Curvesday Thursday: Alternative Methods to Treat Vertigo

People with vertigo know that the law of gravity prevails, but their brains get confused. They experience an illusion of movement, feeling like they are tilting in space, or that the world is spinning or moving around them. Nausea, sweating, headaches, vomiting and fatigue may add to their discomfort.

Causes of Vertigo

  • Vertigo can be caused by many problems, most of which originate in the peripheral or central nervous system.
  • The causes of vertigo that stem from the peripheral nervous system include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), acute vestibular neuronitis, labyrinthitis and Ménière’s disease.
  • Acoustic neuroma, migraines, cervicogenic vertigo and multiple sclerosis are all related to the central nervous system.
  • Vertigo can also be caused by a wide variety of medications such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antihypertensives, diuretics, barbiturates, salicylates (e.g., aspirin), sedatives or hypnotics, some prescription and over-the-counter cold medicines, and some antibiotics and antineoplastics.
  • Diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, high blood triglycerides, hypoglycemia, and food allergies or gluten sensitivity can also cause or worsen vertigo.
  • Motor vehicle accidents, falls or other types of traumas or illnesses can also be associated with vertigo.
  • To diagnose the cause of vertigo, your health care provider will perform an examination, including a variety of positioning tests, to check if they will reproduce the sensation of motion. Other tests may also be necessary.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

  • About 65 percent of vertigo is diagnosed as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)—a result of calcium debris in the inner ear.
  • BPPV is usually treated through the Epley maneuver—a procedure in which the patient is rapidly moved from lying on one side to lying on the other, to move the calcium debris to a less sensitive location in the inner ear.
  • Studies show that up to 80 percent of patients recover after a single treatment with Epley maneuver, and most BPPV cases respond to two to three treatments with Epley.
  • Epley maneuver is contraindicated in patients with severe carotid stenosis, heart diseases and severe neck problems, such as cervical spondylosis with myelopathy or advanced rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Even without treatment, BPPV tends to resolve in weeks or months and also has a tendency to recur.
  • Vestibular rehabilitation exercises (called the Brandt-Daroff exercises) can also be performed at home to help treat BPPV.

Other Types of Vertigo

  • Treatment for vertigo caused by other conditions depends on the individual case.
  • Ménière’s disease patients can benefit from a low-salt diet.
  • Treatment for vertigo associated with migraine headaches should include dietary changes, such as reduction or elimination of aspartame, chocolate, alcohol and caffeine, in addition to exercise, stress reduction, adequate sleep, and vestibular rehabilitation exercises.
  • Vestibular neuronitis and labyrinthitis, which are often attributed to viral infections, can also be treated with vestibular exercises.
  • Working with your doctor of chiropractic to improve postural issues can also bring relief to the patients whose vertigo is exacerbated by sedentary lifestyle or working in certain positions for extended periods.
  • In patients with cervicogenic vertigo, a general ergonomic assessment of work and life activities can help identify the factors contributing to the problem.

Nutrition and Stress Reduction

  • Alcohol, nicotine, fried foods and excessive salt intake are potential sources of trouble for patients of vertigo.
  • Vincopectine, vitamin B6 and ginkgo biloba may be helpful in reducing vertigo.
  • Chromium may be helpful in patients whose vertigo is caused by a blood sugar imbalance.
  • Physical exercise and meditation, adequate sleep and other stress reduction techniques can all help contribute to recovery from vertigo and should be a part of the treatment regimen.
  • Your doctor of chiropractic can help create an appropriate exercise program for you and counsel you regarding healthy lifestyle and stress relief.

Red Flags
Vertigo patients who present with the following signs should immediately go to the emergency room:

  • double vision
  • headache
  • weakness
  • difficulty speaking
  • difficulty waking up or staying awake
  • difficulty walking
  • inappropriate actions
  • difficulty controlling arms or legs
  • abnormal eye movements

Source: http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=3571

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Stickin’ It Tue You: Tinnitus Relief with TCM

Constant noise in the head – such as ringing in the ears – rarely indicates a serious health problem, but it sure can be annoying. Here’s how to minimize it.

Tinnitus (pronounced tih-NITE-us or TIN-ih-tus) is sound in the head with no external source. For many, it’s a ringing sound, while for others, it’s whistling, buzzing, chirping, hissing, humming, roaring, or even shrieking. The sound may seem to come from one ear or both, from inside the head, or from a distance. It may be constant or intermittent, steady or pulsating.

Almost everyone has had tinnitus for a short time after being exposed to extremely loud noise. For example, attending a loud concert can trigger short-lived tinnitus. Some medications (especially aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs taken in high doses) can cause tinnitus that goes away when the drug is discontinued. A more serious problem is chronic tinnitus — symptoms lasting more than six months. As many as 50 to 60 million people in the United States suffer from this condition; it’s especially common in people over age 55 and strongly associated with hearing loss. Many people worry that tinnitus is a sign that they are going deaf or have another serious medical problem, but it rarely is.

Most tinnitus is subjective, meaning that only you can hear the noise. But sometimes it’s objective, meaning that someone else can hear it, too. For example, if you have a heart murmur, you may hear a whooshing sound with every heartbeat; your clinician can also hear that sound through a stethoscope. Many people can hear their heartbeat — a phenomenon called pulsatile tinnitus — especially as they grow older, because blood flow tends to be more turbulent in arteries whose walls have stiffened with age. Pulsatile tinnitus may be more noticeable at night, when you’re lying in bed, because more blood is reaching your head, and there are fewer external sounds to mask the tinnitus. If you notice any new pulsatile tinnitus, you should consult a clinician, because in rare cases it is a sign of a tumor or blood vessel damage.

The course of chronic tinnitus is unpredictable. Sometimes the symptoms remain the same, and sometimes they get worse. In about 10% of cases, the condition interferes with everyday life so much that professional health is needed.

In Chinese medicine, chronic Tinnitus is believed to be caused by kidney weakness, according to Pacific College of Oriental Medicine Faculty Member Dr. Mohammed Javaherian. Acupuncture is recommended and treatments will focus most likely on the kidney meridians, as well as on points along the liver and gallbladder meridians to help strengthen the root of the problem.

Tinnitus is linked to nerve and touch sensitivity. For some people, clenching one’s jaws or applying pressure to the neck can bring on or reduce tinnitus episodes. Acupuncture patients with this disorder will have a high response rate to the nerve’s natural response to pressure and the disorder’s sensitivity to certain points. The practice of acupuncture is based on the stimulation of certain points on the body, as well as meridians and channels. Stimulating specific points (which are determined based on the patient’s unique case) can rebalance the qi (one’s life force) and alleviate the source of the problem. It is integral in traditional Chinese medicine to treat the origin of an ailment as well as the symptoms, and TCM has several theories as to what causes tinnitus.

For example, in more temporary cases of Tinnitus, high emotional strain or sudden anger can lead to a ringing in the ears. Also, diet can have an effect. Practitioners of TCM believe that excessive greasy foods or irregular eating can lead to Phlegm (a TCM term that commonly refers to a retention in body fluid), which prevents the rising of clear qi to the head (resulting in the “phantom noise” associated with tinnitus). Overworking or excessive physical strain can lead to a nerve disturbance, causing tinnitus. Lastly, trauma is a common cause of the ringing noise associated with this disorder.

Along with acupuncture, Chinese herbs can be prescribed depending upon the location of the weakness.

Western medicine is limited in its treatment options for Tinnitus; no prescription drug is available for this condition. However, with careful management and the natural remedies found in traditional Chinese medicine, there is a resource waiting to be tapped.

Sources: http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/tinnitus-ringing-in-the-ears-and-what-to-do-about-it

http://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2015/03/29/whats-ringing-tinnitus-and-how-tcm-can-help

Auditory pathways and tinnitus

illustration of ear and auditory pathway to brain

Sound waves travel through the ear canal to the middle and inner ear, where hair cells in part of the cochlea help transform sound waves into electrical signals that then travel to the brain’s auditory cortex via the auditory nerve. When hair cells are damaged — by loud noise or ototoxic drugs, for example — the circuits in the brain don’t receive the signals they’re expecting. This stimulates abnormal activity in the neurons, which results in the illusion of sound, or tinnitus.

Get Moving Monday: High intensity Interval Training Workouts

Just because you’re new to fitness doesn’t mean high-intensity interval training isn’t for you. Otherwise known as HIIT, these fast-paced workouts have been shown to torch tons of calories in a short amount of time — so you don’t need to spend hours in the gym. This type of training will have you alternating between periods of maximum effort (think: 20 seconds of jumping jacks) and short recovery.

If you’re just getting into fitness — or starting over after an injury —  the key to success lies in doing the right moves, at your own pace. Yes, HIIT should be intense, but pushing too hard, too fast can result in injuries and other setbacks. Your task: Listen to your body, modify as needed, and complete each movement with proper form.

To kick off your journey without a hitch, we’ve tapped Justin Rubin, trainer for DailyBurn’s True Beginner program, to create three workouts, ranging from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. Each one has easy-to-master moves, made just for you. All you need is water, a chair and a yoga mat.

Before each workout, start with this dynamic, two-minute warm-up to get your muscles ready to go.

  • Jog or march in place for 30 seconds.
  • Then, stand and circle your arms backwards, one after the other, (as if you’re pretending to do the backstroke) for 30 seconds.
  • Finally, perform a front lunge, side lunge and back lunge stepping with the same leg, then switch to the other leg and repeat. Continue one minute. Now, get ready to HIIT it!

10-Minute HIIT Workout

10 Minute Beginner HIIT Workout

Work up a sweat in less than the time it would take you to drive to your gym with this simple routine. Best of all, you don’t need any equipment to jump right in.

Jab, cross, front (right side): Stand with the right foot in front of the left, hips facing to your left side. Bring your arms up into a boxing position. Jab (punch) forward with the right arm, then throw a “cross” punch with the left arm, letting your body rotate as your left arm crosses over your body to the right. Your bodyweight should be over your right foot, with your back heel picking up off the floor slightly. Bring both arms back into the body, shifting your weight back to the starting position and facing front. (This is the “front” move.) Repeat on the left side. For more detailed instructions, try Cardio Kickboxing 1 and 2 in DailyBurn’s True Beginner program.
Jumping jacks: Start by standing upright with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides. Jump your feet out while raising your arms. Repeat as fast as possible. If a regular jumping jack is too difficult, step side to side while raising your arms instead.
Sumo squats: Position your feet a little more than hip-width apart and point your toes out at a 45-degree angle. Keeping your weight in your heels, back flat and chest upright, lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Engage your glutes and quads and push back to the start position. Repeat.

Cool down with an overhead stretch, reverse lunge and forward fold.

20-Minute MetCon: HIIT Workout

20 Minute Beginner HIIT Workout

Metabolic conditioning is designed to maximize your caloric burn, so you should expect this workout to feel challenging. You’ll go through five exercises that focus on full-body, multi-joint movements. Try to do as many reps as possible during each 45-second interval, then rest for 15 seconds before repeating.

Push-ups: If you can’t complete a traditional push-up, place your hands on a stable chair or plyo box instead of the floor. Or, try doing push-ups with your knees resting on the ground.
Squats: For extra assistance, use a chair for added support. Remember to keep your feet under your hips and your bodyweight in your heels, says Justin.
Butt kicks: Jog or walk in place, kicking your right heel up to touch your bottom. Repeat with the left leg.
Tricep dips: Place your hands on a chair or a low table, with your back to the chair. Put your legs straight out while balancing on your palms. Bending from your elbows, lower as far as you can, then press up to the original position. Engage that core!
Side Lunges: With your bodyweight in your heels and your toes facing forwards, step to the left in a deep lateral lunge, keeping your knee above your toes. Alternate legs.

Cool down with an overhead stretch, a quad stretch and a forward fold.

30-Minute METCON: HIIT Workout

Got half an hour? Try this longer workout to challenge your core, and your upper and lower body. (Fun fact: This will burn more calories than 30 minutes spent walking on the treadmill!) Complete the same three-minute warm-up as in the previous workout, then get ready to move it, move it.

30 Minute Beginner HIIT Workout

Remember: Focus on quality, not quantity. It is more important that you complete each exercise correctly versus how many you can complete in the time period. As you become stronger, you will automatically be able to increase the number or reps per set.

Source: http://dailyburn.com/life/db/hiit-workouts-for-beginners/

Stickin’ It Tue You: Acupuncture for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is one of the most common job-related injuries and is responsible for the highest number of days lost among all work related injuries. It is the reason for over two million visits to physicians’ offices and approximately 465,000 carpal tunnel release operations each year, making it the most frequent surgery of the hand and wrist.

Acupuncture is extremely effective at treating carpal tunnel syndrome; eliminating the need for surgery or the use of anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids. In fact, one of the most common reasons that people get acupuncture is for repetitive stress injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome.  Recent studies even suggest that acupuncture may be more effective than corticosteroids when it comes to treating CTS.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist made up of ligaments and bones. The median nerve and the tendons that connect the fingers to the muscles of the forearm pass through this tightly spaced tunnel.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, also known as median nerve entrapment, occurs when swelling or irritation of the nerve or tendons in the carpal tunnel results in pressure on the median nerve.  The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers, as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move.

Symptoms usually start gradually, with frequent burning, tingling, or numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers, especially the thumb, index and middle fingers. The symptoms often first appear during the night.  As symptoms worsen, people might feel pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm during the day. Decreased grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist, grasp small objects, or perform other manual tasks.  If not properly treated, CTS can cause irreversible nerve damage and permanent deterioration of muscle tissue.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with Acupuncture

From an Oriental medicine perspective, CTS is seen as a disruption of the flow of Qi and Blood within the area and associated with Cold, Dampness or Wind penetrating the muscles and sinews of the wrist.  Acupuncture points, stretching exercises, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements are chosen to treat accordingly.

As well as reducing the swelling, inflammation and pain in the wrist, acupuncture addresses any headaches, neck pain, shoulder stiffness and sleeping problems that often accompany this condition.

Your treatment may also take into account any underlying conditions that contribute to the development of CTS including obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid problems, diabetes, hormonal changes of pregnancy and menopause.

If you or someone you know suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome, please call (304)263-4927 to schedule an appointment to find out more about how acupuncture can help you.

Source: https://www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/Acupuncture+for+Carpal+Tunnel+Syndrome

TGIF: Relieving Allergies the Natural Way

Whether it’s the long-awaited change of winter into spring, or the quiet fading of summer into fall, for many folks the changing of the seasons means more than just vacation plans and a new wardrobe — it signals the start of seasonal allergies.

Sneezing, wheezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery, red eyes — these are just some of the symptoms that more than 35 million Americans face each year as the pollen from trees, grass, flowers, and plants makes it way into the air.

For many, relief is just a drugstore counter away — with a wide array of traditional medications available to help. However, for an increasing number of allergy sufferers the road to relief is best paved by Mother Nature, with a variety of all-natural treatments that studies show can help — often without many of the troubling side effects ascribed to traditional care.

“Using nature-based products can be a very useful way to handle mild allergies and a useful adjunct for more significant allergies, and there are many types of treatments you can safely try,” says Mary Hardy, MD, director of integrative medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Among those generating the loudest buzz right now is the European herb butterbur (Petasites hybridus), which, says Hardy, “has had some very impressive clinical trial results.”

In one study, published recently in the British Medical Journal, a group of Swiss researchers showed how just one tablet of butterbur four times daily was as effective as a popular antihistamine drug in controlling symptoms of hay fever — without the traditional symptom of drowsiness that sometimes occurs. In a second study, presented at the 60th annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), a group of British researchers put their stamp of approval on butterbur’s effectiveness in quelling symptoms of grass allergy.

Other herbal supplements proving helpful, says Hardy, include freeze-dried nettles and a tonic made from the herb goldenseal, which she recommends adding to still one more natural treatment — a saline (salt water) nasal spray.

“The saline works to wash out pollen and reduce or thin mucous — the goldenseal has astringent and local antibacterial properties which can aid in this process,” Hardy tells WebMD.

In addition to herbs, many naturopathic doctors also believe certain nutrients can be helpful in quieting seasonal symptoms. Among the most popular are grape seed extract and a flavonoid compound known as quercetin. Although both occur naturally in many foods — and are especially abundant in red wine — when used in supplement form they can be extremely helpful in reducing allergy symptoms, particularly in conjunction with vitamin C, says James Dillard, MD.

“There is even some evidence that quercetin may control the release of histamine and other chemicals that help initiate the allergic response,” says Dillard, clinical advisor to Columbia University’s Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and assistant clinical professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Turning the focus from the medicine chest to the kitchen cabinet, you might want to try cooking up some allergy relief in the form of hot, spicy foods. The reason: Experts say the spicier the dish, the more likely it is to thin mucous secretions, which in turn can clear nasal passages. Among the most frequently recommended spices for this purpose include cayenne pepper, hot ginger, and fenugreek, as well as the traditional onion and garlic.

Interestingly, what you don’t eat may be even more important than what you do eat. The reason, according to Hardy, is that food intolerance may be far more intimately entwined with seasonal allergies than we realize.

“You have to really look at your diet and cut out any foods that seem to provoke even a mild sensitivity, such as occasional hives or even stomach upset, ” says Hardy. In doing so, she says, you can literally lighten the burden on your immune system, which in turn may help reduce the impact of seasonal allergic reactions.

According to New York University allergist Clifford Bassett, MD, if you suffer from ragweed or other weed pollen allergies, “you should avoid eating melon, banana, cucumber, sunflower seeds, chamomile, and any herbal supplements containing echinacea, all of which can make symptoms much worse,” he says.

Seasonal Allergies From the Inside Out

If your seasonal allergies are causing you to spend more time indoors than out, you may be tempted to try an air filtration system, which many say can remove irritating dust and pollens from your personal space, and in the process improve seasonal allergies. But according to a recent report from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, while these sometimes-costly units may clear the air, once an allergy is in progress they don’t appear to have much impact on symptoms.

What may work somewhat better, however, is donning a paper dust filter when outdoors in high pollen conditions.

In addition to whatever natural treatments you try on your own, you may also find significant relief visiting a practitioner of the ancient Chinese medical practice known as acupuncture. Based on the idea that stimulating points outside the body can change or initiate reactions inside, in this case treatment is thought to affect the immune system, where allergic reactions begin.

In a small but significant study of 26 hay fever patients published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, acupuncture reduced symptoms in all 26 — without side effects. A second study of some 72 people totally eliminated symptoms in more than half, with just two treatments.

“Acupuncture can be particularly useful if you are suffering from multiple allergies, since it works to quiet the areas of the immune system that are overstimulated by exposure to multiple irritating factors,” Dillard tells WebMD.

Though many nontraditional treatments can be extremely helpful, allergist Marianne Frieri, MD, cautions that natural doesn’t always mean better — or safer. She points out that it’s possible to overdose on even the most seemingly mild preparations, and it’s important to remember that almost anything in nature’s pharmacy could cause a toxic reaction if you use too much.

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/relieve-allergies-natural-way?page=3

TGIF: The Dangers of NSAID Use

NSAIDs, short for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are among the most commonly used medications in the United States. Available in prescription strength and over-the-counter, NSAIDs reduce inflammation and pain by interfering with your body’s production of chemicals called prostaglandins. Some of the most commonly used NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, ketoprofen and celecoxib. Although effective for a variety of conditions, ranging from arthritis to headaches, taking too many NSAIDs may increase your risk of serious medical problems, some of which may be life-threatening.

As with any medication, there are a number of potential risks, side effects, and complications that it patients need to be aware of prior to starting to take the any form of the medication.  Potential risks and complications of NSAID ingestion include:

  • Kidney damage. NSAIDs are cleared from the blood stream by the kidney, so it is very important that patients over 65 years of age or patients with kidney disease consult a physician prior to taking the medication. If patients take an NSAID for an extended period of time (e.g. six months or more), a blood test needs to be performed to check for early signs of kidney damage. Taking too many NSAIDs can cause sudden kidney failure or chronic kidney disease. With acute kidney failure, discontinuation of the offending NSAID usually leads to recovery of kidney function. A more subtle form of chronic kidney disease called chronic interstitial nephritis can develop if you take NSAIDs regularly for many years. This condition most often occurs in people taking high doses of NSAIDs for chronic pain. NSAIDs are particularly dangerous if you have preexisting kidney disease
  • Ulcers. NSAIDs are a common cause of ulcers, also known as peptic ulcer disease. Your stomach is the most likely site for an NSAID-induced ulcer to develop. Less commonly, the first part of your intestine, called the duodenum, may be affected. Your risk of developing an NSAID-related ulcer depends on how often you take NSAIDs, the dosage, how long you have been taking NSAIDs and whether you have other risk factors for peptic ulcer disease. Heavy alcohol use, smoking, taking a combination of NSAIDs and a past history of ulcers increase your risk of developing an NSAID-induced ulcer. Symptoms you may experience with a peptic ulcer include dull or burning pain in your upper abdomen when your stomach is empty, reduced appetite, frequent belching, bloating, nausea and vomiting.
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding. An ulcer caused by NSAID use may erode into a blood vessel in your stomach or intestine, leading to gastrointestinal bleeding. Symptoms and signs to look for include sharp, persistent stomach pain, vomiting blood and black stools. With prolonged or severe bleeding, you may develop weakness, paleness and loss of energy. Importantly, gastrointestinal bleeding may not cause obvious signs or symptoms. Take NSAIDs in the lowest, effective dose possible and limit the length of time you take them to reduce your risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. Talk with your doctor if you take NSAIDs for a chronic condition, such as arthritis, to determine the safest option for you.
  • Heart attack and stroke. NSAIDs may increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, especially if you have pre-existing heart disease. These drugs may increase your blood pressure and contribute to the progression of atherosclerosis, a condition in which your arteries become clogged and blood flow to your heart and brain are reduced. In a January 2011 article published in the medical journal “BMJ,” Drs. Sven Trelle and colleagues report that all NSAIDs increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, including ibuprofen. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that all prescription NSAIDs carry a warning about the potential for increased risk of heart attack, stroke and gastrointestinal bleeding associated with use of these drugs.
  • Delayed healing. Inflammation is a necessary component in the healing process, decreasing inflammation may prove counterproductive. the body responds to injury with a sequence of events that begins with an influx of inflammatory cells and blood. The inflammatory cells remove debris and recruit cytokines and other growth factors toward the injury site. This inflammatory phase is partly mediated by the same prostaglandins that are blocked by NSAIDs. In a healthy healing process, a proliferative phase consisting of a mixture of inflammatory cells and fibroblasts naturally follows the inflammatory phase. The fibroblasts build a new extracellular matrix and persist into the final phase of repair, the maturation phase, where, if all goes well, functional tissue is laid down. The key point is that each phase of repair is necessary for the subsequent phase. By blocking the inflammatory phase, NSAIDs can, at least theoretically, delay the healing of musculoskeletal injuries.

Most types of NSAIDs have a variety of other potential risks and complications associated with them. While most side effects are rare, some can be serious and even potentially fatal, so it is important for patients to remain aware of them and under supervision by a health professional.

As a general rule, patients with any of the following factors should be sure to meet with their doctor before taking any type of NSAID:

  • Thyroid problems
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Allergy or reaction to aspirin, other NSAIDs or pain relievers
  • Pregnant, about to become pregnant, or breast feeding
  • Consume three or more alcoholic beverages a day
  • About to have surgery or other invasive procedures (including dental surgery)

In order to ensure that NSAIDs are used safely, patients should meet with a physician to evaluate their individual risk factors (e.g. the patient’s likelihood for developing certain health problems, including heart attack, stroke, and gastrointestinal problems) and to determine the most appropriate dosages, type of NSAID, and treatment options.

In general, it is recommended that patients avoid taking over-the-counter NSAIDs for more than 10 days in a row without consulting their physician.

As with all medications, patients should discuss with their doctor medications taken (including herbal remedies, supplements, etc), all other medical conditions and allergies. Patients should strictly follow label directions for all pain medications, including non-prescription medications.

Sources: http://www.livestrong.com/article/360407-the-risks-of-taking-too-many-nsaids/

http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/pain-medication/potential-risks-and-complications-nsaids

http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/FULL/NSAIDs_and_Musculoskeletal_Treatment.html

Curvesday Thursday: Sports Injury and Chiropractic Care

Participation in sports or exercise is an important step in maintaining your health. Exercise strengthens your heart, bones, and joints and reduces stress, among many other benefits. Unfortunately, injuries during participation in sports are all too common. Often, these injuries occur in someone who is just taking up sports as a form of activity, doesn’t use proper safety equipment, or becomes overzealous about the exercise regimen.

The more commonly injured areas of the body are the ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows, and spine. Remember that you should discuss any exercise program with your doctor of chiropractic before undertaking such activities.

Strains and Sprains

Although bones can sometimes be fractured with acute sports injuries, the most commonly injured structures are the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Tendons attach muscles to bones, and ligaments attach one bone to another.

An acute twisting or overextension of a joint can lead to tears of muscles and tendons, called “strains,” and tears of ligaments result in “sprains.” These tears range from mild to severe. In mild injuries, just a few fibers are torn or stretched. Severe injuries, where there is a tear through the full thickness of the structure, are most often considered unstable injuries and frequently require surgical intervention. The intervertebral disc, a ligament between the vertebrae of the spine that works as a shock absorber, can also be torn, resulting in a disc bulge and/or herniation.

Ankle sprains most often involve tears of one or more of the ligaments along the outside of the ankle. Knee ligaments, including the larger external supportive ligaments and the smaller internal stabilizing ligaments, can also be torn. The cartilage on the back of the patella (knee-cap) can also become eroded from overuse, leading to a condition termed chondromalacia patella.

Chiropractic care can help treat sprains and strains by restoring normal function to the injured area. The chiropractor may also use one or more physiotherapy modalities such as ice, interferential muscle stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound, and rehabilitative therapies such as stretches and exercises, which all serve to help restore stability, range of motion, and normal use as soon as possible.

A study reported in The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that patients receiving chiropractic care for a sprain or strain lost an average of 2.3 days less of work than patients receiving care from a medical physician (MD), and 3.8 days less work than those receiving osteopathic care, concluding: “generally, fewer workdays were lost and lower amounts of disability compensation and provider cost paid when chiropractic was included in the care pattern.” (Johnson, Schultz, Ferguson: 1982)

Tendinosis

In those who are training too much, overuse of a particular joint or joints in the body can result in pain and dysfunction. These injuries are called “overuse syndromes.” A common overuse injury is tendinosis, also called tendinitis. In this condition, the tendon becomes inflamed from repetitive use. In the shoulder, the rotator cuff (a complex of muscles that stabilizes and moves the shoulder) becomes inflamed, resulting in rotator cuff tendinitis. Tennis elbow is another form of tendinitis that occurs along the outside of the elbow, most commonly in tennis players. In golfer’s elbow, the tendons on the inside of the elbow are affected.

The first goal of a chiropractor in treating tendonitis is to make an accurate diagnosis of the problem, ruling out any other possible underlying causes of the pain. This is necessary because the joint pain and stiffness of tendonitis are similar to the experience of bursitis or arthritis. X-rays, CAT (Computerized Axial Tomography) scans (an x-ray procedure used to create cross-sectional or three-dimensional images) and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) are tools a chiropractor might use to obtain an accurate diagnosis for tendonitis pain.

After the diagnosis, a chiropractor will select a natural treatment plan that addresses the cause of the tendonitis, rather than simply treating symptoms. Initially, the chiropractor may support and protect the injured tendons by bracing those portions of the tendon that were pulled. The tendon needs to be loosened and the inflammation reduced. Treatments that follow might include ultrasound, ice, rest, temporary immobilization, electrical muscle stimulation, manual trigger point therapy (applying firm pressure by hand on a trigger point for several seconds and then stretching the muscle afterward), strengthening exercises, physical therapy, and/or massage. Joint manipulation may also be performed on individuals with diminished joint mobility.

Stress Fractures

Some athletes may experience a stress fracture, also called a fatigue fracture. This type of fracture occurs when an abnormal amount of stress is placed on a normal bone. This might occur in a runner who rapidly increases the amount of mileage while training for a race. Stress fractures also occur in people who begin running as a form of exercise but overdo it from the start, rather than gradually progress to longer distances. A common type of stress fracture is known as shin splints. This overuse injury is caused by micro-fractures on the front surface of the tibia (shin bone).

While the main symptom of a shin splint is caused by a constant contraction of the muscle at the front of the leg, the root of the problem is usually related to improper biomechanics of the foot and knee. If twisting of the shin bone called tibial torsion is occuring, the tibialis anterior is forced to work much harder than necessary. This can cause significant damage to the cartilage pad of the knee if left untreated. This means that you must return the biomechanics of the foot and knee to proper function. Chiropractic treatment for shin splints focuses on returning the biomechanics of the foot and knee to proper function in order to reduce strain on the tibialis anterior so that it may heal.

Are you suffering from a sport-related injury? If you would like to begin a drug-free pain management protocol, please call our office as (304) 263-4927 today to schedule an appointment.
Sources: http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=3135

http://www.rennwellness.com/sprains-strains.html

http://www.altmd.com/Articles/Chiropractic-for-Tendonitis

http://chiro-doctor.com/conditions/shin-splints/

Wellness Wednesday: The Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.”Its unique combination of fatty acids can have profound positive effects on health.This includes fat loss, better brain function and various other amazing benefits.Here are the top 10 health benefits of coconut oil that have been experimentally confirmed in human studies.

1. Coconut Oil Contains a Unique Combination of Fatty Acids With Powerful Medicinal Properties

Coconut oil has been demonized in the past because it contains saturated fat. In fact, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat known to man, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated. However, new data is showing that saturated fats are harmless. Many massive studies that include hundreds of thousands of people prove that the whole “artery-clogging” idea was a myth. Additionally, coconut oil doesn’t contain your average run-of-the-mill saturated fats like you would find in cheese or steak. No, they contain so-called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length. Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently. They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

2. Populations That Eat a LOT of Coconut Are Among The Healthiest People on The Planet

Coconut is kind of an “exotic” food in the Western world, primarily consumed by health conscious people.However, in some parts of the world, coconut is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations.The best example of such a population is the Tokelauans, which live in the South Pacific. They eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world. These people are in excellent health, with no evidence of heart disease. Another example of a population that eats a lot of coconut and remains in excellent health is the Kitavans.3. Coconut Oil Can Increase Your Energy Expenditure, Helping You Burn More Fat

Obesity is currently one of the biggest health problems in the world. While some people think obesity is only a matter of calories, others (myself included) believe that the sources of those calories are critical too. It is a fact that different foods affect our bodies and hormones in different ways. In this regard, a calorie is NOT a calorie. The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase energy expenditure compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats. One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totalling about 120 calories per day.

4. The Lauric Acid in Coconut Oil Can Kill Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi, Helping to Stave Off Infections

Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is the 12-carbon Lauric Acid. When coconut oil is enzymatically digested, it also forms a monoglyceride called monolaurin. Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi. For example, these substances have been shown to kill the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus (a very dangerous pathogen) and the yeast Candida Albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans.

5. Coconut Oil Can Kill Your Hunger, Making You Eat Less Without Even Trying

One interesting feature of coconut oil is that it can reduce your hunger. This may be related to the way the fatty acids in it are metabolized, because ketone bodies can have an appetite reducing effect. In one study, varying amounts of medium and long chain triglycerides were fed to 6 healthy men. The men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories per day, on average. Another study in 14 healthy men discovered that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate significantly fewer calories at lunch. These studies were small and only done for a short period of time. If this effect were to persist over the long term, it could have a dramatic influence on body weight over a period of several years.

6. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Are Turned into Ketones, Which Can Reduce Seizures

A so-called ketogenic (very low carb, very high fat) diet is currrently being studied to treat various disorders. The best known therapeutic application of this diet is treating drug-resistant epilepsy in children. This diet involves eating very little carbohydrates and large amounts of fat, leading to greatly increased concentrations of ketone bodies in the blood. For some reason, this diet can dramatically reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children, even those who haven’t had success with multiple different types of drugs. Because the MCTs in coconut oil get shipped to the liver and turned into ketone bodies, they are often used in epileptic patients to induce ketosis while allowing for a bit more carbs in the diet.

7. Coconut Oil Can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels and May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats, which actually do not harm the blood lipid profile like previously thought. Saturated fats raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and change the LDL cholesterol to a benign subtype. In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced Total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil. There are also rat studies showing that coconut oil reduces triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, increases HDL and improves blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status. This improvement in cardiovascular risk factors should theoretically lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over the long term.

8. Coconut Oil Can Protect Hair Against Damage, Moisturize Skin and Function as Sunscreen

Coconut oil can serve various purposes that have nothing to do with eating it. Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair. Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture and lipid content of the skin. Coconut oil can also be very protective against hair damage and one study shows effectiveness as sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Another application is using it like mouthwash in a process called oil pulling, which can kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health and reduce bad breath.

9. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and occurs primarily in elderly individuals. In Alzheimer’s patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain. Ketone bodies can supply energy for the brain and researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s. In one 2006 study, consumption of medium chain triglycerides led to immediate improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s. Other studies support these findings and medium chain triglycerides are being intensively studied as potential therapeutic agents in Alzheimer’s disease.

10. Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Fat, Especially The Dangerous Fat in Your Abdominal Cavity

Given that coconut oil can reduce appetite and increase fat burning, it makes sense that it can also help you lose weight. Coconut oil appears to be especially effective in reducing abdominal fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs. This is the most dangerous fat of all and is highly associated with many Western diseases. Waist circumference is easily measured and is a great marker for the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity. A study in 40 women with abdominal obesity, supplementing with 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day lead to a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference in a period of 12 weeks. Another study in 20 obese males noted a reduction in waist circumference of 2.86 cm (1.1 inches) after 4 weeks of 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day. This number may not seem too impressive on the surface, but be aware that these people aren’t adding exercise or restricting calories. They’re losing significant amounts of abdominal fat simply by adding coconut oil to their diet.

Sources: http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/

TGIF: Are You Experiencing Estrogen Dominance?

Estrogen is not a single hormone. It is a class of hormones and hormone like compounds that have estrogenic properties.

There are human estrogens, animal estrogens, synthetic estrogens, phytoestrogens, and xenoestrogens.

The three human estrogens are estradiol, estrone, and estriol, and belong to the steroid hormone family.

“Estrogen dominance” is a term coined by Harvard physician John R. Lee M.D. It describes a condition where a woman can have deficient, normal, or excessive estrogen but the body has little or no progesterone to balance its effects. Signs and symptoms of estrogen dominance include:

start quote Estrogen dominance is a condition where a woman can have deficient, normal, or excessive estrogen but the body has little or no progesterone to balance its effects.end quote
Harvard physician John R. Lee M.D.
  • Speeds up the aging process
  • Weight gain around middle
  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Breast cancer
  • Breast tenderness
  • Cold hands and feet as a symptom of thyroid dysfunction
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Depression
  • Dry eyes
  • Early onset of menstruation
  • Uterine cancer
  • Fat gain in abdomen, hips, and thighs
  • Fatigue
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Foggy thinking
  • Hair loss
  • Headaches
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Increased blood clotting
  • Infertility
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Insomnia
  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • PMS
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Pre-menopausal bone loss
  • Sluggish metabolism
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Uterine cancer
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Water retention and bloatingCauses of Estrogen Dominance Syndrome

    Besides the natural hormonal fluctuations of menopause, certain lifestyle choices and conditions can also contribute to estrogen dominance syndrome.

  • Low-fiber diet

    A low-fiber diet causes estrogen levels to be higher, while a diet high in fiber results in decreased estrogen levels in the bloodstream. Why? Excess estrogen is excreted in the bowel. When stool remains in the bowel for a longer time, as in constipation, the estrogen is reabsorbed. Studies have shown that women on a high-fiber diet have lower levels of circulating estrogen. Lower levels of estrogen mean less estrogen stimulation of breast tissue, for example, which reduces the risk of breast cancer.

  • Overloading the Liver

    The liver is a filter of sorts. It detoxifies our body, protecting us from the harmful effects of chemicals, elements in food, environmental toxins, and even natural products of our metabolism, including excess estrogen.

    Anything that impairs liver function or ties up the detoxifying function will result in excess estrogen levels, whether it has a physical basis, as in liver disease, or an external cause, as with exposure to environmental toxins, drugs, or dietary substances.

    start quoteAnything that impairs liver function or ties up the detoxifying function will result in excess estrogen levelsend quote
    Harvard physician John R. Lee M.D.

    Estrogen is produced not only internally but also produced in reaction to chemicals and other substances in our food. When it is not broken down adequately, higher levels of estrogen build up.In like manner, the estrogen dominance syndrome can be evoked in women by too much alcohol, drugs, or environmental toxins, all of which limit the liver’s capacity to cleanse the blood of estrogen.

    Environment

    We live in an estrogenic or feminizing environment. Certain chemicals in the environment and our foods, one of which is DDT, cause estrogenic effects. Although banned in 1972, DDT, like its breakdown product DDE, is an estrogen-like substance and is still present in the environment.

    Chlorine and hormone residues in meats and dairy products can also have estrogenic effects. In men, the estrogenic environment may result in declining quality of sperm or fertility rates.

    In women, it may lead to an epidemic of female diseases, all traceable to excess estrogen/deficient progesterone.n industrialized countries such as the United States, diets rich in animal fats, sugar, refined starches, and processed foods can lead to estrogen levels in women twice that of women of third-world countries. We are constantly exposed to xenobiotics (petrochemicals), xenohormone-laden meats and dairy products, forms of pollution, and prescriptions for synthetic hormones (such as the ‘The Pill’ and Premarin).

    It isn’t too surprising that estrogen dominance has become an epidemic in industrialized countries. Over exposure to these potentially dangerous substances has significant consequences, one of which is passing on reproductive abnormalities to offspring.

    start quoteIt is irresponsible and dangerous for doctors to be routinely prescribing estrogen for any type of pre-menopausal or menopausal symptom, and this practice can have tragic consequences.end quote
    Harvard physician John R. Lee M.D.

    Estrogen “deficiency” that is quite often used as an explanation of menopausal symptoms or health problems is not supported by sound research. When a woman’s menstrual cycle is functioning normally, estrogen is the dominant hormone for the first two weeks and is balanced by progesterone, which is the dominant hormone for the latter two weeks.

    After menopause, estrogen is still present and continues to be manufactured in fat cells. Most menopausal women have too little estrogen to support pregnancy, but sufficient amounts for other normal body functions. Few women are truly deficient in estrogen; most become progesterone deficient.

    If estrogen becomes the dominant hormone and progesterone is deficient, excess estrogen becomes toxic to the body. Progesterone has a balancing effect on estrogen. Supplemental estrogen, even in the slightest amounts, in a woman who doesn’t need it, or who has no progesterone to balance it, can lead to many serious side effects.

    When a woman complains of even the slightest menopausal type symptoms, conventional medical doctors will recommend a prescription of estrogen. It is irresponsible and dangerous for doctors to be routinely prescribing estrogen for any type of pre-menopausal or menopausal symptom, and this practice can have tragic consequences.

Resetting the balance

If you suffer from some of the problems mentioned earlier and think your diet or toxins may be causing estrogen dominance in your system, you may want to consult with an innovative functional medicine physician who recognizes the syndrome of estrogen dominance. Such a physician can measure the levels of hormones in your blood or, in the case of progesterone, in your saliva. Estrogen dominance is not a standard medical diagnosis but is entering the lexicon of alternative-minded physicians.

A functional medicine physician would be likely to recommend the following means of resetting your estrogen balance:

  • Increase dietary fiber. Bowel regularity can ensure excess estrogen is eliminated.
  • Prescribe dietary supplements containing herbs, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. These supplements will promote bile circulation, support breast and hormonal health, and help to deactivate toxic substances and excess hormones, encouraging their elimination from the body.
  • To balance the excess estrogen, a natural progesterone (in the form of a cream or tincture) may be prescribed to provide a balance in hormones.
  • Perform aerobic exercise. Research shows that physical activity curtails overproduction of estrogen. However, if taken too far, exercise can abolish periods altogether, resulting in the dangerous condition of Female Athlete Triad.
  • Optimize your weight. Excess body fat results in conservation of estrogen. This may be why overweight women are at lower risk for osteoporosis; conversely, they are at higher risk of breast and uterine cancer.

If you think you might be suffering from estrogen dominance, please call our office at (304) 263-4927 today to schedule an appointment to begin a personalized treatment plan.

Sources: http://drhoffman.com/article/estrogen-dominance-syndrome-2/

Stickin’ it Tue You: Acupuncture and Neck Pain Relief

Neck Pain“It’s a pain in the neck.”

You know you’ve hit the big time when you’re a metaphor for all things troubling, harrowing, aggravating, and stressful. Neck pain is certainly a well-known experience; each year, 10 percent of the world’s population struggles with it, according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). For some, acute neck pain is a temporary affliction, but for others, chronic suffering interferes with daily activities and lowers quality of life in the long term. 

Causes of Neck Pain

Neck pain isn’t often symptomatic of systemic illnesses. Only about 10 percent of cases have such causes, notes ACR. In those instances, polymyalgia rheumatica is a common culprit. Far more often, acute or chronic neck pain is seen in response to overuse, strain, muscle tension, injury, poor posture, osteoarthritis, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and fibromyalgia.

Stress and anxiety are frequently implicated in neck pain because they produce significant muscle tension. As for injuries, whiplash and sports or exercise mishaps are typical underlying cause. Neck pain also thrives with acitivities of our modern lifestyle. Hunching over phones and e-readers, for example, or sitting for hours at a time at the computer and long drives contribute to problems.

Acupuncture Effectively Treats Neck Pain

Whether acute or chronic, people with neck pain find themselves eager for relief. Acupuncture has repeatedly demonstrated its efficacy for quickly providing relief from neck pain. As The New York Times reports, not only does acupuncture outperform placebo treatments for pain relief, the therapy also beats out standard care approaches.

 Acupuncture Safely Treats Neck Pain

Acupuncture doesn’t just work really well to remedy neck pain—it’s also safe, as the National Institutes of Health reassures with studies like “The Safety of Acupuncture.” It’s particularly telling to compare the noninvasive and holistic nature of acupuncture to the gold standard of pharmaceutical neck pain management, non-steroidal anti-inflammatroy drugs (NSAIDs).

While acupuncture generally causes no adverse effects or complications, the same cannot be said for NSAIDs like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. These are notably problematic for people seeking long-term pain management for chronic conditions. Stomach upset and headaches are common side effects, but NSAIDs can do serious bodily damage with continuing use. Bleeding in the stomach, increased stomach acid, high blood pressure, and kidney and liver damage are all concerns, notes WebMD.

 Neck Pain Treatment Versus Symptom Suppression

NSAIDs temporarily inhibit the body’s inflammatory response and block its ability to sense pain. In other words, they merely mask symptoms. In contrast, acupuncture not only soothes symptoms, it also works on underlying causes of the problem to provide actual treatment. This is why the therapy so consistently provides lasting relief from neck pain.

Acupuncture is well-suited to neck pain treatment for a variety of reasons. It provides fast results by triggering the release of endorphins and other pain-relieving chemicals. But it continues to work because it eases muscle tension and increases circulation and oxygenation in the affected area and throughout the entire body. It’s also world-famous for its ability to reduce the physical effects of stress, which is so often a primary concern with acute and chronic neck pain.

Source: http://www.acupuncturecure.com/treating-neck-pain-with-acupuncture/