10 Things Most People Don’t Know About Chiropractic

POSTED BY ERIN O’MALEY, D.C.

 

1. Pain is the last symptom of dysfunction.

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

2. Athletes use chiropractors to stay well and perform better, not just for the occasional injury.

Athletes choose chiropractors because we are movement specialists. Chiropractors were spotted all over the Olympic coverage last year, and top athletes such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Tom Brady, Evander Holyfield, and Arnold Schwarzenegger have all been proud patients of chiropractors. These days it’s far more common than not for major athletes and sports teams to keep chiropractors nearby to help prevent injuries, speed injury recovery, improve balance and coordination, and give them a greater competitive edge.

3. The body does not perform as a cluster of separate mechanisms, but rather a cascade of events that all starts with proper control by the nervous system.

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

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4. Doctors don’t do the healing.

Sorry to disappoint you, but a chiropractor will never fix your back. What we are able to do is restore proper motion in the joints, which relieves tension on the nerves and muscles and allows your body to do the healing that it is inherently made to do. As chiropractors, we believe that the body is a perfect organism in its natural state, and all disease comes from a disruption in the body’s proper transmission of signals by the nerves which affects its ability to heal and to defend against disease-causing agents. We never treat disease. We assess to find which spinal levels are causing the disfunction, and we adjust it to restore proper nerve flow so the nervous system may work as efficiently and effectively as possible.

5. Chiropractic is for all ages.

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

6. We know about more than your backbone!

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

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

DCMD

7. Successful chiropractic patients accept responsibility.

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

8. Chiropractic may help you get sick less.

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

9. “I heard I’ll have to go forever” is a myth.

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

10. Adjustments don’t hurt.

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

Resources:

http://www.yourmedicaldetective.com/drgrisanti/mddc.htm

http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=9485

Getting Whey Smart

POSTED BY ERIN O’MALEY, D.C.

 

The scoop on whey protein shakes: Who should use them, why, when, how much, and what to look for in a powder.

Many already know that drinking protein shakes can benefit their health, but there is a lot of confusion over how to choose a proper protein shake. While adding a shake to your regimen can be an worthwhile investment in your fitness, if you choose the wrong one, you might be throwing your money away and actually doing your body a disservice. Picking out a protein powder does not have to be a daunting experience, but protein shakes are still a processed food, so we need to learn how to read the label.

Unless you avoid dairy, whey is the way to go. Whey has become so popular because it is the protein component of milk most efficiently absorbed and utilized by the muscles for protein synthesis — i.e. “to get swole”. For individuals with dairy allergies, whey is often still tolerated. It is best to have 20-30 grams within an hour of working out, before, or after, if you’ve done strength training, or both. There are benefits to either way you time it, so it comes down to personal preference and what makes you feel the best. Drinking whey protein before a workout provides a fat-burning boost that lasts long after the workout ends, and having it after a workout helps build muscle mass.

Protein shakes aren’t just for musclemen anymore! A whey protein shake is excellent to have on hand if you’re someone who is on the go a lot and tends to fail in your nutrition for convenience foods. Whey protein has all of the essential amino acids our body requires to thrive that we can only obtain from our diet. Leucine is one of the most notable branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) that whey is especially high in and is responsible for initiating mechanisms of protein synthesis and muscle building, with help from isoleucine and valine. Leucine also gives your thyroid a boost and prevents post-exercise decline in testosterone, but your body depends on amino acids to carry out every process efficiently. Eggs, the famous muscle-building food, have 1.4g of leucine per 100g, while whey protein has 8 grams. This doesn’t just provide benefits for bodybuilders, leucine can help to combat the natural muscle-loss associated with aging.

Whey protein increases a peptide, GCP-1, which promotes satiety and healthy insulin secretion and utilization. It helps keep insulin levels low to avoid becoming insulin resistant, which leads to many health issues including type II diabetes. Almost everyone could benefit from more stable blood sugar. Drinking whey protein with carbohydrate foods has been shown to lower the glycemic response to the carbohydrates proportionately to the amount of whey ingested. So, try having a shake first before the next time you plan to indulge. If you’re not munching on many colorful vegetables each day, it is essential that you add a greens blend powder to your shake.

For individuals very sensitive to dairy, or for vegans, pea protein and hemp protein shakes are good options. Always try to choose the most minimally processed product available, with the fewest additives. Soy is not a good option. It is usually genetically modified, and eating too much soy is known to result in some serious hormone imbalances.

Whey protein concentrate is preferable to whey protein isolate. Isolate is more expensive and is successfully marketed to bodybuilders because it is supposedly a more “pure” form of whey with higher protein content per gram. Whey protein isolate is also sometimes touted as a better choice for those with lactose intolerance or who experience bloating or other issues with concentrates because the processing removes any remaining traces of lactose. However, this also produces a more highly processed food product which causes it to become overly acidifying and to lose many nutritional co-factors, including alkalizing minerals, naturally-occurring vitamins, immune complexes, and healthy fats. Isolate still may be used for a quick source of protein, but if consumed a lot, as an athlete may, can lead to metabolic acidosis with serious consequences, including muscle wasting and increased vulnerability to degenerative disease.

It should be made from raw milk, cold-processed and water-soluble. It may say something like “non-denatured” or “minimally-processed”. High heat does irreversible damage to the majority of components of milk and may cause intolerance even in individuals with no history of milk allergy. Most protein shakes are processed from ultrapasteurized milk using acid, which damages the proteins and makes them insoluble in water. Substances are added to restore solubility, such as genetically modified soy letchin, chemical surfactants used in soap, and hydrolyzed proteins (AKA: MSG!). It’s going to be hard to find a product that doesn’t have a few additives to improve the solubility and mouthfeel of the powder, but as a general guideline, make sure you recognize 95% of the ingredients and don’t eat anything in a package that has more than ten ingredients.

High quality whey protein concentrates should retain the the immune-boosting and regenerative nutritional components of raw milk. They will provide important protein components, lactoferrin, immunoglobulins, serum albumin, active peptides and growth factors. They also contain the precursor to a powerful anti-aging nutrient, glutathione, as well as glycomacropeptides (GMP), immunological components that are beneficial for healthy gut flora.

Your shake should be naturally-sweetened and low in sugar. Context is helpful when thinking about grams of anything. If a cup of mixed berries has about 10 grams of sugar, your protein shake should have less. My shake has 3 grams of sugar, and I probably wouldn’t use anything with more than 6. Many products are sweetened with stevia now, which is a natural sweetener from a leaf and is almost calorie-free, with no effect on blood sugar or associated toxicity. Do I need to write “don’t buy a shake with aspartame, sucralose, or saccharin”? Don’t make me. Don’t go have a great workout and get your cells all prepared and excited to gobble up a bunch of nutrients and then shuttle poison to them. 3 grams of sugar is equivalent to roughly three slices of apple, it’s not worth replacing with an artificial sweetener.

It should absolutely be from grass-fed cattle, rBGH-free, GMO-free and organic. Even if you’re not the most mindful label-reader and don’t already shop this way, I think your protein shake is somewhere it is critical to make the investment. The greatest allure of drinking whey is that it is rapidly absorbed into the muscles within minutes. I certainly don’t want bovine growth hormone, antibiotics, pesticides, and genetically modified ingredients included in my nutritional supplement. Cows are not meant to eat corn and raw milk from grass-fed cows has much higher levels of CLA, healthy bacteria, enzymes, and the ideal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. CLA is an important nutrient for improving body composition, blood sugar regulation, bone health, vascular health, promoting healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels; it’s basically good for everything.

Adding a whey protein shake is a great way to get some essential nutrition, not only for fitness fanatics, but for anyone who wants to improve their health. If your shake doesn’t fit the above criteria, you’re not getting the full benefit of whey’s nutrients. Maybe that’s acceptable if you simply want a quick source of protein, but if you can’t invest in a higher quality product right now, my suggestion is to instead keep some hard-boiled eggs ready and have 3-4 of those with a handful of veggies before or after your workout. If you choose a lower quality shake, you may just be adding another processed-into-garbage food to your diet, and that’s never the way to achieve optimal wellness.

Resources:
http://www.naturalnews.com/001522_bodybuilding_supplements.html
http://www.naturalnews.com/031979_protein_powder_inflammation.html
http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2011/05/11/whey-protein-shown-superior-to-other-milk-proteins-for-building-muscle.aspx
http://www.muscleandfitness.com/supplements/build-muscle/does-your-whey-protein-powder-suck?page=2
http://www.nutritionj.com/content/pdf/1475-2891-8-47.pdf
http://www.jissn.com/content/4/1/8