hearing!).

Good ergonomics also involves taking frequent breaks. Move around, get some fresh air and focus your eyes on things at varying distances.

 

12
Nov
13

Applied Kinesiology Found To Benefit Chiropractic Patients with Urinary Incontinence


chiropractor Chapel Hill NCTwo American chiropractors have used applied kinesiology (AK) to aid the treatment of 21 patients experiencing urinary incontinence (UI), with considerable success.  Applied Kinesiology is a technique that uses the strength of a particular muscle (often a muscle in the arm) to diagnose problems in certain organs or in other parts of the body.  The practitioner places pressure on whichever of the patient’s muscles that corresponds the particular part of the body being assessed, and the amount of resistance it gives determines if there is a problem in that area.

Urinary incontinence affects 10% of men and 40% of women at some point in their lives, with women being particularly susceptible to UI following childbirth.  Current evidence suggests that weakness in the pelvic floor muscles, which leads to UI, can result from problems in other areas of the pelvis or lumbar spine as well as weakness in the pelvic floor itself.  Chiropractic manipulation may thus be of considerable benefit in correcting these problems with a concomitant improvement in the symptoms of UI.

Chiropractors Scott Cuthbert and Anthony Rossner assessed patients who had UI by using AK muscle testing to determine the presence and location of musculoskeletal disorders in the lumbar or pelvic regions.  The precise nature of the problem was then assessed by physical examination.  Muscle testing was again used to guide chiropractic manipulation treatment. Interventions that improved muscle strength were continued, and those that failed to do so were not pursued.  Patients were seen for up to thirteen treatments, and for no more than six weeks.

All of the patients treated experienced an improvement in UI symptoms, with nearly half (ten out of 21) reporting complete resolution of their condition following treatment.  It is particularly significant that ten of the patients had presented with long-standing symptoms of UI (at least five years, but greater than 40 years in two cases!).   Annual check-ups for at least two years confirmed that these improvements were maintained post-treatment.

In addition to positively demonstrating the benefit of using muscle testing techniques to aid with chiropractic diagnosis, this research is important in showing the relationship between UI symptoms and musculoskeletal weakness in parts of the lower back and pelvis.  A particular observation here was that the restricted breathing noted in many patients due to trauma to the diaphragm (and other muscle groups associated with inhalation such as the rectus abdominus and oblique abdominal muscles) was also found to impact on urinary continence.

This study suggests that combination of AK and chiropractic manipulation of the lower back and pelvis may be very helpful for patients with UI symptoms.  Please call us or visit our office with any questions.

 

12
Nov
13

Shoulder Arthritis Causes and Treatment Options


While we generally think of arthritis as being associated with old age, shoulder arthritis is not uncommon among younger people as well. Any injury to the shoulder, such as a dislocation or a fracture, can eventually lead to shoulder arthritis.

The shoulder consists of two main joints. The first is the glenohumoral joint. This is a ball-and-socket joint in which the head of the upper arm (humerus) fits into the glenoid cavity of the scapula (shoulder blade). The second is the acromioclavicular. This joint is formed by the meeting of the collarbone (clavicle) with the top of the scapula (acromion).

Hyaline cartilage located on the ends of these bones generally allows for movement of the arm in the socket without friction, but a loss of cartilage here can cause the bones to rub against each other. Although not as common as arthritis in other parts of the body, shoulder arthritis can be extremely uncomfortable and debilitating. The principal symptom of shoulder arthritis is steadily worsening pain, especially when the arm is moved.  However, patients with this condition are also likely to experience considerable stiffness in the joint and weakness at the shoulder. Sleeping may become difficult as the condition worsens, especially on the most affected side.

Shoulder arthritis may be caused by any of the following:

  1. Osteoarthritis.  This is the degenerative wearing of cartilage, especially at the acromioclavicular joint.
  2. Loss of cartilage through acute traumatic injury to the shoulder, such as from a car accident, particularly when there has been a tear to the rotator cuff.
  3. Rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own cartilage.

Both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis are more prevalent in older people (osteoarthritis in particular tends to occur in those over age 50).  It’s not surprising that the overall incidence of shoulder arthritis is increasing as the general population ages.

Initial management of shoulder arthritis is usually non-surgical. Possible treatment options include:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Targeted exercise programs to increase shoulder mobility
  • Heat and ice treatment
  • Nutritional supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which build cartilage and can slow joint degeneration
  • Rest and shoulder immobilization
  • Modifying shoulder movements to minimize irritation
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Corticosteroid injections and other medications may be used in the case of rheumatoid arthritis

The National Arthritis Foundation reports that regular chiropractic care can help prevent the damage caused by arthritis. Chiropractic treatment can help reduce pain and restore movement and increase range of motion in the shoulder joint.

In severe cases, surgery for shoulder arthritis can help to reduce pain and improve motion if non-surgical treatments are no longer working. Glenohumeral surgery can consist of either replacing just the head of the humerus with a prosthesis (hemiarthroplasty) or replacing the entire joint (both the humeral head and glenoid cavity, a total shoulder arthroplasty).

 

11
Nov
13

Fighting Back Against Insomnia


InsomniaDo you struggle to fall asleep at night?  Or do you find yourself wide awake at three in the morning staring up at the ceiling and wondering if you’ll fall back to sleep at all before your alarm goes off?  If you answered “yes”, you are not alone. Research has shown that up to 50 percent of the population suffers from sleep problems, with up to a third having struggled with it for at least a year.

The average adult requires a little over 8 hours of sleep each day.  However, very few people are able to manage that with lives that are more hectic than ever. Jobs, children and other obligations require us to be up with the birds and to go to bed far later than we would if we were following our own biological rhythm. A disruption to our circadian rhythm, which governs our hormone production, body temperature and sleep, can lead to insomnia.

We need adequate, restful sleep in order to perform at our best. Prolonged insomnia can cause mental fuzziness and interfere with how you perform your daily activities. It also increases your risk of depression, headaches, auto accidents, and can lead to substance abuse. Of course, worrying about the lack of sleep you are getting rarely helps you get more sleep! Stress, anxiety, and widespread use of coffee and alcohol are some of the greatest contributors to insomnia.

Learning how to manage stress effectively is one of the best ways to increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep, and making some changes to your lifestyle may make a difference in the number of hours of sleep you get. Following are some strategies you can use:

  • Get regular exercise before dinner, which can help put your body in a restful state by bedtime. Just be sure not to exercise too close to bedtime, as this will likely make you restless.
  • Try to get out in the late afternoon sun as often as possible to stimulate melatonin release, which will help get your circadian rhythm back on track.
  • Use stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation and Tai Chi, which are great ways to help teach your mind and body to relax.
  • Caffeine and smoking keep the body stimulated. Try to avoid them from mid-afternoon on, and keep your consumption of alcohol to a minimum.
  • Eat a small snack of protein with a complex carbohydrate just before bed, such as peanut butter on a whole-grain cracker. It can keep your blood sugar from dipping too low and waking you up in the night.
  • Keep to the same sleeping and waking schedule every day and don’t change it by more than an hour on weekends.
  • Avoid television or computer use at least an hour before bedtime, as it stimulates the brain, making it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool.
  • If you are lying awake for more than about 20 minutes, get up and go sit in another dimly lit room until you feel sleepy.

 

These strategies have proven useful for many people in getting them back to a regular sleeping rhythm. Give them a try — they may help you too!

 

 

11
Nov
13

Should You Have a Bone Density Test?


??????????Osteoporosis is one of the most prevalent conditions among older people. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, one in two women and one in four men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-induced fracture at some point in their lives.

A loss of bone mass becomes more common as we age, causing bones to become more brittle and increasing the risk of a fracture or break. Many fractures that occur are asymptomatic.  However, some may cause shooting pain or chronic pain in areas such as the back, where a fracture will only be evident on imaging tests. A bone density test can be a very useful tool for helping to keep your chances of having a fracture to a minimum.

There are a few good reasons why you may want to have a bone density test. First, it can tell you if you have osteoporosis or if your bones are weak before you experience a break or fracture; second, it can predict the likelihood of you experiencing a break in the future; and third, it can measure if your bone density is getting better or worse based on any actions you are taking (such as medications or exercise).

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that people who are likely to be at greater risk for osteoporosis have a bone density test done.  You should consider having one if any of the following descriptions apply to you:

  • You are a woman age 65 or older
  • You are a postmenopausal women under age 65 with risk factors
  • You are a women of menopausal age with risk factors
  • You are a man age 70 or older
  • You are a man between the ages of  50 and 69 with risk factors
  • You have broken a bone after the age of 50
  • An x-ray has shown a break or bone loss in your spine
  • You have back pain that may indicate a break
  • You have lost ½ inch or more of height in one year
  • You have lost 1 ½ inches from your full grown height

 

The bone density test uses a DXA machine (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) to measure the density of bone in your hip and spine, and occasionally other bones, depending on your particular situation. The density of the hip and spine is measured because these are the bones most likely to break with osteoporosis, and because breaks in these areas are also among the most debilitating. The test is painless and non-invasive and is performed with the patient fully clothed. It takes about 15 minutes and the level of radiation from the machine is minimal.

If you feel you fit into any of the at-risk categories above, it may be beneficial for you to have a bone density test done so you and your health provider can develop strategies to reduce your chances of breaking or fracturing a bone.

 

07
Nov
13

Dowager’s Hump Causes and Treatment Options


Camel. Ship Of DesertAlthough the name “Dowager’s Hump” implies that this condition is one that affects elderly women (which it primarily does), it can also affect anyone who spends a lot of time hunched over or who has a severe case of osteoporosis, including men. The medical term for Dowager’s Hump is hyperkyphosis, which is an increase in the forward curvature of the lower cervical and upper thoracic spine. It is a condition that can either be relatively painless or can cause considerable pain and discomfort.

Dowager’s hump is common in people with osteoporosis and is usually due to what is called a wedge fracture. This is when the front part of the vertebra (the side facing your chest) collapses. This causes the vertebra to tilt forward, which forces the back to curve and the head to jut forward. In some cases the curvature is so severe that it forces the head to look downward. It can become a sort of domino effect, with the collapsed vertebra tilting and putting pressure on the one below, until it too subsequently fractures and tilts, etc. In advanced osteoporosis, the bones of the vertebrae can become so porous that they may fracture as a result of lifting something or doing something as simple as coughing or sneezing.

A wedge fracture does not necessarily cause pain, and the first signs of it may be a loss in height or an obvious rounding of the upper back. Other people are more likely to see it before the person suffering from the disorder, as we do not generally see ourselves from the side. Someone with hyperkyphosis may also experience neck pain, breathing difficulties, rib pain and loss of appetite. Symptoms may be worse when coughing or sneezing and may be relieved when lying down.

Those with mild cases of hyperkyphosis may find some relief through yoga. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that elderly women with Dowager’s Hump who took yoga classes three times a week for six months had a slight reduction in the curvature of their spine. In situations where Dowager’s Hump is more severe and is causing pain, there are also more invasive treatments available. The surgical treatments vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty involve the injection of cement into the vertebrae to restore their height, reducing pain and spinal curvature.

The best treatment, however, is prevention, which involves strengthening the bones as much as possible and preventing bone loss by eating a healthy diet and getting regular weight-bearing exercise. Maintaining correct posture is also important, as habitual slumping (such as when you use a laptop or when sitting at a desk) eventually causes muscle imbalances, and the muscles and ligaments supporting the spinal column weaken, putting additional pressure on the vertebrae, allowing them to slip out of place. Regular chiropractic adjustments can help keep the vertebrae aligned, along with exercise to strengthen the supporting muscles.

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

09
Sep
13

Risks of Mixing Drugs with Herbal, Dietary and Energy Supplements


??????????????In the past several decades, the number of people taking herbal, dietary and energy supplements has increased exponentially. Whereas, prior to the late 1980s, most patients were unlikely to be supplementing with anything other than multivitamins, now a doctor must expect the majority of the population to have read about their condition on the Internet and be using whatever complementary remedies they think might help, with or without expert guidance. Once seen as natural and harmless, it is now clear that herbal supplements, dietary supplements and energy supplements can interact with conventional medications just as conventional medications can interact with each other.

It is important to note that many complementary medicines are quite safe to take alongside most forms of pharmaceutical drugs, and a cup of nettle or chamomile tea together with your morning pill of whatever form is not going to have any deleterious effect. However, a little awareness goes a long way and it is good to know of the more serious risks of mixing conventional drugs with supplementary remedies.

The risks of taking medications together, whether conventional or complementary, are threefold:

1. The action of the drug, or supplement, may be increased

2. The action of the drug, or supplement, may be reduced

3. The rate and degree at which the drug or supplement is absorbed or eliminated may be altered.

Medications are prescribed at a certain dose in order to achieve a specific effect, so increasing or reducing the effectiveness of a medicine is potentially risky, especially in the case of life sustaining treatments. Many conventional medicines are based on chemicals that are also found in plants, so herbal medicines taken for a particular disease may have the same action as a pharmaceutical taken for the same reason and can result in an effective overdose.

One example of this is aspirin, which was originally derived from plants and herbal anti-inflammatories containing salicylic acid, the active ingredient of aspirin. Such herbs include willow bark, meadowsweet and wintergreen.  Salicylic acid is toxic in large quantities, so these herbs should clearly be avoided if taking aspirin.

Other examples of interactions that increase the effect of medications include taking kelp with drugs for hypothyroidism and herbal diuretics such as dandelion, globe artichoke and celery seed with diuretic drugs. Niacin (vitamin B3), calcium and/or magnesium taken in combination with hypotensive pills can lead to a greater than expected drop in blood pressure. Except under expert guidance, the blood thinner Warfarin should never be taken with a medication that decreases blood clotting, whether conventional or complementary, due to the risk of hemorrhage. Supplements such as cayenne, garlic, feverfew, willow bark, St John’s wort and the drug aspirin all fall into this category. Hawthorn berries increase the action of digoxin on the heart, with potentially fatal effects, and the adaptogen herb Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus) also increases digoxin levels in the blood.

Examples of drug and supplement combinations that can decrease the effectiveness of either are taking supplements that stimulate the immune system such as zinc, Astragalus and Echinacea with corticosteroids intended to suppress the immune system, as they are working in opposite directions. Also, remedies with a hyperglycemic (blood sugar raising) action such as celery seed, Bupleurum, rosemary and Gotu kola can counteract the hypoglycemic (blood sugar reducing) work of diabetic drugs. High doses of vitamins A, C and K can all decrease the anticoagulant activity of Warfarin.

If the absorption or elimination of a drug or supplement is altered due to taking something else at the same time, its effectiveness may be at risk. The drug may either be absorbed too quickly or excreted before it has a chance to work. Diuretic remedies are particularly problematic, because of increased elimination, and herbs with this effect include juniper, dandelion, celery seed and licorice. These are certainly to be avoided when taking lithium. Grapefruit juice, while not really a supplement, is also a concern when taken with several drugs, such as hypotensives and the immunosuppressant Cyclosporine, since it reduces the breakdown of the medicine in the body.

Although a comprehensive treatment of the risk of mixing conventional medicines and nutritional and herbal supplements is well outside the intention of this short article, it is hoped that this article serves to communicate the potential problems that may arise and some of the more well-known bad combinations. You should always consult your doctor before taking any combination of drugs and supplements. For further information, there are a number of websites that may prove valuable in flagging most of the riskiest drug-herb-supplement interactions. These include Herb-Drug interactions at i-care.net (http://www.i-care.net/herbdrug.htm), the herb and supplement database at Medline, which includes known drug interactions (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/herb_All.html) and a paper on herb-drug interactions published in The Lancet (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10675182).

Dr. P. Dubois, CCSP, DC.

 

09
Sep
13

How Chiropractic Care Has Helped Me: Introducing Brigadier General Becky Halstead


 

Can chiropractic help?Retired Brigadier General Becky Halstead is no stranger to pain. She spent her entire adult life in the military, and was the first female graduate from West Point to become a general officer. She has seen battle all over the world, including in Iraq. But she has also fought her own personal battle—with fibromyalgia.

 

Fibromyalgia is a condition that is still not fully understood, but it involves symptoms that include headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, anxiety and depression. “It’s as if your whole body is a bruise … You hurt everywhere,” Halstead says. Even something as simple as showering was painful. “The water hitting your skin, it would feel like it was tearing.”

 

The conventional treatment for fibromyalgia involves pharmaceuticals, which Halstead took for a number of years. However, the drugs have only limited effectiveness, and she did not want them to affect her job. She said “I knew it wasn’t going to kill me—I was just in pain, so I took myself off all prescription drugs when I went into combat. I was in charge of 20,000 soldiers. That’s a huge command, a huge responsibility. I wasn’t going to have someone doubt or wonder whether the prescriptions influenced me or my decisions.”

 

However, it became impossible to continue in the military while dealing with debilitating pain, so she retired from the army in 2008. It was then that she began semi-monthly visits to a chiropractor, and that’s when her health began to turn around. Within a year of beginning chiropractic treatment, she was able to discontinue taking pharmaceuticals entirely by combining regular chiropractic spinal adjustments with nutritional supplements.

 

Halstead says of chiropractic care and how it has helped her, “It’s not like you’re cured, but you feel so much better. They set me on a path of getting well. I’m the healthiest I’ve been in 10 years. I was taking eight or 10 prescription drugs in 2008. The more I went to the chiropractor, the less prescriptions I needed.” She continued, “When I retired, my pain was easily a 9 or 10 (on a 10-point scale) every single day. My pain now is a 2 or 3, and maybe even sometimes a 1. I don’t think I’ve hit a 10 since I started regularly seeing a chiropractor.”

 

“If I had known how much chiropractic care would help me when I was a commander in Iraq and in the United States, I could have taken better care of my soldiers.” Although chiropractic care for military personnel was approved by congress, there are still many treatment facilities that do not have a chiropractor on staff, which Halstead would like to see changed.

 

“Until we’ve done that we have not fulfilled our leadership responsibility,” Halstead said. “If you want to help them, see a congressman and ask ‘aren’t our men and women getting these benefits?’ I’m not a chiropractor I’m a satisfied patient, a beneficiary of their talented hands, minds, and hearts. Go find yourself a chiropractor and change your life!”

 

 

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

 

Dr.Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

http://www.omaha.com/article/20130316/LIVEWELL01/703179900

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t22AVZ44z3A (first of a 4-part series)

 

 

 

 

03
Sep
13

Biceps Tendonitis Causes and Treatment Options


??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The aches and pains of biceps tendonitis can seriously interfere with your daily activities. It is often surprising to people to realize just how much they use their biceps in the course of a day, whether they’re picking up a bag of groceries or just brushing their teeth.

The biceps brachii muscle originates on the scapula (shoulder blade) and crosses both the shoulder and elbow joints, eventually attaching to the upper forearm. Its main function is the flexion and supination (twisting the palm to the front) of the forearm, but it also helps lift the shoulder. Weight trainers will be very familiar with the bicep curl, in which the muscle is strengthened through repeated lifting of a weight in the hand through alternately flexing and extending at the elbow.

Repeated overuse of the biceps muscle can lead to inflammation of the tendon, causing tendonitis. People who practice sports with repetitive ‘overhead’ actions such as tennis, baseball and javelin throwing are at greater risk for the development of tendonitis, as are those with any kind of job or activity that involves similar repetitive movements of the shoulder. Bicep tendonitis may also often occur in combination with other shoulder problems such as rotator cuff tears, arthritis of the shoulder, shoulder instability, tears of the glenoid labrum and shoulder impingement (inflammation of the rotator cuff).

Patients with biceps tendonitis usually report feeling pain in the front of the shoulder and sometimes in the biceps muscle itself. This is made worse through overhead motion and improved by resting the arm and shoulder. The arm may feel weak when bending the elbow or turning the palm upwards. If you experience any of these symptoms, it would be wise to visit your doctor or chiropractor.

Biceps tendonitis is a common condition seen by chiropractors, and your practitioner will want to make a thorough examination of you and your medical history in order to determine whether your condition is tendonitis or some other condition, and if there are any co-occurring injuries. X-rays are rarely used initially, but may be called for later if the shoulder is not responding to treatment.

If you are diagnosed with biceps tendonitis, a range of treatment options are available. Nonsurgical interventions are the preferred first choice of chiropractors. Resting the shoulder and avoiding exacerbating activity may be suggested in combination with other strategies such as anti-inflammatory medication and ice packs to reduce pain and swelling. Any co-morbid conditions contributing to the inflammation will also need to be treated. In extreme cases, cortisone injections may be prescribed.

The most commonly employed surgical treatment for bicep tendonitis is acromioplasty, particularly in cases where shoulder impingement is also a problem. Acromioplasty is the removal of a small piece of the acromion (a bony protuberance of the shoulder blade), which gives more space between the head of the humerus and acromion itself, relieving pressure on the tendon and other soft tissues.

Biceps tenodesis is another surgical technique that may be utilized to treat tendonitis. In this surgery, the top of the biceps tendon is reattached to a new location. The technique has not, however, met with great success in treating tendonitis patients but may be necessary in cases where there is degeneration of the tendon or when extensive shoulder reconstruction is required.

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

02
Sep
13

How Does Sigma Instrument® Adjusting Work?


Sigma InstrumentAs technology advances, so do chiropractic techniques. Instrument adjusting has become the fastest growing form of chiropractic manipulation due to its ease of use for the chiropractic practitioner and the safety to the patient. It can take quite a bit of effort to perform a proper chiropractic adjustment, and most chiropractors can attest to having suffered any number of shoulder, back and wrist injuries from treating patients over the course of their practice.

A Sigma Instrument® adjustment involves the use of one of these special instruments. It has an appearance similar to a drill, and is held in a similar manner. What it does is produce a speedy thrust and recoil motion, similar to the way a chiropractor uses their hands to adjust the vertebrae in your back. The benefit of the instrument is that it performs this high-velocity, low-amplitude motion 12 times per second, and is targeted to a very small area. The force of the thrust radiates through the joint and the tissues that surround it, releasing trigger points that are often the cause of muscle spasms.

As opposed to traditional chiropractic adjustment techniques, use of the Sigma Instrument® does not cause the same popping and cracking noises in the joint that can make some people feel uneasy. It is a gentle, mechanical method of easing the joints back into alignment that is basically an extension of the chiropractor’s hands. Your chiropractor can exert just the right amount of pressure needed by adjusting the force of the thrust up or down from merely a few ounces all the way up to 40 pounds, and it works on a wide range of body areas, not only on the spine.

Several studies have shown that instrument adjusting is just as effective as traditional chiropractic techniques for easing pain and increasing range of motion in patients who have sought chiropractic care. Its speed, gentleness and accuracy are also recommended for populations that may have trouble with the use of traditional chiropractic techniques, such as children and the elderly.

The Sigma Instrument’s® movement stimulates the patient’s special sensory nerve receptors, called proprioceptors, which are responsible for detecting the proper motion and alignment of the body’s muscles and joints, signaling that all is well; however, at the same time it avoids stimulating the nociceptors, the sensory nerve receptors responsible for sending pain signals to the central nervous system.

The use of instrument adjusting, such as with the Sigma Instrument®, allows for fewer side-effects and less post-treatment muscle soreness. If this seems like a form of treatment you may be interested in, consult with your chiropractor and ask if it may be possible to incorporate Sigma Instrument® adjusting into your treatment regime.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

19
Aug
13

When Are Antibiotics Appropriate and When Should I Avoid Using Them?


People are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers that can result from the overuse of antibiotics. When antibiotics were first antibodies-200-300discovered in the early 20th century, researchers believed that they had found the key to conquering many deadly diseases. Since that time, antibiotics have certainly helped to cure diseases that once wiped out large parts of the population. However, there is growing evidence that antibiotics are now being used too frequently, and that they are often being used in inappropriate circumstances. This has led to many previously curable diseases becoming antibiotic-resistant, which means that a cure now requires the use far stronger antibiotics. In fact, some diseases have now become resistant to nearly all antibiotics. It is obvious that if antibiotic use continues in this way, we may have a major health crisis on our hands.

The first thing to be aware of is that antibiotics are not effective in the treatment of viruses. They only treat bacterial infections, certain fungal infections and parasites. For diseases such as the common cold, flu or bronchitis, antibiotics are completely ineffective and their use in cases such as these will only contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. You should not ask your doctor to prescribe antibiotics if you have a sore throat or the stomach flu, for instance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibiotics were prescribed for an acute respiratory infection in 68% of visits to the doctor. However, 80% of those prescriptions were unnecessary.

Antibiotics are often an appropriate treatment for conditions such as severe sinus infections that last longer than two weeks, ear infections, bladder infections and skin infections. These are frequently due to a bacterial or fungal infection, and treating them with antibiotics is effective.

If you have been prescribed an antibiotic, it is very important that you take it exactly as directed by your physician. If your symptoms happen to clear up before the entire course of antibiotics is completed, you must still continue to take them as prescribed. This is because there may still be a few lingering bacteria in your system, and—if they are not all killed—the strongest ones may survive to produce new generations of ever stronger bacteria that might make current antibiotics less effective.

Some doctors feel pressured by their patients to prescribe something, whether it’s really going to be helpful or not. A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that pediatricians will prescribe antibiotics for children 62% of the time if parents expect them to, and only 7% of the time if the parents do not expect an antibiotic prescription. Do not put pressure on your doctor to prescribe antibiotics for your condition. He or she is the best judge as to whether antibiotics are appropriate.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

 

17
Aug
13

The Benefits of Potassium


As the third most common mineral in the body, potassium is responsible for supporting a wide range of bodily activities. Without ???????sufficient potassium, the heart, brain, kidneys and muscles would not function properly. However, the Western diet’s preponderance of processed foods has created a population with a growing risk of potassium deficiency.

Potassium is an electrolyte that is crucial to the body’s electrical circuitry so that proper signals are conducted to and from the brain and between cells. It works in conjunction with the minerals sodium, calcium, chloride and magnesium. Simply moving a muscle requires potassium. Potassium helps to regulate the heart, which is triggered by potassium to contract, squeezing blood through the body a hundred thousand times each day.

In addition to keeping our muscles and heart in good working condition, potassium is also responsible for healthy bone maintenance, protecting against osteoporosis, reducing high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and helping the kidneys to filter blood. It can also reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and keeps the body’s water levels balanced.

The recommended daily intake of potassium is as follows:

Infants birth – 6 months: 400 mg/day

Infants 7 – 12 months: 700 mg/day

Children 1 -3 years: 3,000 mg/day

Children 4 – 8 years: 3,800 mg/day

Children 9 – 13 years: 4,500 mg/day

Adolescents and Adults 19 years and older: 4,700 mg/day

Breastfeeding women: 5,100 mg/day

Most Americans are potassium deficient. “Relying on convenience and restaurant foods and not eating enough fruits and vegetables is why so many people don’t get enough potassium. Fresh and lightly processed foods, including dairy and meat, have the most potassium,” according to registered dietitian, Marla Heller.

An excess of sodium in the diet (which is common among Americans) can increase the amount of potassium you need. Others at risk of potassium deficiency (hypokalemia) are those who experience diarrhea, vomiting, malabsorption syndromes (such as Crohn’s disease) and excessive sweating. Alcoholics, smokers, drug users, athletes (or anyone who uses their muscles excessively), and those who use diuretics are also prone to hypokalemia. Symptoms include irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps, irritability, chronic diarrhea, weakness and stomach problems.

Food sources abundant in potassium are meat, poultry, fish (cod, salmon, and flounder), dairy products, legumes and fruits and vegetables (particularly bananas, citrus, avocados, tomatoes, potatoes and green leafy vegetables such as Swiss chard). Cooking destroys potassium, so try to eat potassium-rich foods either raw or minimally cooked (lightly steamed or roasted).

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

16
Aug
13

Cleansing: What Does the Science Really Say?


Cleansing, sometimes also referred to as detoxification, has been all the rage in recent years among those interested in alternative preparation teamedicine. The theory is that the body accumulates toxins from the environment in the form of pollution, processed foods and food additives (and even sometimes toxins created by the body itself), so a “body cleanse” or “detox” is necessary to rid ourselves of these harmful toxins. Those who promote detox programs have developed special diets along with a host of (often costly). Colon cleanses are another form of body detoxification that is popular in some alternative medicine circles. But scientific evidence shows that special cleansing regimes do not provide any additional health benefits, and in some cases may even be dangerous.

A noted epidemiologist from the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Frank Sacks, says of cleansing, “There is no basis in human biology that indicates we need fasting or any other detox formula to detoxify the body because we have our own internal organs and immune system that take care of excreting toxins.” Our bodies are expert at getting rid of unwanted substances.

Colon cleansing dates back to the days of ancient Egypt where it was thought that material in the intestines could poison the body. This theory became popular again in the late 19th century when the term “autointoxication” was coined, which led to resurgence in the use of enemas in perfectly healthy people. However, a study performed by Dr. Ranit Mishori and colleagues at Washington D.C.’s Georgetown University found that colon cleanses could actually be harmful for many people, causing nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

First of all, there is no way by which toxins can be absorbed into the blood through the colon. Almost all nutrient absorption takes place in the small intestine, and any toxins that have been excreted by the liver and kidneys is efficiently expelled in the urine and feces. Meanwhile, injecting fluid into the colon in the form of an enema or colonic on a regular basis not only does not aid your body in clearing toxins, but it can remove beneficial bacteria, in addition to robbing your body of much-needed electrolytes. Also, regular colon cleanses can interfere with your body’s ability to create normal bowel movements, so you become dependent on enemas.

Most doctors agree that fasting or pursuing an extreme detox diet is detrimental to long-term health. The body starved of nutrients does not operate efficiently, and will go into conservation mode. This means that your metabolism will slow down and any of the water weight you lost in the initial days of the diet (very little of the weight lost in fasting is fat) will come back in the form of accumulated fat once you start eating again, as your body will be burning fewer calories.

There is no doubt that eating processed foods filled with chemical additives and preservatives is not good for health. But you don’t need to go on a special detox diet to improve your health. Simply drink plenty of water and substitute fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, moderate amounts of fish and organic meat for the processed foods you are now eating. Your body will take care of getting rid of any toxins you may have ingested and you will be healthier without having to spend money for a special diet that makes you feel miserable and could even be harmful to your health.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

16
Aug
13

Occupational Health and Safety: Tips for Construction Workers


According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there were 721 fatal accidents on construction sites in 2011, accounting for 17.5% of all worker fatalities that year. The leading causes of death to workers on construction sites were falls, Construction siteelectrocution, being struck by an object and becoming trapped. OSHA estimates that by eliminating these four primary causes, approximately 400 lives would be saved every year. And it’s not just worksite accidents that can be dangerous to construction workers’ health—bad ergonomics and exposure to toxic materials can also pose risks. Following are some health tips for construction workers to help avoid these hazards.

To reduce falls from scaffolds, ladders and roofs:

  • Be sure you are trained in the proper use of all equipment and ensure that equipment is thoroughly inspected before each shift.
  • Check that the weight placed on ladders and scaffolding does not exceed the recommended limits.
  • Do not step or sit on a skylight if you are working on a roof, as there is a chance that it may not bear your weight.
  • Check for unsecure shingles or roof tiles that can cause you to lose your footing.
  • Placing safety netting below any roof openings can save someone’s life in the event of a fall.

To avoid electrocution:

  • Be sure to turn off the power before working on any electrical equipment.
  • Wear insulated rubber gloves and boots when working in wet or damp conditions.
  • All electrical cords should have grounding plugs and any frayed cords should be replaced.
  • Ensure that equipment such as ladders and scaffolds never come within 10 feet of electrical power lines.

To avoid toxic materials:

  • Wear protective equipment when working on sites that may contain lead paint. Bridges, tunnels and elevated highways were all commonly painted with lead-based materials. Have your blood tested periodically to ensure that levels of lead in your blood are within normal range.
  • Wear a face mask to keep from breathing in toxic fumes when working with tar or asphalt to reduce skin, eye and respiratory irritation.
  • When working around stonecutting, paint, lacquer or asbestos you should wear a respirator.

To avoid ergonomic injuries:

  • When lifting, be sure to bend your knees and keep your hips and shoulders aligned. Do not round your back or twist when lifting, as it may cause a back injury.
  • Make sure your tool belt is balanced. Extra weight on one side of the belt can pull your body out of alignment, increasing the risk of injury.
  • Sit on a sturdy stool when working at lower levels rather than kneeling or squatting.
  • Choose ergonomic tools that are light and properly balanced
  • Keep your wrists in a neutral position when working rather than having them flexed forward or backward. This will help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

15
Aug
13

Pros and Cons of Drinking Fruit Juice


Look on any supermarket’s shelves these days and you’ll see a huge variety of fruit juices, far more than were ever seen in our parents’ day. Orange juice (or occasionally grapefruit, apple or tomato juice) was the juice that typically appeared on most American breakfast???????????? tables. Now, it is possible to get juices in all manner of combinations, including such exotic fruits as mango, guava, pomegranate, goji berry and more. And although many of these juices have a healthy serving of vitamins and minerals, they also may have their fair share of calories and sugar. So is fruit juice good for us or not? Following are some of the pros and cons of drinking fruit juice.

Pros:

Easy way to get fruit – One 4-ounce glass of fruit juice counts for one full serving of fruit, so if you are too rushed to eat an apple you can down some juice. While fruit juice does not contain the fiber that makes eating the whole fruit so healthy, it is still better than getting no fruit at all.

Good source of vitamins and antioxidants – One glass of orange or grapefruit juice can supply more than your daily requirement of vitamin C, boosting your immune system and providing you with free-radical-fighting antioxidants. It is also an excellent source of folic acid (which prevents birth defects and is good for heart health) and potassium (which helps to regulate blood pressure).

Cons:

High in calories – Pam Birkenfeld, as pediatric nutritionist at New York’s Nassau University Medical Center says, “Parents tend to think that because fruit juice is fat-free and comes from nature, it’s OK. But what they often don’t realize is that it is a very concentrated source of calories that generally does not fill you up, just out.” There is an average of 140 calories in an 8-ounce glass of fruit juice. If you consume a few glasses each day, those calories can add up. In contrast, an orange has only about 60 calories.

High in sugar – Our increased consumption of sugar has been implicated as being a major contributor to the skyrocketing rates of obesity observed in the Western world. Studies have shown that children who are overweight drink 65 percent more sugary juices than children of normal weight. Some juices contain more sugar that sweetened soft drinks. Grape juice, for example, has 50 percent more sugar than Coca Cola.

Bad for your teeth – One study found an 84% reduction in the hardness of tooth enamel after drinking orange juice for just five days. Researchers believe other juices may have a similar effect, as their acidity is similar. Tooth decay and cavities in children as young as two or three years old have become commonplace, and dentists point to the increased intake of fruit juice as the cause. The combination of acid and sugar is the perfect storm for tooth decay. Experts advise that children drink fruit juice no more than once a day, and instead drink milk or water. If fruit juice is taken, it can be watered down to dilute the acid concentration.

By weighing these pros and cons you can decide for yourself how much juice you and your family should drink to get the benefits of drinking fruit juice while minimizing the drawbacks.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

14
Aug
13

“Exercise” Versus “Lifestyle Activity”: How Active Are You—Really?


If you are like most people, working out just for the sake of working out does not really appeal (although there are many dedicated gymcanot buffs who couldn’t live without their daily workouts!). We all know that it’s important to exercise regularly if we want to live a long and healthy life. However, if you find the idea of trotting along on a treadmill for 15 minutes and then spending half an hour of working out on Nautilus machines to be about as exciting as a trip to the dentist, then this article is for you!

Experts recommend that we get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week to stay in shape. But many people find taking this much exercise at once (or in three 50-minute stretches) too daunting. The good news is that a recent study conducted by researchers at Boston University that was published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that bouts of exercise lasting less than 10 minutes a couple of times daily, such as the kind you get when cleaning the house, were sufficient to meet your weekly exercise needs.

Over 2,000 participants were included in the study, more than half of whom were overweight. Motion detectors were attached to each of the subjects for eight days, and an average of half the participants met their weekly exercise quota of 150 minutes. The average participant met his or her quota with exercise that lasted less than 10 minutes at a time. The types of exercise ranged from moderate (heavy cleaning, walking briskly and sports such as golf and badminton) to vigorous (running, hiking, shoveling and farm work).

As long as the participants met their 150-minute per week quota, no matter the length of their exercise, they had lower body mass index, smaller waists, lower triglycerides and better cholesterol levels than those who did not meet the quota. Assistant professor at Boston University’s School of Medicine, Nicole Glazer, says “But this study really speaks to the idea that some activity is better than nothing. Parking a little bit farther away, getting off the bus one stop early—all of these little things can add up and are related to a healthier profile.”

For years, researchers have studied the effects of exercise from practicing sports or visiting the gym. However, according to Glazer, “This idea of lifestyle activity is one that is under-measured in research studies.” Activities such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, using a push mower instead of a riding mower, etc. can add up to a significant amount of energy expenditure. Experts still stress that it’s important to also get in some traditional forms of exercise and not merely replace it with lifestyle activity. Still, any exercise is useful.

“The levels of sedentary behavior in this country are alarming. So the concern that someone’s going to stop exercising and instead just get off the bus a stop earlier, that’s not my concern,” Glazer says. “The real concern is, is this a stepping-stone? Is this the way we can get inactive people to do any sort of activity? People will come up with any excuse to not exercise. I don’t need to worry about my giving them one. They’ll be able to think of something.”

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

13
Aug
13

Hiccups Explained


Everyone has had hiccups at one time or another. The ability to hiccup begins at a very early age. Fetuses of less than 28 weeks have beenlaughing-girl-question-200-300 shown to hiccup, and this ability continues throughout childhood and into old age. It is believed to be one of the evolutionary remnants of our amphibian origins. Amphibians have a simple motor reflex similar to hiccupping in order to draw air and water across their gills. In the human fetus, the neural pathways that create hiccups are the precursors of the ones used for the development of lung ventilation.

The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle lying beneath the lungs that separates the abdomen from the chest cavity. When the diaphragm involuntarily contracts, there is a quick intake of breath accompanied by a near simultaneous snapping shut of the vocal cords, which is what causes the characteristic “hic” sound of the hiccup. A hiccup is also sometimes referred to as a sigultus or a synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (SDF).

Hiccups occur singly or in groups, and groups of hiccups occur in regular rhythm. Although hiccups usually last only a few minutes, there are instances in which it can continue for longer periods. If you have hiccups that last longer than 48 hours, you should consult with your physician, as it is may be an indication of an underlying illness. Eighty percent of chronic hiccups are due to a physical cause, and the remaining 20 percent may have psychological origins.

According to Guinness World Records, the record for the longest attack of hiccups belongs to the late Charles Osborne, who began hiccupping in 1922 when weighing a hog. They continued for 68 years, finally stopping in 1990, the year before his death.

There are a number of different causes of hiccups, including:

  • Eating or drinking too quickly, or drinking carbonated beverages, which introduces air into the stomach
  • Eating spicy or fatty food, which can irritate the diaphragm, causing it to spasm
  • Medications such as those to treat acid reflux and anti-anxiety drugs
  • Smoking
  • Irritation of the nerves in the head, neck or chest
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Central nervous system disorders
  • Stokes and brain tumors
  • Mental disorders

 

Increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the blood has been shown to inhibit hiccups, thus the origin of some of the hiccup “cures” that are reputed to work. Possible cures for hiccups include the following:

  • Hold your breath and count slowly to 10, then gradually exhale
  • Breathe into a paper bag or into your cupped hands for a minute
  • Sip a glass of water, taking small, quick gulps
  • Eat a spoonful of honey or peanut butter
  • Gargle with water

Hiccups are usually a passing irritation that makes speaking and eating inconvenient. However, in most cases they will disappear unaided in just a few minutes.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

13
Aug
13

Spotlight on Massage and Lower Back Pain


According to the National Institutes of Health, lower back pain is the second most common form of chronic pain after headaches. Expertssirene tropicale estimate that approximately 80% of Americans will seek help for low back pain at some point during their lives. Public health officials and insurers estimate that Americans spend $50 billion each year on treatments that are often ineffective. The standard treatment for lower back pain is to take muscle relaxants, painkillers or anti-inflammatory medications, along with physical therapy and back exercises. However, few medical interventions relieve pain reliably, and continuing to take painkillers on a long-term basis is not advised. Massage, on the other hand, has been found to be an effective way of dealing with back pain on a regular basis.

Treatment for lower back pain accounts for approximately a third of all visits to a massage therapist. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that patients suffering from lower back pain of unknown origin were helped more by massage than by conventional medical treatment. Of 401 total study participants, 133 received traditional medical care with no massage, 132 received structural massage (which addresses particular muscular and skeletal structures that cause pain) and 36 received relaxation massage (a general form of massage, such as Swedish, intended for overall relaxation).

Participants in the massage groups received one hour-long massage once a week for 10 weeks. All participants completed a questionnaire at the beginning of the study, then again at 10 weeks, 24 weeks and a year after the beginning of the study to report on their perceived pain. Both kinds of massage groups reported greater pain relief and ease of motion after 10 weeks of treatment than the medical group.

An average of 37% of the patients in the massage groups reported that their pain was almost or completely gone, while only 4% of the usual care group reported similar results. This was also the case at 26 weeks. However, at the one-year mark, the benefits to all groups were about equal. The type of massage used did not seem to matter, with both massage groups experiencing comparable levels of pain relief. The massage groups were less likely to report having used medication for their back pain after the 10 weeks of intervention, and they also reported having spent fewer days in bed and had lost fewer days of work or school than those in the usual care group.

Dr. Richard A. Deyo, professor of family medicine at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland says of the study, “I think this trial is good news in the sense that it suggests that massage is a useful option that helps some substantial fraction of these patients. Like in most other treatments, this is not a slam dunk, and it’s not like a cure, but it’s something that seems to offer a significant benefit for a substantial number of patients.” Deyo sees massage as a way of people being able to break out of the pain-inactivity cycle. He notes, “I don’t see massage as the final solution, I see it as maybe a helpful step toward getting people more active.”

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

12
Aug
13

Chiropractic Care in the Workplace: Trucking


According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, truck drivers top the list of professionals who lose the most time from work due to work-related injury. There are approximately 2.5 million long-haul truck drivers licensed in the US, and musculoskeletal truckdriver-200-300injuries are the greatest problem, particularly lower back pain.

Truck driving is literally back-breaking work—and this isn’t just because of the long hours sitting behind the wheel. First of all, truck drivers are exposed to continual vibration and bouncing, which can cause trauma to the muscles, tendons, joints and nerves of the entire musculoskeletal system. Add to this the loading and unloading of heavy items from the truck, and attaching and detaching the trailer and you have the perfect recipe for developing a work-related injury. Even getting out of the cab can be problematic, as one of the most common causes of injuries to the upper extremities in truck drivers comes from slipping off the truck step and grabbing the hand bar to keep from falling. This causes damage to the A/C joint, elbow and rotator cuff.

For truckers, getting chiropractic care can mean the difference between staying comfortably on the road and being laid up in bed for days at a time with back pain and other injuries. Luckily, more chiropractors are setting up offices at truck stops across the country, which allows truckers to get chiropractic treatment while they are on the road.

Dr. Jerry Singh established a chiropractic office at the 230 truck stop in Woodstock, Ontario, just outside of Toronto, Canada, because he saw an unmet need. Although chiropractic services at truck stops are becoming more common in the US, Singh’s practice was the first in Canada. He says that it makes sense for trucking companies to ensure that their drivers get chiropractic care. “Drivers who are healthy actually ‘drive’ a trucking company towards an inevitable increase in productivity, decreased missed workdays, diminished WSIB claims and a generally happier work force,” Singh said. “The bottom line is clear ­– a healthier corporate mindset for prevention will translate into healthier profits.”

Trucker Erwin Daugherty takes advantage of chiropractic services whenever he can. Daugherty said “I’d visit a chiropractor weekly if I could.” The convenience of having a chiropractor at a truck stop makes a big difference. He has located a number of chiropractic offices along his route and says, “If I simply get lucky and locate one that’s near to a truck stop, I’ll place them in my cellular phone and say, ‘Hey, I’m on my way.’” A number of chiropractic offices are open during a wide range of hours in order to accommodate truckers’ round-the-clock schedules.

Singh says, “Back pain is a physically, emotionally and financially miserable condition. Drivers and employers must be seriously proactive about health and take necessary steps for improvement and pain relief,” and chiropractic care can play a major part.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

12
Aug
13

Top 7 Exercises for More Core Muscle Strength


Sitting for long periods of time has a detrimental effect on our “core” muscles. These are the muscles responsible for keeping us upright and allowing us to twist and bend without falling over. It is important to keep these muscles strengthened in order to avoid chronic lowWoman holding soccer ball back pain and injuries that may result from lifting heavy objects. The stronger your core, the less prone you are to injury. The following seven core muscle exercises are particularly good for strengthening these muscles. Hold each pose (except for the bicycle ab crunch) for at least 10 seconds and repeat 5 to 10 times.

Superman – Lie face-down on the floor with your arms straight out in front of you and your knees together. Simultaneously lift your arms, upper chest and legs off the floor, balancing on your pelvis.

Bridge ­– Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, as close to your buttocks as possible, with your arms close to your sides. Contracting your abdominal muscles, raise your hips toward the ceiling until a straight line is formed between your knees and neck.

Modified V-sit – Start while seated on the floor with your knees bent in front of you and feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly on your hands and lift your feet off the floor so you are balanced on your buttocks (making a sort of square root symbol), then hold your arms straight out in front of you, on each side of your knees. Once you have gained some experience, you can work up to straightening your legs so you form a “V.”

Plank – Lie on your stomach with your elbows close to your sides and directly under the shoulders, with palms down and hands facing forward. Keeping your legs straight, lift your entire torso and hips off the floor, balancing on your toes and forearms. Your head should be parallel with your spine, looking at the floor.

Side plank – Start by lying on your side, resting on your forearm and on the outside of your foot, with one foot on the other. Placing your elbow directly beneath your shoulder, align your head with your spine while keeping your hips and knee in contact with the floor. Lift your hips and knees off the floor, keeping your upper arm flat against your side and balancing on your forearm and foot. For a greater challenge, raise up onto your hand and stretch your upper arm out, forming a leaning “T.”

Bird dog – On your hands and knees, place your hands directly below your shoulders, while aligning your head and neck with your back. Stretch your left arm out in front of you, parallel to the floor, while extending your right leg straight out behind you, being sure not to arch your lower back. Repeat with opposite arm and leg.

Bicycle ab crunch – Lie flat on your back with your hands behind your head. Curl your body forward, like performing a crunch, bringing your left knee towards your right elbow while extending your right leg out, lifted slightly off the floor. Keeping your shoulders off the floor, switch your crunch to right knee and left elbow, while extending the left leg. Keep alternating from left to right for about a minute.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

09
Aug
13

Superfoods: Science or Marketing?


There is no medical definition for a “superfood”. Food manufacturers are eager to use the word to promote sales of their products that contain traces of supposed superfoods such as blueberries, pomegranates and chocolate. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a superfood as “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” However, there are no set criteria about what makes a food nutrient-rich. Most superfoods are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients relative to other foods. However, if you were to eat only Breakfast Cereal 3one of these superfoods to the exclusion of all else, you would be seriously deficient in many of the nutrients your body needs in order to stay healthy. So what exactly is the science behind the idea of superfoods?

While we would like to believe that if we eat certain foods we can stave off illness and keep aging at bay, the truth is that it’s not so easy. Although there is no doubt that a diet consisting primarily of fruits and vegetables is one of the keys to healthy longevity, it is also what you don’t eat and do that is important. For instance, if you eat a breakfast of blueberries and pomegranates in a bowl of oatmeal, along with a cup of green tea, that does not mean that your health will improve overall if for lunch you have a bucket of fried chicken, French fries and a 64-ounce Coke, followed by a cigarette.

The majority of scientific studies indicating that there may be some positive health effects associated with the nutrients contained in certain foods were conducted in a laboratory. In general, high levels of nutrients are used in these studies—usually far more than what can be consumed in a normal diet. For instance, the compound resveratrol that studies have shown to be heart-healthy and to guard against prostate cancer is found in grape skins only in very small amounts. So although “the French paradox” (why the French have low rates of heart disease despite a rich diet) is often partially attributed to the regular consumption of red wine, in fact, you would have to drink 40 liters of wine a day to get the same amount that was shown to benefit the health of mice in these studies.

The positive results of studies performed in test tubes on a few human cells and studies performed on mice do not necessarily translate into health benefits for the wider population. The effect of a single nutrient on human health is difficult to pinpoint, as we all eat a combination of foods. Some nutritional benefits may only occur in the presence of other nutrients in the same food, or even in a different food eaten at the same time. Iron absorption, for example, is boosted when a food rich in vitamin C is eaten at the same time.

The best nutritional advice someone can follow if they’re interested in maintaining good health is to eat a wide range of whole foods, and (even more importantly) to avoid foods that are bad for you such as processed foods and hydrogenated oils. As the European Food Information Council advises, “A diet based on a variety of nutritious foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, remains the best way to ensure a balanced nutrient intake for optimal health.”

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

09
Aug
13

How Much Sleep is Too Much?


We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep and the detrimental effect on our health if we get too little of it. However, it is also possible to get too much sleep, and this may be even worse than getting too little. Sleeping too much has been shown to be a possible indication of underlying health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, low thyroid and obstructive sleep apnea, and is liked to an increased risk of early death.

Everyone’s need for sleep differs, and there are good reasons for occasionally having to sleep more, such as during periods of high stress or illness. But on average, experts suggest that the optimum amount of sleep to get on a regular basis is between 7 and 9 hours a day. One study showed that those who slept between 9 and 10 hours per night were 21% more likely to become obese over a period of 6 years than those who slept between 7 and 8 hours a night. Another study of 72,000 women found that those who slept between 9 and 11 hours a night had a 38% greater likelihood of coronary heart disease than those who slept 8 hours.

Depression and low socioeconomic status have also been linked with sleeping too much, so it may be that oversleeping is one of the symptoms of these conditions rather than being a cause of the detrimental health effects associated with oversleeping. People with these conditions are less likely to seek or be able to afford health care, so any underlying health problems may not be discovered and treated.

When underlying health and mental problems have been ruled out, people who still feel a strong need to sleep for 70 hours or more perMother Kissing Toddler's Cheek week have what is called primary hypersomnia. Many with hypersomnia go undiagnosed, as it often develops in the teenage years and can be attributed to typical teenage behavior. A study was performed by researchers at Atlanta’s Emory University on people with this condition. The researchers found that one of the major factors implicated in hypersomnia is the presence of a certain substance in the person’s cerebrospinal fluid that acts much in the same way as a sleeping pill. Emory researcher Andrew Jenkins said, “We know why you’re sleepy—your brain is sedating itself.” It is typical for people with hypersomnia to simultaneously experience low levels of energy, anxiety and memory problems, in addition to extreme sleepiness throughout the day that is generally not relieved by napping.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that causes the sufferer to stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep, keeping them from getting to the stage of restful, restorative sleep that is necessary for proper physical and mental functioning during the day. Some prescription medications and the overuse of alcohol can also lead to oversleeping.

If you find yourself consistently sleeping more than 9 hours a day and are also sleepy throughout the day, it is a good idea to consult with your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to your oversleeping.

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

08
Aug
13

What is Personalized Medicine?


Since the first healers began treating people for illness, the way it worked was that you described your symptoms to the doctor, who would then give you a physical examination and perhaps run some tests. Then he or she would make a diagnosis of your condition and treat you double-helix-200-300with drugs or other therapies that were standard for that condition. Personalized medicine takes the diagnosis and treatment of disease to a whole new level due to recent advances in genetics.

Scientists are now beginning to understand that each person’s unique genetic and molecular profile gives them greater susceptibility to particular diseases. Personalized medicine is a way of approaching medical treatment for the individual based upon their specific genetic profile. This can allow doctors to design treatments that are likely to be the most safe and effective for that person. For example, one drug may work well for one person, but a different drug may be prescribed for another person because of their different genetic make-up. Doctors can make these choices when they know that specific genetic differences may mean the second person is less likely to respond to a particular treatment or that the drug they’re considering is more likely to cause harmful side effects.

The use of personalized medicine could end up saving money as well, since there would not be as much “trial-and-error” in the approach to diagnosis and treatment as there often is today. Therapies that are likely to be ineffective can be avoided from the start, avoiding the risks and expense of unnecessary medical treatment, and saving the patient and society considerable amounts of money. It also allows for the detection of diseases (or even the likelihood of diseases) at an earlier stage so that treatment can be started earlier, leading to more successful outcomes.

A 2001 study that was published in Trends in Molecular Medicine found that prescription drugs are only effective for between 50% and 75% of patients, on average. This number drops down to 25% for patients with cancer and 30% of people taking drugs to treat Alzheimer’s.

There are efforts currently underway in a few countries to sequence human genomes to catalog all the existing variations. Currently, approximately 98% of the human genome worldwide has been sequenced. The “1000 Genomes Project,” involving 700 scientists from all over the world, sequenced the DNA of over 1000 people from different parts of the world and found 38 million variations in their genetic code. The data the researchers have gathered is the equivalent of 16 million file cabinets or 30,000 DVDs full of information.

Gilean McVean, a statistical geneticist from Oxford University in the UK says “We are getting to the point where an individual genome sequence can be a useful part of diagnosis. If there is a variation that is present in just one in 100 people, we have found it.”

It looks like it may not be too long before your doctor may ask you for a cell sample. Experts estimate that it will be less than ten years before personalized medicine will be available from your general practitioner.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

08
Aug
13

How Might Breath Analysis Change the Future of Diagnostic Tests?


Imagine having diagnostic tests taken that were painless, fast, less expensive than a blood test, and could easily be performed multiple times, even while exercising or sleeping. Scientists have been developing devices that can do just that by measuring certain components in the breath. Although it may seem more like something in a scene from Star Trek, the possibility of this type of test becoming a reality is just around the corner. Professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, Dr. Christina Davis, from the University of California, Davis, says “The field is at the point where we’ll start to see some exciting developments in the next one to four years.”

Much the same as a fingerprint, everyone has a unique “breath signature” that can identify a whole array of compounds, including oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, proteins, peptides, DNA, antibodies and volatile organic compounds that are formed during certain of the body’s metabolic processes, and which may indicate the presence of disease. By being able to identify the thousands of chemical compounds exhaled in a person’s breath, a tool such as a mass spectrometer can help to diagnose a host of disease conditions such as diabetes, asthma, tuberculosis, gastrointestinal problems, and liver and kidney disease. Raed A. Dweik, the pulmonary vascular program director at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute says, “Anything you can have a blood test for, there is potentially a breath test for, as long as there is a volatile component.”

Although current forms of mass spectrometry have a billion times greater sensitivity than the devices used by the police to measure blood alcohol levels and can measure and determine which specific volatile organic compounds are contained in the breath, they are still balloon-blowing-200-300cumbersome and expensive. Therefore, scientists are exploring ways of developing devices that use sensor arrays, which are smaller and less expensive and can detect certain scents in much the same way that dogs can pinpoint specific smells. The only drawback is that they must be trained, as dogs are, in what sorts of things that they should be looking for.

Dr. Peter Mazzone, the director of the lung cancer program at the Respiratory Institute at the Cleveland Clinic says, “My vision is being able to say, ‘This is a 60-year old with emphysema who smoked for 30 years—what’s the chance of there being cancer there?’ But we have to teach the device what it looks like first.”

The benefits to this technology would be many, including reducing the number of biopsies performed. Researchers believe that breath analyses can be used in conjunction with CT scans to keep more extensive and costly tests to a minimum, however, there is still work to be done in organizing more clinical trials so that these breath tests can be validated and standardized. Dr. Dweik notes, “For doctors and the FDA to buy into this concept, we have to tell them what we are smelling and why and how that compound is related to the disease process.”

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

 

07
Aug
13

Is Tea Healthier Than Coffee?


Seemingly every other day another study comes out that has found some additional health benefit to tea drinking. The list of diseases and conditions tea is believed to assist or prevent seemingly grows longer by the minute. On the other hand, coffee has been vilified for a tea-cup-pot-200-300number of years, in particular the caffeine it contains. But recently, new studies have shown that coffee is actually protective against some diseases and may be good for you in moderate amounts. So what is a person to think? If you have to choose between tea and coffee, which is the healthier choice?

Tea is rich in catechins, which are antioxidant polyphenols. These have been shown to reduce the action of free radicals in the body that cause damage to our cells. Tea is one of the highest sources of this type of antioxidant in the Western diet. Both black and green tea have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, and green has the added benefit of reducing cancers such as that of the breast and ovary. Green tea has three times the catechins of black tea.

Coffee, on the other hand, reduces your likelihood of contracting type 2 diabetes, which is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in the country. Studies have shown that drinking at least three cups of coffee a day can reduce inflammation in the body, lower glucose levels in the blood and improve the body’s use of insulin. This is the case with either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee, so caffeine is not the active ingredient that leads to these health benefits. It is the antioxidant chlorogenic acid that is thought to be the beneficial compound in coffee.

Both tea and coffee contain caffeine, with approximately 180 mg in an 8-ounce cup of coffee, 43 mg in the same amount of black tea, and 30 mg in green tea. If you are sensitive to caffeine, then you might want to stick to tea (or limit yourself to one small cup of coffee per day). High intake of caffeine can also deplete the calcium from your bones, and should be avoided by pregnant women due to an increased risk of miscarriage.

So both are good for you in one way or another. Drinking a little of each every day seems like a good solution if you want to achieve the greatest health benefits from a warm beverage. Just try to skip the sugar, as the sugar added to either coffee or tea can largely negate the benefits. Excess consumption of sugar is one of the leading causes of diabetes, and scientific research has found it to be a contributing factor to cancer and heart disease. Whether you choose coffee or tea, by drinking each in moderation remains the best approach to your overall health.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

07
Aug
13

Inside the Teenage Brain


If you have ever wondered why the teenage years are so difficult for parents (and often the teens themselves) you need look no further than their brain. The brain undergoes rapid and profound development during the teen years, much more so than during most of childhood. It is a time when the areas of the brain involved in the calculation of risk, rewards and decision making go through increasingly major changes. Cheerful youthThis may explain why late adolescence (between ages 15 and 19) has a six times greater mortality rate than those in late childhood and early adolescence (between ages 10 and 14).

Research conducted by scientists using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) from early childhood through adulthood has mapped the many changes that the developing brain makes as it matures. They have found that the brain continues to develop into a person’s early 20s, with the frontal lobes that are responsible for reasoning and problem-solving being developed last.

Although the teenage brain is more impulsive and willing to take risks, it is also dynamic, vulnerable and stimulated by positive feedback. The reason for this is that the reward centers in teenage brains are highly responsive, while at the same time, the region of the brain associated with self-control is still not developed fully.

Dr. Jay Giedd, Chief of Brain Imaging at the Child Psychiatry Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health, says “The most surprising thing has been how much the teen brain is changing. By age six, the brain is already 95 percent of its adult size. But the gray matter, or thinking part of the brain, continues to thicken throughout childhood as the brain cells get extra connections, much like a tree growing extra branches, twigs and roots.”

Although the brain grows in gray matter significantly during childhood and early adolescence, the amount of gray matter actually begins to fall in mid-adolescence, which researchers say is a normal process of brain maturation.

Giedd says, “… the pruning-down phase is perhaps even more interesting, because our leading hypothesis for that is the “use it or lose it” principle. Those cells and connections that are used will survive and flourish. Those cells and connections that are not used will wither and die. So if a teen is doing music or sports or academics, those are the cells and connections that will be hard-wired. If they’re lying on the couch or playing video games or MTV, those are the cells and connections that are going [to] survive.”

Studies have shown that experiences early in life have a profound effect on the development of the teenage brain. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that children who received a lot of cognitive stimulation and parental nurturing had a brain with a thicker outer cortex, which is important in thinking and memory. Another long-term study from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience in London discovered that there were major structural changes in the areas of the teenage brain that relate to empathy.

Adults should perhaps give teenagers more of a break. As Giedd says, “It’s sort of unfair to expect teens to have adult levels of organizational skills or decision-making before their brains are finished being built.”

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

06
Aug
13

What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?


One of the ways to treat people for morbid obesity is by performing gastric bypass surgery. Those with an excessive amount of fatty tissue are at far greater risk of a host of problems such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, osteoarthritis and chronic back small-tomatos-200-300pain. Gastric bypass surgery significantly reduces the volume of the stomach, which in turn alters both the psychological and physiological response to the food that gets put in it, restricting both the amount of food that is ingested and the number of calories it is able to absorb.

The first step in gastric bypass surgery is to reduce the size of the stomach. This is done by the surgeon dividing the stomach into two parts: a small upper pouch, and a larger “remnant” pouch below it. A section of the small intestine is then attached to the upper pouch (which is where the “bypass” part comes in), so food quickly fills the upper stomach and spends less time transiting the small intestine, where nutrients and calories are absorbed.

The reduction in stomach size by over 90% makes the patient feel fuller and they are satisfied faster, so they will eat less and not feel hungry as soon. Just a couple of tablespoons of food are enough to stretch the stomach sufficiently to stimulate its nerves to send a message to the brain that a large meal has been eaten. Additionally, the smaller upper pouch section of the stomach consists of tissue that is less prone to stretching than the lower portion, so it is not as likely to increase in volume and negate the effect of the surgery.

Despite feeling full, many people have a psychological desire to keep eating, but the effect of continuing to eat for someone who has had gastric bypass surgery is to become significantly uncomfortable, or even vomit, if the person does not stop eating or does not eat very slowly. Experts advise gastric bypass patients eat only two to three small meals daily and resist snacking between meals if they are to reap the greatest benefits of the surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery has been shown to be remarkably effective in reducing long-term mortality rates. There is an approximately 40% lower risk of death for those who have had a successful gastric bypass procedure compared to those who remain morbidly obese. The surgery is not without possible complications, however, and there is a 2% risk of surgery-related death within one month of surgery.

Gastric bypass patients are also advised to get counseling on how to establish healthy eating habits so they do not gain back the weight over time. Despite the risks involved, for certain people who are morbidly obese, gastric bypass surgery may reduce their long-term risk of death.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

 

06
Aug
13

What Are Blood Clots and When Are They Dangerous?


The ability for blood to clot evolved as a mechanism for keeping us from bleeding to death when we receive minor injuries. People with the genetic condition hemophilia lack the substance in their blood that spurs it to clot. This can lead to death at a young age due to Close-up of red blood cells and germshemorrhage. When we first receive a cut, platelets in our blood collect at the site to form a temporary barrier. Then these platelets send out chemical signals that cause the blood’s clotting factors to replace the platelets with fibrin, which is tougher and more durable than the platelet barrier. When the bleeding is sufficiently stopped, anti-clotting proteins are then released that stop the clot from growing larger and spreading.

However, sometimes blood clots develop in an abnormal fashion or break off and travel to other parts of the body where they can cause serious medical problems, such as a stroke or heart attack. More than one in every thousand people develops a venous thrombosis (blood clot in a vein), which may prove fatal. The aging population and increased immobility due to lack of exercise and obesity have served to contribute to ever increasing rates of venous thrombosis. A study reported in the American Journal of Hematology predicts rates of venous thrombosis to more than double by 2050.

Clots are most likely to form when the flow of blood through the veins is slowed, such as when sitting in a chair for long periods of time, or when confined to bed. Those at greater risk for developing blood clots are the elderly, smokers, those who have recently had surgery to the hips or knees, pregnant women, women who use oral contraceptives or HRT, and those who are immobile due to illness, travel or surgery. Long plane flights are a well-known contributor to episodes of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), due to the extended periods of immobility imposed on passengers.

Symptoms of a clot are relatively obvious. Because a clot in a limb blocks the drainage of blood, the limb becomes swollen and reddish or purple and the skin becomes tight and shiny in appearance. If the clot is not dealt with in a speedy fashion, part of it can break off and travel through the circulatory system, where it can block a blood vessel in the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism (PE). Symptoms of a PE include chest pain and shortness of breath, although some people do not exhibit these symptoms.

In order to help prevent blood clots, there are a few precautions you can take. If you will be traveling or immobile for long periods of time, be sure to increase your intake of water. This has been shown to help keep blood flowing. Take frequent breaks for exercise, if possible. Even if confined to a chair, you can practice some simple leg exercises such as flexes and stretches. Finally, you can invest in specially-designed compression stockings that can help to support the flow of blood through the veins.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

02
Aug
13

Being a Great Fitness Buddy


Studies have shown that one of the best ways to stick to your fitness regime is to have a reliable fitness partner. Being a fitness buddy means that someone else is counting on you to make them accountable for their workout, keep them inspired and ensure that they are not alone in their quest for fitness. To be a great fitness buddy you just need to keep a few basic guidelines in mind:man-woman-stretching-200-300

You should both have similar goals ­– If you are training for a place on the Olympic team and your fitness buddy just wants the occasional weekend workout, neither of you is likely to meet your goal. This does not mean that you have to share the same goal, but they should be relatively comparable. That way, you can encourage your partner to meet their goal while not losing sight of your own.

Find someone at a similar fitness level – Your fitness partner does not want to feel like they are being left behind if you are at a much higher level than they are. Similarly, choosing someone at a higher level may make them feel like they have to hold back. Having the same starting point is more motivating for you both.

Be reliable – Always show up when you say you are going to. Your fitness buddy will be more motivated knowing that he or she can count on you to be there for a scheduled workout. You should ideally have similar schedules so that your partner does not have to work around your previous commitments.

Don’t hesitate to push your partner – It’s natural to want to do as little work as possible to reach our goals. But encouraging your fitness buddy to push themselves a little farther than they might on their own can help them to reach their goals a little faster. Never push them beyond what they can safely do, but there is no harm in encouraging your partner to push beyond what they perceive are their limits, and they will be pleasantly surprised at how much they can accomplish that they never thought they could.

Keep focused – Help your partner to keep focused on his or her workout by ensuring that your mind does not wander off or become distracted by the cute guy or girl walking by in the gym.

Provide useful criticism ­– Do not hesitate to correct your workout partner if you feel he or she is using bad form or doing something unsafe. Part of the responsibility of being a great fitness buddy is ensuring that your fitness partner does not become injured during their workout and that they perform to the best of their ability.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

02
Aug
13

Keys to Safer Painting—Products and Practices


Nothing cheers up a room like a new coat of paint, but it is important to keep in mind that paint can release harmful chemicals into the air you and your family breathe. Many of these chemicals have been shown to have detrimental effects on health. Luckily, we have come a long way since the days of lead-based paints, and more manufacturers are coming out with products that are both safer for human health and better for the environment. That said, there are still a few things you should keep in mind while working on any painting project soman-woman-painting-200-300 that you can give your living space a fresh new look while also reducing your risk of exposure to harmful pollutants.

There are two different types of paint on the market today: water-based paints and solvent-based paints. Most of the paints used for residential painting are water-based, which helps to reduce the amount of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that are given off. VOCs are solvents that are released into the air as paint dries, which in the short-term can cause headaches and dizziness, and which are suspected carcinogens. Solvent-based paints (also called oil-based paints) are what had been traditionally used to paint homes before the advent of improved water-based paints. The coverage of solvent-based paints was better and longer-lasting, but this is no longer necessarily the case. In addition, solvent-based paints not only contain more harmful chemicals such as benzene, but they are also highly flammable.

Although the US government requires that all paint have VOC levels no higher than 380 grams per liter (g/l) for most finishes, some manufacturers have voluntarily developed paint with much lower levels of VOCs. According to Consumer Reports, these include Glidden Evermore, Benjamin Moore Aura and True Value Easy Care paints, which have a VOC of 50 g/l. There have also been a few paints developed that claim to have zero VOCs, which include Mythic and Home Depot’s Freshaire Choice, which has earned the Greenguard Environmental Institute’s seal of approval. However, even these were shown to contain some level of VOCs when tested by Consumer Reports.

Some helpful tips for healthy painting:

  • Before you begin painting, you should be sure to have the proper equipment. Invest in gloves, safety glasses or goggles and a dust mask, and be sure to wear sturdy, non-slip shoes when painting.
  • If possible, paint the room a month before you plan to use it, since most VOCs will have evaporated by that time. Also, it is best to paint in the warmer and drier months when all windows can be fully open and lower levels of humidity will allow the paint to dry faster.
  • The room should be as well-ventilated as possible while you are painting. Keep all doors and windows open, and if possible, mount a box fan in the window (facing outwards) to draw out fumes from the room. Any cross-ventilation you can create is useful.
  • Take frequent breaks for fresh air, and stop painting if you develop a headache, watering eyes, dizziness or problems breathing.
  • Children and people who have breathing problems should never be allowed in a freshly-painted room.

By taking these few extra precautions, you can safely enjoy the pleasures of your newly-painted home.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

01
Aug
13

The Benefits of Calcium


Just about everyone has heard about the importance of calcium in maintaining strong bones and teeth. In fact, 99 percent of the calcium in our body is stored in our bones. However, the remaining one percent that is located in our blood and cells is just as important. It is milk-bottles-200-300necessary to maintain many of the body’s vital functions, and if you do not get adequate calcium from your diet to keep the required amount in your blood, the mineral will be taken from your bones to meet the need.

Heart rhythm, muscle contraction, wound healing, blood clotting and transmission of messages between nerves and between cells are some of the important things that calcium facilitates. In addition to helping prevent osteoporosis, calcium may also reduce the risk of colon cancer, lower high blood pressure, reduce symptoms of PMS (bloating, food cravings, pain and mood swings) by 50 percent, and protect against breast cancer.

The recommended daily intake of calcium for different groups is as follows:

Infants 0-6 months: 210 mg/day

Infants 7-12 months: 270 mg/day

Children 1-3 years: 700 mg/day

Children 4-8 years: 1,000 mg/day

Adolescents 9-18 years: 1,300 mg/day

Adults 19-50 years: 1,000 mg/day

Adults 51+ years : 1,200 mg/day

Most signs of calcium deficiency do not appear until it has become a serious problem. Increased bone fractures are the most common sign. Severe calcium deficiency can cause tingling or numbness of the fingers, an abnormal heart rhythm and convulsions. However, these cases are rare. Most people are able to meet their daily calcium requirement through their diet, but supplementation may be recommended for some people. Those who drink large amounts of caffeinated beverages, soda or alcohol, and postmenopausal women may benefit from calcium supplements.

Taking too much calcium can also cause problems, so don’t take any more than is appropriate for your age group. Excess calcium intake (most often by taking too many supplements) has been implicated in a higher risk of kidney stones, heart attack, stroke and hardening of the arteries.

Calcium is best absorbed when taken with a meal, along with vitamin D. Magnesium is also necessary for the proper integration of calcium into the bones, but it should be taken separately from when you take your calcium, as it (and iron) can interfere with calcium absorption. So take any magnesium and iron supplements at the opposite end of the day from when you take your calcium.

Foods highest in calcium include dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt, and dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens and bok choy. Other good sources of calcium are sardines, oysters, broccoli, almonds, Brussels sprouts and seaweed.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

01
Aug
13

Dieting in the U.S.—A Statistical Snapshot of What Works and What Doesn’t


If there is one thing that Americans are obsessed with, it’s dieting. Just turn on any television and you are bombarded with ads for weight loss drinks, programs and foods that are guaranteed to have you looking slim and trim in a matter of weeks. But given the enormous amount of money spent on the quest for a smaller waistline (upwards of $69 billion each year), the growing obesity epidemic suggests measuring waistthat diets generally do not generally work.

Following are a few facts about dieting in the US:

  • At any given time, 50% of women and 25% of men are on a diet.
  • Dieters lose between 5% and 10% of their starting weight within the first six months, but 66% of them gain it back within a year, and 95% of them have regained all the weight they lost, and more, within 5 years.
  • The average diet costs 50% more than what the average American spends on food each week.
  • Between 40% and 60% of American high school girls are on a diet at any given time.
  • Both men and women who participate in a formal weight loss program gain significantly more weight over a two-year period than those who do not participate in a formal program.

Dieting is actually unhealthy. Studies have shown that repeatedly gaining and losing weight causes damage to the immune system and increases rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke. This is not to say that there is nothing you can do to lose weight, but it’s important to find a way of eating that does not involve dieting.

What does seem to work, according to the most recent research, is changing what we eat. In contrast to what we have heard for years, a calorie is not just a calorie. One calorie of sugar is not metabolized by the body in the same way as one calorie of broccoli. The first raises insulin levels, causing that calorie to be stored as fat, and the second does not, so it gets used as immediate energy, along with providing important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

A 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared the effects of three different types of diet consisting of the same number of calories: a standard low-fat diet (60% carbs, 20% protein, 20% fat), an ultra-low-carb (Atkins) diet (10% carbs, 30% protein, 60% fat) and a low-glycemic diet (40% carbs, 20% protein, 40% fat). The low-fat dieters fared worst. The Atkins dieters burned 350 more calories per day than the low-fat dieters, and those following the low-glycemic diet burned 150 more calories per day than their low-fat diet counterparts. However, the Atkins type diet causes inflammation and raises cortisol, which can damage the heart, so your best bet is to follow a diet consisting mostly of low-glycemic foods.

Although the percentage of carbs in the low-glycemic diet were just slightly less than those in the low-fat diet, those carbs consisted of vegetables, fruit, legumes and minimally processed grains, whereas the low-fat diet included processed foods. Processed foods have had many of the compounds removed (such as fiber) that slow the release of sugar into the blood. A diet consisting of whole foods, minimally processed grains and moderate amounts of fat is still delicious, and you won’t have to feel that you are starving yourself. Over time you will find that you are slowly losing weight, and in a way that is healthy and more likely to become permanent.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

30
Jul
13

Dehydration Nation? How Much Water Do We Really Need?


Americans drink over 9 billion gallons of bottled water each year, up from 5 billion in 2001. However, most Americans still believe that they go through life chronically dehydrated. At least, that is what we have been led to believe by certain experts and bottled water companies who have suggested that everyone drink eight glasses of water a day for the sake of their health. However, that advice has no basis in scientific evidence, according to Scottish physician Dr. Margaret McCartney, who says that the need to drink that much water to prevent dehydration is “not only nonsense, but is thoroughly debunked nonsense.”Girl drinking water

It is easy to find articles all over the Internet on the health benefits of drinking more water. From better skin to weight loss, all manner of health improvements have been attributed to drinking eight glasses of water a day. But according to Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a nephrologist at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, who looked for evidence to support these health claims, “We found that there really is no evidence that drinking more water makes you perform better. It doesn’t reduce appetite, it doesn’t lead to long-term weight loss, and it can’t possibly improve your complexion. It won’t clear your body of toxins or reduce headaches.”

The idea that if you are thirsty then you are already dehydrated has no basis in fact. The human body is well designed to manage its water needs, and if you drink when you are thirsty, then you are likely getting enough fluids. Goldfarb notes, “Thirst is a highly developed sensation, powerfully motivated. When you’re thirsty, all you want to do is drink. But being thirsty doesn’t mean you are ill at this point or dehydrated to the point that there are consequences.”

Another myth is that coffee, tea and soft drinks cannot be counted in the amount of fluids you take in each day. We get thirst-satiating fluids not only from these beverages, but also from other things we eat, such as fruits and vegetables, many of which have a relatively high water content. Excess caffeine and sugar intake from various beverages can affect health negatively, which is why physicians do not advise these in place of water, but they do contribute to the amount of fluids you get each day.

Those who should be more concerned about drinking sufficient amounts of water are athletes and those who work at jobs that require a lot of physical activity, as water is lost through sweating. But the average person who sits at a desk most of the day and commutes by car to and from work is not at high risk of dehydration. All you need to do is to drink water when you are thirsty (and tap water is just as good, despite what the bottled water companies will tell you).

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

30
Jul
13

What is the FDA, and What Does it Do?


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been around in some form since 1906 when President Theodore Roosevelt signed into law the Food and Drug Act prohibiting the interstate transport of “adulterated” food and drugs. It was originally a branch of the US fda-logo-200-300Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its intent was to protect the health of the general public. In 1927 it was reorganized and renamed the Food, Drug and Insecticide Organization.  Then—three years later—it finally came to be known as the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA is responsible for evaluating, approving and monitoring the foods and medicines available to the public, including overseeing the safety of food, tobacco products, dietary supplements, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals (both prescription and over-the-counter), medical machinery, vaccines and veterinary products. The FDA is also responsible for enforcing laws that have no relation to either food or drugs, such as laws concerning sanitation, household pets and sperm donation.

In theory, the FDA is supposed to prevent the sale of products that have not been tested for safety and to take legal action to stop the manufacturers from distributing products that may be harmful to health of the general public. The public should feel confident that the FDA is providing them with truthful information about the effectiveness of drugs and their potential for harmful or deadly side effects. However, the FDA’s ties to the pharmaceutical industry have been criticized as having unduly influenced the approval of drugs and medical devices that have been shown to be either unsafe or ineffective.

The main problem is described quite well on the FDA’s own web site: “The center [the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research] doesn’t actually test drugs itself, although it does conduct limited research in the areas of drug quality, safety, and effectiveness standards.” The FDA actually relies on research performed by the drug manufacturers themselves as to the safety and effectiveness of the drugs for which they are seeking approval. Yes, the foxes are guarding the henhouse!

A number of drugs approved by the FDA have had to be recalled due to serious health problems and deaths connected with their use. Some of the recalled drugs and their associated health damage include the diet drug fen-phen (heart and lung damage), the diabetes drug Rezulin (liver failure) and the pain reliever Vioxx (heart attack and stroke). Some FDA-approved medical devices have also proven to be dangerous. For a medical device to be approved by the FDA, the manufacturer only needs to state that it is similar to other approved devices already on the market.

Many FDA scientists themselves are critical of the FDA administration and their ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Many of these scientists were dismissed when they criticized the way the FDA was run. A letter written to President Obama by a group of FDA scientists and physicians criticized the FDA commissioner, lawyers and others at high levels in the FDA, stating that they had “violated laws, rules, and regulations” and “suppressed or altered scientific or technological findings and conclusions.”

The stated purpose of the FDA is a good one and is important for the continued health of the general population. However, many people believe that its methods need a serious overhaul if this organization is to rightfully earn the public trust.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

29
Jul
13

Look Who Else Uses Chiropractic: Arnold Schwarzenegger


Long before his days as governor of California, and even before his acting career, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a bodybuilding champion who could boast 13 world titles. And as any world-class bodybuilder can tell you, the sport is hard on your musculoskeletal system. Schwarzenegger was lucky enough to have his first encounter with chiropractic when he was training in the 1970s, and he has been a fervent supporter ever since.arnold-schwarzenegger-200-300

Schwarzenegger’s bodybuilding workout partner, Franco Columbu, began attending chiropractic college during the time they were training together. “Franco would go very intensely to chiropractic college every day,” Schwarzenegger said. “He worked on me all the time. During the course of his education he got incredibly good with both the theoretical and the practical [elements of adjusting] … every time I had an injury, I could call Franco … I would get an adjustment, three or four, and the problem would be gone. So you know, when you see that happening in your own body, that with chiropractic you will be 100 percent, it’s just fantastic.”

Schwarzenegger continued, “I am very fortunate to have, so to speak, my in-house chiropractor, Dr. Franco Colombu, as my own personal chiropractor. He adjusts my wife, my kids, me, everybody gets an adjustment. And we feel always great when Franco leaves.” And “… every time that I had a problem with an elbow injury, shoulder injury, or back injury, he was always right there with the adjustments. This is the way I found out the best way of going is to use chiropractors, not only after injuries, but also before injury.”

In relation to some people’s skepticism about chiropractic’s ability to treat pain without pain relievers, Schwarzenegger said, “They say, ‘I can’t believe that this can make me feel better just like that, without a shot, without drugs…’ It is amazing, and that is what is unbelievable for people. I have seen first-hand how it works.”

As an example of how quickly and effectively a chiropractic adjustment can treat pain, Schwarzenegger related a story about a recent skiing trip: “I was really feeling something was wrong with my back. I felt even more pain at ten o’clock that night. So I called a chiropractor. By 10:30 the [chiropractor] was over at my house adjusting me … the next day I was fine and skiing again. These are the kinds of things when you experience them you feel great about this profession.”

Schwarzenegger has benefited from chiropractic so much during his life that he encourages everyone to make chiropractic care a regular part of their health care regime. Addressing chiropractors at the International Chiropractors Association’s 7th Symposium on Natural Fitness, he said, “We’ve got to let the people know that there is a necessity, it’s not even an option, it’s a necessity to have a chiropractor. As much as it is a necessity to have a dentist, if you have a dentist for the family, you should have your chiropractor for the family….That’s why I always will be traveling … all over the world, talking highly about the profession of chiropractic. You chiropractic doctors are really miracle workers.”

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

29
Jul
13

Health Update: Close-Up on Adverse Drug Reactions


You can’t switch on a television these days without seeing a commercial for some new pharmaceutical that will cure whatever may ail you (or cure you from an illness you never knew you had). If you pay attention to it, you will notice that nearly half the ad time is taken up with a long list of possible side effects and adverse reactions that may accompany taking the drug. The possibilities often include everything from slight fatigue to death.???????????

An estimated 4.5 million Americans visit their doctor or the ER each year due to adverse reactions to prescription drugs. These adverse side effects are also suffered by an additional 2 million people each year who are already in the hospital being supervised by medical professionals. The CDC estimates that 82% of Americans are taking at least one drug, and 29% are taking five or more drugs.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of approving pharmaceutical drugs for sale in the US. However, their methods for approval are based on the drug companies providing their own scientific studies on the safety of the drug. The FDA does no independent testing. The FDA will usually approve a drug if its benefits are believed to outweigh its dangers. Even assuming the drug companies’ studies have been well-conducted and show that a drug is relatively safe, no drug is completely free from side effects for everyone, even those drugs that are “natural.” A person’s age, weight, gender, overall health and genetic profile have a lot to do with how an individual will respond to a drug.

The most common side effects are gastrointestinal problems, as most drugs are processed via the digestive tract. These problems include nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhea. Other common side effects are drowsiness, fatigue and mild skin reactions. Although dizziness may not seem like a dangerous side effect, it can be particularly risky for seniors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls among seniors are the leading cause of injury-related death. A quarter of all seniors who fall and break a hip will die within six months of receiving the injury.

Death is of course the most serious side effect of all. Allergic reactions that cause anaphylaxis can be deadly. Some drugs, such as those that treat type 2 diabetes (Actos and Avandia, for example) can cause a stroke or heart attack. Antidepressants can actually increase suicidal thoughts. Some drugs can cause pain and total or partial paralysis, such as the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor. Some drugs increase your risk of cancer. Ironically, the drug Tamoxifen, prescribed to treat breast cancer, actually increases the risk of uterine cancer. Memory loss, hallucinations, loss of taste and loss of sight are other common side effects of pharmaceuticals.

Although there is no doubt that some pharmaceuticals are far more useful than they are dangerous (antibiotics, for example), if you want to avoid the harmful side-effects that many drugs may produce, try to keep as healthy as possible. Eat right, get regular exercise and visit your chiropractor to keep your body in top condition.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

29
Jul
13

Kids, Carpets and Chemicals ¬– Should You Be Worried?


There are few surfaces that babies and toddlers touch more often than carpets. After all, they are a warm, soft surface for children to crawl on and provide some cushioning for when they inevitably fall over before learning to walk. However, that same carpeting may be causing more harm than it seems.baby-crawling-200-300

Young children crawling around have a lot of contact with carpeted surfaces and play with toys that often go from carpet to mouth. The chemical toxins that the carpet itself contains, in addition to any household dust it retains, can contribute to a number of health problems in growing children, given their small body size and immature immune systems.

Toxic chemical emissions from new carpet are not a new problem. There have been thousands of cases of people falling ill when new carpeting was installed in their homes, schools or workplaces, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission has tried to discover the reasons for people experiencing irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, fatigue and rashes that new carpeting seemed to cause.

Thus far, no single chemical has been pinpointed as the culprit. However, hundreds of different known toxic chemicals are involved in the production of carpeting. Some of these include benzene (a carcinogen), xylene and toluene (neurotoxins) and styrene (a known carcinogen). They are used in the production of the carpet fibers themselves, the adhesive that glues the fibers to the backing, the dyeing, flameproofing, stainproofing and mothproofing of the carpet, and even in the glue that attaches them to the floor.

Unfortunately, if you thought you might be safe in laying down an old antique carpet that is free of those chemicals, your children still may not be free from the effects of contamination. Researchers have found that common household dust contains traces of lead, combustion byproducts and pesticides in levels that could be considered unsafe for children. In fact, some homes have been found to have more toxic dust indoors than in the outdoor surrounding soil.

Experts advise that there are a few things you can do to keep the amount of toxic dust on your carpets to a minimum:

  • By using a high-quality doormat, a 1997 study found that the tracking of pesticides into the home can be reduced by 25%, and the reduction in overall carpet dust by 33%.
  • Removing your shoes at the door and wearing house slippers results in 10 times less household dust than in homes where shoes are worn.
  • As dust mites thrive in high humidity, the allergies and asthma caused by dust mites that accumulate in carpets can be mitigated by reducing the amount of humidity in your home. Use a dehumidifier in rooms where your children come into frequent contact with the carpet.
  • Consider installing plain wood or tile floors where you can use area rugs that can be removed periodically for a thorough cleaning.
  • Vacuum weekly with a powerhead vacuum equipped with a dirt sensor and a high-efficiency HEPA filter.
  • If you do decide to install a carpet, the best choice is a stitched wool carpet that has not been glued or treated with stain guard. Use carpet staples or hook and loop fastening strips to attach it to the floor in place of glue.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

21
Jun
13

What is REM Sleep and Why is it Important?


Our sleep cycle is separated into two main components: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep (NREM). We cycle between the two all night, with four stages of NREM sleep preceding one stage of REM sleep. NREM sleep is the stage at which our body repairs itself, energy is replenished and our immune system is boosted. A complete cycle of sleep takes between 90 and 110 minutes in total, with approximately a baby #21quarter of that time being spent in REM sleep. It is also the stage during which dreaming almost always takes place. Scientists are still trying to discover the extent to which REM sleep affects our health and mental well-being, but they do know that REM sleep is important for the development of creativity and problem solving ability, and is how we learn to adapt to our world.

REM sleep was first formally observed by the scientists Aserinsky and Kleitman in the 1950s, who noted the rapid, jerky movements of the eyes through closed lids, as if the sleeper were seeing something, and noticed that breathing and heart rate increased. Another feature of REM sleep is that the voluntary muscle groups become temporarily paralyzed by the base of the brain “shutting off” the neurons in our spinal cord so we do not act out the dreams we are experiencing as we sleep. The electroencephalogram (EEG) that was attached to the sleepers showed levels of brain activity nearly identical to those who were awake. Contrary to what was previously believed about sleep as being a state in which the brain slows down, during REM sleep, the brain is actually very active. Why may this be?

According to French scientist Michel Jouvet, REM sleep is also a way of programming our brain to adapt to the world around us. Much as a computer can be reprogrammed when it is off-line, Jouvet believes our brain can take information it has received during the day and program the central nervous system to organize or maintain instinctive behavior.

The percentage of time spent in REM sleep is the greatest among babies and children. Babies can spend as much as 50% of their sleep time in the REM stage. And while it has been thought that the dreams we experience during REM sleep are a consolidation of the memories that we have experienced during the previous day, babies in the womb (who experts believe have few or no real world memories) spend most of their sleep time in a state of REM.

Professor of psychiatry emeritus at Harvard University, J. Allan Hobson, says of the purpose of REM sleep, “It’s a reinforcement of basic knowledge—knowledge that precedes any waking-state learning: how to be a person, how to be an ego, how to exist in a space, how to move in a space, how to feel. It’s not environmental memory; it’s genetic memory.”

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

20
Jun
13

Is it True that Heavy Weight Training Makes You Less Flexible?


One of the most common myths about heavy weight training is that it will make you less flexible. Many of us have an image in our mind of a typical bulked up bodybuilder who can barely manage to turn his head to the left or right. However, if weight training is performed correctly, mr-olympia-2009-200-300incorporating a full range of motion, heavy weight training can actually enhance your flexibility.

This misconception about weight training leading to inflexibility has remained tenaciously in people’s minds, despite the fact that studies as long ago as the 1960s and 1970s proved otherwise. Later studies have confirmed that properly performed strength training exercises serve to increase flexibility rather than reduce it.

A 2002 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research evaluated the effect on flexibility of a 10-week resistance training program on a group of 11 elderly female subjects. The control group consisted of eight elderly women who were physically inactive. The women’s level of flexibility was assessed by a sit-and-reach test performed both before and after the 10-week training period. Using resistance machines, the women in the training group performed eight different strength training exercises (seated row, seated biceps curl, seated triceps press, shoulder press, chest press, calf press, abdominal crunch and leg press) without performing any flexibility exercise. The study found that the training group women had achieved an average increase of 13% more flexibility over the control group by the end of the training program.

Another study, published the following year in the same journal, found that flexibility was greater in subjects who used light weights (1-3 pounds) on their wrists and ankles during a 10-week training program than the control group who used no weights while training. They surpassed the control group in five out of ten flexibility measures, including left and right neck rotation, knee flexion, hip extension and ankle dorsiflexion.

To maintain good flexibility while training with weights, learn to vary your workouts so that you do not repeat the same actions over and over. This will encourage your muscles to keep from shortening and becoming less flexible. Weight training exercises should involve the full range of motion in order to build strength while maintaining flexibility.

Experts advise that you perform some stretches after your workout (never before, as it can temporarily weaken your muscles) in order to stretch and lengthen any muscles that may have become shortened during training. The more flexible you are, the more weight you can handle without increasing your risk of injury. Ease gradually into each stretch, being sure not to bounce, which can cause small tears in the muscle that will be replaced by scar tissue, reducing your flexibility.

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

20
Jun
13

Spinal Health at the Gym—Form Matters!


Whether you are an athlete training for competition or someone who visits the gym regularly just to keep fit, protecting your back and spine from injuries during workouts is important. A large-scale University of Arkansas study found that after injuries to the hand, injuries to areas ranging from the neck to the lower back were the most common type of gym-related injuries.woman-doing-leg-press-200-300

Back injuries at the gym are more common today due to the large amounts of time we spend sitting at a desk or hunched over a computer. According to personal trainer Justin Price, a specialist in functional fitness and corrective exercise, “If someone is rounded throughout the day in their upper back, and then they go to the gym and do an overhead shoulder lift standing, their upper back cannot extend properly. They straighten and arch upward from their lower back, which has a nervous breakdown because it’s getting all the stress.”

Price suggests that in order to avoid injury you consider getting a personal trainer who can show you the proper way of performing exercises and using equipment. The most important way to maintain good spinal health is to strengthen your core muscles. These are the muscles that lend strength and support to the spine, and which tend to become weakened with long periods of sitting. Following are a few tips on how to use proper form when exercising or lifting weights in the gym.

Tighten your gluteus muscles – When performing a squat, deadlift, or during pushups, be sure to squeeze your glutes. This ensures that the muscles connecting your lumbar and sacral areas are locked so your hips and lower back move as a single unit. Otherwise there is a tendency for the lower back to curve, with the vertebral discs being exposed to more stress than they are designed to handle.

Tighten your abs – So as to keep your spine from arching too much in either direction, tighten your abdominal muscles like you are preparing to be punched in the stomach. This will provide stability to the spine as you bend and lift.

Pull your shoulders down and back – A rounded upper back is one of the leading causes of back injury. It increases pressure on the front side of the vertebral disks, increasing the risk of disc herniation.

Keep hips and shoulders aligned – Back injuries happen more often when twisting and bending. Ensure that your hips and shoulders move as one unit. If you need to change direction, lead with the hips and the shoulders will follow. If you lead first with the shoulders, the hips tend to fall behind, too late to keep from overstraining the low back muscles.

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

19
Jun
13

What Are Nutraceuticals?


Many people are becoming disillusioned with a 21st century pharmaceutical industry that promotes taking a different drug for every ailment from anxiety to zits. Others question the drug approval process used by the FDA and are bothered by the fact that safety studies are performed by the pharmaceutical companies themselves. They point out that the long-term effects of new medications are often uncertain even after Small plants in test tubestesting, and that the negative side effects can be serious.

At the same time, researchers and clinicians continue to discover new links between what we eat and drink and our overall health and well-being. Even among the general public, the fundamental importance of nutrition is becoming clearer and clearer as we face a growing number of so-called “lifestyle diseases” that are caused (at least in part) by the type, quality and amount of food that we eat.

So it’s not surprising that scientists are trying to improve our understanding of food and to make its benefits more accessible to more people. As this happens, it seems likely that we will find ourselves turning to “nutraceuticals” to prevent or treat our illnesses, even if we’ve never heard that word before or don’t know what it means.

Dr. Stephen DeFelice, from the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine, first coined the term nutraceutical (sometimes also spelled nutriceutical) in 1989. He defined it as meaning “food, or parts of food, that provide medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease.” This definition includes not only special fortified foods, but also herbal products, dietary supplements, genetically modified foods and foods processed to include specific nutrients.

Studies have shown that some nutraceuticals are indeed effective in promoting certain health benefits. However, the regulation of some of these substances is inconsistent, and not every nutraceutical product claiming to have health benefits can actually support those claims. For instance, the vitamin D added to milk that has been proven to help prevent rickets in children (once a widespread problem) can be considered a nutraceutical.  So can the active cultures in some types of yogurt. But the claim that raspberry ketones will help you lose weight, as touted by the popular Dr. Oz, is tenuous at best. So it may be a nutraceutical without the health benefit.

Nevertheless, some nutraceuticals are considerably better for your health than taking a drug. Cultures the world over have been using natural food and herbal remedies for centuries, often with great results and no negative side effects. It is important, however, to judge which are safe to take, and in which amounts.

Just because a food or supplement is “natural” does not necessarily mean it is safe for you. It is important to consult with a health professional as to which nutraceuticals may be right for your particular condition and check to ensure that the manufacturer has used quality ingredients in the production of the nutraceutical. Because these products are largely unregulated, the ability to enforce standards (in particular, the source and amount of active ingredient) is more limited than what we’re accustomed to in the world of pharmaceuticals. So if you’re taking horsetail to help with your hair growth, some supplements may contain 7% and some 10%. Differences like this can make matter a lot when it comes to effectiveness and safety depending on the nutriceutical involved.

It is generally healthiest to get the nutrients you need by following a varied diet rich in whole foods. However, if this is not possible, neutraceuticals may be the next best thing and may help you to avoid the health risks and expense associated with pharmaceuticals.

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

19
Jun
13

Musculoskeletal Injuries in the Workplace: What the Statistics Tell Us


Musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace account for a full third of all cases of injury and illness that require days off from work in order to recuperate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) “are injuries or illnesses affecting the connective tissues of the body such as muscles, nerves, tendons,????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? joints, cartilage, or spinal disks.” Following are some interesting 2011 BLS statistics regarding musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace in America:
• The total number of injury and illness cases that required days away from work to recuperate: 1,181,290.

• Of all the cases of injury and illness, 387,820 cases related to musculoskeletal disorders.

• Six occupations account for 26% of all MSD cases: nursing assistants, laborers, janitors and cleaners, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, registered nurses and stock clerks.

• Injuries and illnesses due to repetitive motion involving microtasks (such as typing) accounted for only 3 percent of all occupational injury and illness cases. However, those with this kind of injury required nearly 3 times as many days away from work as for all other types of injuries and illness – a median of 23 days.

• Sprains, strains, and tears accounted for 38 percent of the total injury and illness cases that required days off from work.

• Of the 447,200 sprains, strains, and tears, 22% were due to overexertion when lifting or lowering, 12% were due to falls on the same level, the back was injured in 36% of cases, and injuries to the shoulders and knees accounted for 12% each.

• MSDs accounted for 39 cases out of every 10,000 full-time workers.

• Workers with musculoskeletal disorders required a median of 11 days of recuperation before being able to return to work, compared with 8 days for other types of illness and injury cases.

• The greatest number of MSD cases were nursing assistants (25,010).

• Those with the greatest number of median days spent off from work in order to recuperate from an MSD were heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (21 days).

• The back was the primary site of MSD injuries in 42 percent of all cases across all occupations, requiring a median time off to recuperate of 7 days.

• Although it accounts for only 13% of all MSDs, the shoulder was the area with the most severe injuries, requiring a median of 21 days off of work to recuperate.

The BLS estimates that nearly all MSDs are caused by overexertion. It is no wonder that the nursing professions have among the highest number of injuries, given the long hours worked and the necessity of having to frequently lift patients while in awkward positions. And considering all the heavy loads that truck drivers must pick up and deliver, their high rate of MSD is no surprise.
Experts advise that to help prevent MSD injuries, you take frequent breaks during your work day to stretch your muscles and get your blood circulating. A program of regular stretching and strengthening exercises may be important for those who have professions that are physically taxing.
If you’re interested in even more detail, this November 8, 2012 BLS news release is for you!
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/osh2.pdf

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

04
Jun
13

Spotlight on Massage and Lower Back Pain


According to the National Institutes of Health, lower back pain is the second most common Imageform of chronic pain after headaches. Experts estimate that approximately 80% of Americans will seek help for low back pain at some point during their lives. Public health officials and insurers estimate that Americans spend $50 billion each year on treatments that are often ineffective. The standard treatment for lower back pain is to take muscle relaxants, painkillers or anti-inflammatory medications, along with physical therapy and back exercises. However, few medical interventions relieve pain reliably, and continuing to take painkillers on a long-term basis is not advised. Massage, on the other hand, has been found to be an effective way of dealing with back pain on a regular basis.

Treatment for lower back pain accounts for approximately a third of all visits to a massage therapist. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that patients suffering from lower back pain of unknown origin were helped more by massage than by conventional medical treatment. Of 401 total study participants, 133 received traditional medical care with no massage, 132 received structural massage (which addresses particular muscular and skeletal structures that cause pain) and 36 received relaxation massage (a general form of massage, such as Swedish, intended for overall relaxation).

Participants in the massage groups received one hour-long massage once a week for 10 weeks. All participants completed a questionnaire at the beginning of the study, then again at 10 weeks, 24 weeks and a year after the beginning of the study to report on their perceived pain. Both kinds of massage groups reported greater pain relief and ease of motion after 10 weeks of treatment than the medical group.

An average of 37% of the patients in the massage groups reported that their pain was almost or completely gone, while only 4% of the usual care group reported similar results. This was also the case at 26 weeks. However, at the one-year mark, the benefits to all groups were about equal. The type of massage used did not seem to matter, with both massage groups experiencing comparable levels of pain relief. The massage groups were less likely to report having used medication for their back pain after the 10 weeks of intervention, and they also reported having spent fewer days in bed and had lost fewer days of work or school than those in the usual care group.

Dr. Richard A. Deyo, professor of family medicine at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland says of the study, “I think this trial is good news in the sense that it suggests that massage is a useful option that helps some substantial fraction of these patients. Like in most other treatments, this is not a slam dunk, and it’s not like a cure, but it’s something that seems to offer a significant benefit for a substantial number of patients.” Deyo sees massage as a way of people being able to break out of the pain-inactivity cycle. He notes, “I don’t see massage as the final solution, I see it as maybe a helpful step toward getting people more active.”

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system .Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

21
May
13

Spring Cleaning Health Tips


Spring is just around the corner, and it’s a perfect time to open up the windows in your house, let in some fresh air and give the whole place a good scrub. But you should also be aware of some of the possible health hazards involved in getting your place spic and span. You don’t want to be breathing harmful chemicals, ????????and it’s a good idea to remove any health hazards that may be lurking in seemingly innocent areas of your house. Instead of using chemical-laden cleaning products, try to use simple non-toxic cleaners include vinegar, baking soda and water in varying combinations. They are just as effective for many jobs and will not expose you to harmful fumes. Read on for some healthy spring cleaning tips!

For sparkling windows

Far better than commercial glass cleaner, this window washing solution is non-toxic and leaves no streaks: Combine ¼ cup of vinegar, 2 cups of water and ½ teaspoon of liquid dish detergent in a spray bottle, and voila! You’ve got window cleaning solution that will cut through the waxy buildup of years’ worth of cleaning products, leaving your windows crystal clear. More tips:

  • Try to clean your windows on an overcast day. Sun shining directly on windows can dry the washing solution too fast and you end up with streaks.
  • Use either a rubber squeegee to remove the solution, or use newspaper. Dry newspaper will not leave streaks or wipe marks the way that paper towels can.
  • When removing the washing solution, use vertical strokes on one side of the window and horizontal strokes on the other. That way, if you leave a streak or two it is easier to figure out which side of the glass the streak is on.

To clean a toilet

Pour about ¼ cup of white vinegar into the toilet bowl and put some vinegar in a spray bottle to spray the sides of the bowl. Add a sprinkling of baking soda, let it sit for 5 minutes, then scrub with a toilet brush as usual. To remove hard water marks from the bowl, add two cups of vinegar to the water in the bowl and leave it overnight to dissolve the marks.

Remove the dust

Dust is heaven for dust mites, which can trigger allergies and make life generally uncomfortable. Old wool sweaters or fabric make good dust cloths, as they will pick up dust easier than other cleaning cloths. At the same time, replace air conditioning and heating filters so they do not serve to redistribute the dust and other airborne allergens around your newly clean house.

Get rid of mold and mildew

Provoking allergic reactions and worsening asthma, mold and mildew are constant enemies in areas of your home that remain warm and damp for extended periods of time. The most effective non-toxic mold remover is tea tree oil. Mix two teaspoons of tea tree oil with two cups of water and use it in a spray bottle on any mold or mildew. The scent will dissipate in a few days, but if it is too strong for your taste, straight vinegar works almost as well, killing 84 percent of mold spores. You can add a few drops of your essential oil of choice if you do not wish your bathroom to smell like a salad for a few hours.

To clean sinks, counters and bathroom tile

A mixture of one part baking soda, two parts vinegar and four parts water makes a good scouring cream for these surfaces. One of the most germ-laden locations is your kitchen sink, so give this an extra scrub with straight vinegar every so often to kill pathogens.

To clean and polish wood surfaces

Use a solution made of equal parts lemon juice and olive oil. Rub in and let it dry.

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

21
May
13

Top 10 Stretches for All-Around Flexibility


Stretching is important to maintaining flexibility. If you study animals such as cats and dogs, you will notice that they stretch on a frequent basis to keep their muscles supple and limber. Stretching helps to maintain a good range of motion and can help prevent you from muscle injuries such as sprains and stretching-collage-200-300strains. Following are our top 10 stretches for all-around flexibility.

  1. Knee-to-chest stretch – While lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, bring one knee up to your chest and hold it there with your hands. Repeat with the other leg. This stretches the muscles in your lower back, relieving tension.
  2. Piriformis stretch – Again, lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, bring your outer left ankle to rest on your right knee. Then slowly pull the right knee in toward the chest with your hands clasped behind your lower right thigh. Repeat with the other leg. This stretches the outer thigh and buttock muscles.
  3. Hamstring stretch – Lying on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you, lift one leg off the floor while holding the back of your thigh with clasped hands, keeping the leg slightly bent at the knee. Pull until your leg is at a 90° angle with your body. Repeat on other side.
  4. Side stretch – Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, stretch your left arm over your head and slowly bend over to the right until you feel the stretch in your left side that should extend from your left hip all the way to your wrist. Repeat on the other side. This improves mobility in your rib cage and improves overall flexibility.
  5. Overhead triceps stretch – Raise both arms above your head with elbows bent and hands just touching your upper back. With your left hand, pull your right elbow back until you feel the stretch in the back of your right arm. Repeat on the other side.
  6. Chest and biceps stretch – Standing next to a wall, raise your bent arm to shoulder height and place your forearm flat against the wall. Slowly turn your body away from the wall while keeping your forearm stationary, until you feel the stretch in your chest and upper arm. Repeat on the other side.
  7. Calf stretch – Standing about two feet from a wall, place your hands against the wall and extend one leg back, putting your heel flat on the floor and bending your other leg. Repeat with other leg.
  8. Quadriceps stretch – While standing, bend one leg back at the knee, then grab and hold your ankle, with your foot pulled as close to the back of the thigh as possible. You can grasp a chair or use the wall for balance, if necessary.
  9. Hip stretch – Making sure that your knee is adequately cushioned, go down on one knee, with your other leg in front of you bent at a 90° angle. Push slightly forward with your hips, which stretches the hip flexors. Be sure to keep the forward knee above your ankle.
  10. Lateral stretch – While grasping a pole or other secure stationary object with both hands at about waist height, bend your knees and lean back until your weight is supported by your arms. This will stretch your upper back and shoulders.

For best results, these stretches should be performed when your body is warm. If you just want to stretch without having exercised first, experts suggest that you at least warm up for 10 or 15 minutes first to avoid the risk of injury. Hold each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. Ease in and out of stretches slowly and breathe normally throughout your stretching routine. Be sure not to bounce as you stretch, as it can cause small tears to your muscles.

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

20
May
13

Vertigo Causes and Treatment Options


If you’ve ever felt the sensation of spinning or that the world is spinning around you, you’ve experienced what is sometimes called vertigo. It is most often due to a problem with the inner ear. The vestibular red white and blue spiralsystem in our inner ear is responsible for keeping us aware of where we are located in space. The vestibulocochlear nerve sends signals to the brain about our body’s balance and position, and if this system is disturbed in any way, vertigo is often the result.

In addition to the spinning sensation, symptoms of vertigo include feelings of nausea, vomiting, sweating, difficulty standing, feeling unbalanced, headache, ringing in the ears or hearing loss, and abnormal or jerking eye movements.

Among the most common causes of vertigo are the following:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) ­– Probably the most common cause of vertigo, particularly in those over age 60, BPPV is due to calcium carbonate particles called canaliths becoming dislodged and irritating the inner ear.
  • Labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis – Infections of the inner ear that are often due to a virus cause inflammation in the area of the vestibulocochlear nerve, sending inaccurate signals to the brain about the body’s position. This is why people with inner ear infections are often dizzy or walk in an unsteady manner.
  • Ménière’s disease – A chronic inner ear disorder with symptoms including dizziness, tinnitus and hearing loss that can come and go.
  • Migraine headaches – Vestibular migraines are migraines with vertigo involved, and those with balance disorders often have a family history of migraines.
  • Stroke, tumor or multiple sclerosis – These are much less common causes of vertigo, involving problems with the brain and central nervous system.

One of the simplest treatments for BPPV is something known as a canalith repositioning procedure. This procedure moves the calcium particles out from the inner ear’s sensing tubes and into a different part of the inner ear where they cause no harm and are safely absorbed. Doctors, chiropractors and other therapists who are familiar with the procedure can perform the procedure in a matter of minutes.

One of the most commonly used of the procedures is called the Epley Maneuver. This treatment involves the patient lying on his or her back on a bed or table. The patient’s head should be hanging slightly over the edge and tilted 45 degrees toward the problem ear. The physician then moves the patient’s head into four different positions for a couple of minutes each until it is tilted 90 degrees toward the other ear. This procedure has been found to cure vertigo from BPPV approximately 90% of the time.

Vertigo due to inner ear infections will usually clear up once the infection is gone. Medicines are sometimes prescribed to help reduce symptoms of vertigo that are related to migraines or Ménière’s disease.

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

04
Sep
15

How Are Bones Made and How Do They Grow?


referred-pain-200-300Each of the 206 bones in your body is constantly undergoing a process of breakdown and renewal, even if you have never suffered a broken bone in your life. Your entire skeleton is completely replaced approximately every 10 years. The construction of bone tissue begins when we are a fetus in the womb, and continues until we die. Our genetics and both the nutrients we receive before we are born and those we get through our diet in our youth have a major influence on the strength and endurance of our skeletal system.
Fetal cartilage is the precursor to bone growth, and is transformed into bone in a process called ossification. The fetal cartilage attracts the minerals calcium and phosphorus, which cover the cartilage cells. The fetal cartilage cells soon die off, leaving small holes through which blood vessels can grow. Osteoblasts, the specialized cells responsible for bone growth, travel to the developing bone via these tiny blood vessels. There they produce the collagen fibers that are the structure over which bone is formed, and attract the calcium with which the fibers are covered. Osteoblasts eventually transform into osteocytes, which become part of the calcium mix that helps to reinforce the collagen fibers and strengthen the bone.
Osteoclasts are the cells responsible for breaking down and removing old bone tissue, leaving small chambers that allow marrow to form. The small holes osteoclasts create are why this particular part of the bone is called spongy bone. Although it is hard, spongy bone resembles a common kitchen sponge. In our youth, the osteoblasts outnumber the osteoclasts, so we have a net gain of bone growth. This is when the growth of bone is referred to as modeling. Bone continues to grow until approximately our mid-20s, at which point we have reached our greatest bone density.
From our mid-20s on, our bones are in a constant process of remodeling. At this point, the osteoblasts can no longer keep up with the osteoclasts.  While bone is continually being rebuilt, no supplemental bone is being added, so we can begin to lose bone density. Even though our bodies no longer add to our stock of spongy bone tissue after our mid-20s, we can still continue to add bone to the outer layer of our bones, called compact bone. Compact bone accounts for about 80 percent of our bone mass and protects the more fragile spongy bone inside. Although compact bone is considerably denser than spongy bone, it still has tiny channels for blood vessels and nerves to pass through.
Our spongy bone is filled with two types of marrow, red and yellow. Red bone marrow is responsible for the creation of our red and white blood cells and the platelets that are necessary for clotting in order to stop bleeding when we are injured. Yellow bone marrow consists mostly of fat cells and is more common in our long bones, such as the femur.
A healthy diet with adequate amounts of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K, along with a little regular weight-bearing exercise, will help ensure that you maintain the greatest bone density possible as you age, and will help protect against the danger of fractures due to osteoporosis.

08
Jul
15

How Coffee Affects Your Health


How Coffee Affects Your Health.

25
Nov
13

Menopause and your Skin


Menopause and your Skin.




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