Monthly Archives: October 2016

How to Improve Your Sleep

We all know the frustration that comes with insomnia: watching the clock, counting the hours till morning, and flipping through late night channels. If you suffer from frequent insomnia, you’re not alone. Approximately 30% Americans are plagued with insomnia each year and even more struggle in one way or another with sleep, such as grogginess, poor concentration. But apart from these frustrating symptoms, poor sleep habits can result in long-term medical issues, including cardiovascular disease, anxiety, and depression. Luckily, with some small changes in your habits and sleep routine, you can take control of your sleep and boost your chances of getting better rest.

Limit Your Screen Time

Despite the urge to watch Netflix in bed, try leaving your computer, tablet, or television anywhere but the bedroom. Doing so can improve your sleep, even if you don’t suffer from full-fledged insomnia. Using electronic devices, including your phone, just before bed has been linked to irregular sleep patterns and poor sleep habits. So if you find yourself waking up exhausted or tossing and turning before falling asleep, switch out your laptop for a book.

Move Your Body

An aerobic workout may be enough to tire our your body and promote deep sleep. After all, regular exercise has been found to improve patterns of insomniacs. But even a single moderately paced exercise session may help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, at least for that night. Exercise may help with insomnia because it regulates your body temperature, reduces anxiety and depression, and helps to normalize your circadian rhythm.

Change Positions or Your Pillows

No matter how tired you are, you may find it difficult to get into a comfortable position and stay asleep. If neck pain or headaches are keeping you awake at night, you may want to re-consider your sleep position or even your pillows. After all, an individual’s reported pillow comfort is correlated with sleep quality. Aim for a position and pillow that prevents your neck from staying in neutral while you sleep. I recommend THIS PILLOW and even sell it in the office. I provided the Amazon link just in case you can save a few bucks by buying it from them. The goal is to improve your ability to get a good nights rest, not to sell you a pillow.

A good night of sleep is irreplacable

Address Pain

Aches and pain not only make it difficult to fall asleep but lead to frequent awakenings, painful mornings, and a restless night.

Unfortunately, pain and sleep may work in concert: pain can lead to poor sleep quality, and poor sleep quality can further exacerbate pain. To break free of this frustrating cycle, address the primary cause that is leading to a secondary condition of pain.

Get Checked For Sleep Apnea

If you are a snorer, wake up gasping for breath, or struggle to stay awake during the day, do yourself a favor and get checked for sleep apnea. It is a condition characterized by cessations in breathing during sleep and it is devastating to your health. Short periods of oxygen deprivation lead to numerous subsequent micro-awakenings, ones that you may not even remember. Although between three and seven percent of adults suffer from sleep apnea, very few get treatment for this potentially dangerous condition.

Consider Supplements

If all else fails, you may find yourself desperate for a good night’s rest. Hopefully you are not drawn to television advertisements for sleeping pills. Before you ask your doctor for a prescription, consider nutritional or herbal-based remedies that may help you get a better ZZZZZ’s. Look for foods that contain melatonin, including cherries. Some studies have found that melatonin supplementation reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and increases quality sleep time.

Replace That Old Mattress

If you are sleeping on a mattress that is more than 8 years old, stop! Take a deep breath, and imagine waking up in the morning without aches pains. I have tested, discarded, and been very disappointed MANY times over the years. There are two mattresses that I can recommend without hesitation. One is the Intellibed, a medical grade bed that is top notch. Unfortunately, like many mattresses, it is pricey. 

The second bed is one that I am extremely happy to share with you. It is the best memory foam mattress I have found. Yes, much better than the “brand name” that we always associate with memory foam and MUCH cheaper. Thankfully, it is cheap in price and TOP in quality. Save your money and brag to your friends that this bed is STRUCTURALLY APPROVED. Do yourself a favor and put this in your shopping cart now and get some much needed rest.

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Back Pain: 1 Simple Tip to Decrease it

Hopefully you all know that I am in the business of helping people rid themselves of neck pain, back pain, and headaches. In fact, most of my new patients all have some form of back pain. While this may be only ONE of many symptoms they are experiencing, it is often the driving force that brought them into my office.
Now, you may be asking yourself,
“I thought this was about Moms?”. 
Let me explain. Since we usually see mother’s first in our clinic, I wanted to write this article to help them while they were not in my office.
The good news is that this applies to all HUMANS (almost)!

Let me start out by giving my disclaimer. All neck pain, back pain, and headaches are unique to the individual who walks into my office and THEIR STRUCTURE. No one is perfect, and no one has the same structure, therefore it really does take a consultation and examination to determine the exact path to improving your spine health.

Now lets get to the tip to decrease your low back pain.

1.) Stretch Your Psoas. Here is a great photo showing you where the Psoas muscle “lives”.
Below are a few stretches to help bring down your pain levels. I think now is a good time to add another disclaimer.
While your pain levels may go down,
YOUR PROBLEM IS NOT FIXED. I repeat, YOUR PROBLEM IS NOT FIXED. 
Without going into great detail, I want to make sure you know why I made the above statement in bold. Your tight Psoas muscle is not the problem, but rather the RESULT of many things. It is the result of poor neurological control, poor posture, and lack of supporting musculature. While I hope you get some relief from these stretches, I do not want you to ignore the fact that you may have some  structural abnormalities that need to be addressed. Please seek a professional that focuses on structural correction, and NO, it does not have to be me.
Here are two stretches that you must put into your repertoire.
I hope you seriously consider adding these two stretches into your routine. And as always, if you have something that you would like to discuss with me in person, please schedule a complimentary consultation by either calling 425-636-0303 or by filling out this form.

Flu Is NOT a Season! Healthy vs. Feeling

stoptheflu

I was recently brushing up on the most recent scientific literature on “Colds and Influenza” and was saddened that some of the alternative treatments do not get the media attention that they deserve. It is unfortunate that many of them are not more commonly known.

Most of us realize that any Structural deficiency can lead to DECREASED function of your body, but I will not be covering anything about how this puts you at a disadvantage from the get go. If you want to discuss this, please call the office and schedule a consultation and I would be happy to go over your case with you. After all, I am a Structural Chiropractor.

Back to the paper that I caught my eye. It was a systematic review of the literature on everything from vaccinating against the flu, antiviral agents, over the counter products to various natural treatments. Since I am the nerd and I don’t expect most people to know that a systematic review is one of the HIGHEST forms of research studies, I will just tell you. It is a big deal when a systematic review shows efficacy. In other words, they carry a LOT of weight in the scientific and clinical community.

While I was intrigued by some of the traditional treatment results (and lack thereof), I wanted to focus on the natural treatments that are effective at keeping you, and your family felling well. Also NOTE that I did not say healthy.

Healthy and feeling well are not the same thing.

Healthy is the ability to adapt to your environment, while feeling well is just a subjective “feeling”. People with cancer often report “feeling good”. Individuals with heart disease “feel good”. People with cavities may “feel good”. As you can see, feeling good and healthy are not always the same thing. I want you all to be healthy AND feel good.

In this article, I want to cover some of the little known natural treatments and not necessarily the most effective for your individual case. As with all of my posts, I ask that you discuss with your healthcare provider BEFORE trying anything as you may or may not be an candidate for all of the treatments. Now that I have that intro out of the way, here are the top 3 “lesser known” ways to reduce symptoms, severity and duration of the common cold and influenza.

1.) Echinacea (Echinacea spp)

As with all of these, the product/ formulation and dosage matter. Do not go and buy just any echinacea. Ask your provider which brand/ product and dosage to take.

The results of studies are mixed on Echinacea, likely due to the different formulations as mentioned above. However, there are enough studies that suggest that it may reduce duration as well as severity of common cold symptoms. Even though there are “mixed” results, there are still enough good studies that suggest echinacea does reduce symptoms.  It may be a viable supplement to your treatment.

2.) Elderberry Syrup (Sambucus Nigra)

Now this one may be my favorite. I have PERSONALLY had great results with the syrup both myself and with my son. While I have only been ill twice in the past decade, but the last time being very recent, I can absolutely say that I had great results. It is recommended that you take this one within 48 hours of symptoms as the research suggests that it the most effective time to do so.

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Research demonstrates elderberry syrup possess immune-modulating and antioxidant properties.

 Most people do not realize that Elderberry syrup has antiviral properties that make it ideal for any viral infection. Mumcuoglu (an Israeli virologist) found that elderberry syrup effectively blocks viruses from being able to replicate, which is a really cool finding!

3.) Garlic (Allium sativa)

This one is a fun one. Who doesn’t love garlic? Okay, I know that everyone doesn’t love it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take it in a supplement form.

In one large study they compared a group of 123 people who took a garlic supplement versus 123 who did not. In this study, the supplement group only had 24 colds, while the non-supplement group had 65. Also, the supplement group reported symptoms lasting 1.5 days on average versus 5 days in the non-supplement group.

You should never take the results of one study and consider it to be definative.  This is because it is very rare for researchers to study things that result in little to zero financial gain. In other words, unless the garlic supplement industry were to fund additional research, we aren’t likely to see many more studies completed. While many of us don’t agree with this practice, we must take it into account.

I will leave this data with you to digest (PUN intended), and go about my business. I hope you found this article applicable and helpful to you and your family. At the very least, I hope you continue to investigate on your own. As always, if you have any questions either about this article or structural chiropractic care, feel free contact me.

Get Your Groove On!

Many people have asked me why I have upbeat music in the office. Other than personal preference, I have found something that SHOULD catch your ear…

I am always looking to improve what I do, and the results in the clinic. This is one small thing that I thought I would share with you.

A recent study published in a top medical journal (Lancet) has recommended music as a way to reduce pain and anxiety.

The brain releases neurotransmitters that activate the feeling of “pleasure” when you listen to your favorite tunes!

Now everyone knows why we have a list at the front desk that is asking you for your favorite songs! I want you to ENJOY your time in the office. I know… I am craaaaaazy. Don’t worry, not only do I want you to enjoy your time, but I also want to activate your immune system.

Let’s be honest, we all knew that music makes us happy, but most had no idea that it reduces pain, depression and actually empowers us!

WOW! So next time you are feeling blue, or have a little pain bringing you down, remember to turn up the tunes and sing like no one is watching. Not only are you improving your immune system, but you are bringing joy to all of us who look to the car next to us and see someone belting out their favorite show tune.

Getting Her Groove On!

Why a show tune?

One study showed that singing show tunes may have improved the cognitive ability of dementia paitents! Yes! Now that is some research that probably effects each and every one of us in some way or another. If you don’t have someone in your life suffering from dementia, then congrats, but please do not take it lightly.

Moral of the story is that not only do I look our for ANY way to improve your experience in the office, but please, let the front desk know what your favorite song is!

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