Archive for September, 2010

San Diego Spinal Decompression Specialist Shows How Stress May Be Your Back Pain Culprit

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

The holidays are just around the corner.  There will be presents to unwrap, there will be gifts to buy and there will be big holiday meals to devour.  But there is one thing left to consider for many of us. It is the back pain many suffer around the stressful holidays.

Back pain is much more common than you may think.  And the culprit may have be one of a number of many things. For example, all those special holiday meals and desserts you enjoy may start it all.  Clearly, the holidays are a special time not just for sharing with loved ones – but packing on a few extra pounds put added stress to your spine and muscles.  And adding just a little extra weight can be enough to flare-up old back pain and problems or be the straw that breaks the camel’s back to create ‘brand new’ back pain.

Add in all the stress the holidays inevitably bring to many of us, and many cases of back pain either begin or get worse. What can you do when this happens?  One of the best solutions is to exercise because exercise not only helps reduce the extra pounds, it also relieves stress to the spine and overall.

But there’s a problem to consider when thinking about exercising. It may not wise to start an exercise program if you already have back pain.  Many times, back pain is caused by malfunctioning spinal joints in the lower back which could be aggravated by exercise and other stress applied to the spine.

Back pain caused by not working joints can be helped by conservative Chiropractic treatment.  One study found that spinal manipulation to be a recommendable method of symptom control for back pain. Chiropractic care can gently help your lower back function properly so the pain can possibly go away naturally and when you’re pain free, exercising and shedding the pounds is much easier than before!

For more information about back pain, back pain sufferers can contact New Century Spine Centers in San Diego. The chiropractors and spinal decompression doctors at New Century are some of the top chiropractors in the world. Suffering from back pain is an option. You can live pain free if you get the proper treatment.

The Holiday Effect On Fibromyalgia

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Anyone suffering from fibromyalgia knows how painful and depressing life can be.  At New Century Spine Centers in San Diego, fibromyalgia is a common ailment that many people come in for. Many fibromyalgia patients who come in for chiropractic care also know how misunderstood this condition can be. Until you suffer with fibromyalgia, it is difficult to really understand the true effects on a person.

But, with the help of modern research (and a little care and understanding) some doctors are starting to gain more and more knowledge about the causes, diagnosis and treatment. It is not a condition that is completely misunderstood anymore.

For example, in a 558 chronic pain patient study, the American College of Rheumatology found that they could accurately identify which patients had fibromyalgia, at an 88% accuracy level. This supports that fibromyalgia can be accurately diagnosed and may not be “all in your head” as many doctors previously thought.

It was also found that many people can have fibromyalgia with less than the previously required 11 tender points as long as they have widespread pain and many of these symptoms: fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, sleeping problems, chronic headache, jaw (TMJ) pain, memory problems, muscle pain, morning stiffness, menstrual cramping, numbness and tingling, dizziness, skin and chemical sensitivities.

Stress has long been theorized to be a major factor in fibromyalgia. And starting a new year and the upcoming holidays that come along with it is one of the most stressful times of the year.

Like all doctors’ offices, care may vary from office to office. So if you are looking for a Chiropractor who offers short term, affordable fibromyalgia care, or if you have questions, call New Century Chiropractic in San Diego. The chiropractors at New Century Spine Centers can help you get your life back on track and eliminate the pain and suffering associated with fibromyalgia. You can be seen immediately with no obligation to extensive treatment plans.

Dark Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure?

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

If you love chocolate, you don’t need a reason to eat it. On the contrary – you need a pretty darn good reason not to! For years, chocolate was considered a delightful sin… a little guilty pleasure.

Well, the results of 15 studies may change all that. Here is why… According to a recent press release, “For people with hypertension, eating dark chocolate can significantly reduce blood pressure.

Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Medicine combined the results of 15 studies into the effects of flavanols, the compounds in chocolate which cause dilation of blood vessels, on blood pressure.”

According to the press release, the reduction seen for people with hypertension is comparable to the known effects of 30 minutes of daily exercise and might theoretically reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event by around 20%.

Did You Know?

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

A human can live without food for almost a month but survive no longer than a week without water. The UN estimates a person needs a minimum of 50 liters of water a day for drinking, washing, cooking and sanitation. However, over a billion people do not have access to this minimum amount. According to UNESCO, the world’s population is appropriating 54% of all the accessible freshwater contained in rivers, lakes and underground aquifers. If per capita consumption of water resources continues to rise at its current rate, humankind could be using over 90% of all available freshwater within 25 years, leaving just 10% for all other living beings. Freshwater lakes and swamps account for a mere 0.29% of the earth’s freshwater. 20% of all surface freshwater is in one lake, Lake Baikal in Asia. Another 20% is stored in the Great Lakes. Rivers hold only about 0.006% of total freshwater reserves. Mankind uses only a drop in the bucket of the total available water supply. So where is all the water? Antarctica is thought to hold about 75% of the world’s fresh water (and 90% of the world’s ice). In fact, almost 10 percent of the world’s land mass is currently covered with glaciers, mostly in Antarctica and Greenland. But it will take more than a Zippo lighter to melt it for daily use. For the United States, one crucial source is the huge underground reservoir which stretches from Texas to South Dakota, the 800-mile Ogallala aquifer. It provides an estimated third of all US irrigation water. In fact, 95% of the United States’ fresh water is underground. In Libya, the Great Man Made River Project, as it’s called, is pumping some 6 million cubic meters of water a day from aquifers in the desert, providing irrigation for 150,000 hectares of land. Many countries have turned to aquifers to quench peoples’ thirst. Aquifers form over thousands of years, but many had been cut off from their original natural sources and are being steadily depleted. In some areas, like Mexico City, aquifer levels dropped by 3 – 5 feet a year, essentially sinking whole areas.

When You Go To The Doctor, Do You Get REAL or FAKE Medicine? And Which One Is Better?

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Imagine this: You have a joint pain…such as back or neck pain. You go to a rheumatologist – a doctor who treats arthritis and other joint problems. He or she examines you and determines your problem. He or she prescribes a treatment and describes the treatment to you as “a potentially beneficial medicine not typically used for your condition.”

What Would You Do? Would you follow his or her recommendations? Probably. And you would probably do it without much question or skepticism at all. Right?

Would THIS information change your decision? According to an October 23, 2008 Associated Press article, a recent survey found about 50% of American doctors REGULARLY give their patients drugs or vitamins that won’t help their condition. But that’s not the worst part… These “placebo” treatments are not explained to their patients.

For example, in the survey, a random sample of 1,200 internists and rheumatologists were questioned; 679 of the doctors responded to the survey, and…62% Believed Using A Placebo Treatment Was Ethically Acceptable

But really, is that so bad? After all, some studies have shown the “placebo effect” to be real. A certain percentage of patients actually get better when they believe the treatment they are getting works – when in reality, it is a sugar pill sham. (Which is an amazing testament to the power of your mind and the human body!)

Think about it. Just believing you are going to get better has the ability to make you better.

How Can This Be? Actually, it’s simple. Allow me to explain…

Imagine you’re walking in a really dark place. Maybe it’s in the woods… or an unlit street… or you’re home alone one night and all the lights in your house are off…And in the complete darkness… someone sneaks up on you and touches you. Or yells, “BOO!!!” What happens? Yes… you almost jump out of your skin. But what happens INSIDE YOU?

Here’s what: Your heart rate suddenly and sharply increases. Your pupils dilate. The hair follicles on your body stand on end. Your breathing increases. You stomach feels queasy. You instantly sweat. And you are wide awake and ready to go!!!

It’s called the “fight or flight” response. In an instant, your brain signals your body and you produce an incredible array of chemicals – commonly called an “adrenaline rush.” What’s more, anytime you are under stress, your body has a similar response. If the stressor is not so sudden or intense – your body’s response will not be as severe.

This is exactly how many people can become “suddenly” ill with a serious disease, even those that seem to have no blatant cause. Small or moderate amounts of stress can cause your body to dump these “fight or flight” chemicals into your body over and over again for years and years and years. And just like smoking cigarettes over a long period of time can lead to lung cancer and other serious health problems, your body’s reaction to stress can slowly break down your immune system and lead to real problems. Which is exactly why so many people say… Stress Kills!

On the other side of the coin, if your body can produce “bad” chemicals, it can also produce “good” ones. That’s what the placebo effect is. When you believe 100% you are taking a medication that will help, your body reacts in a way that heals.

Here’s one very good theory about why that happens…When you are faced with stress, your body reacts in a harsh way in an attempt to save you from the impending danger. The adrenaline rush is important to quickly get you out of harms way, if necessary. So it makes complete sense that if you REMOVED stress from your life – you would not only never produce the harmful chemicals from the fight or flight reaction – but your body may produce healing chemicals instead.

After all, what happens when you get a placebo? You are sick and stressed out because you are sick. You don’t know if it is serious, if you will get better or if you will get worse. We humans have a tendency to let our minds run crazy and always think of the worst case scenario, don’t we?

I’m sure you’ve had a little ache or pain at some point and thought you had a disease you were going to lose a limb or die from… and then it turned out to be NOTHING!!! We all have.

Anyway, back to the placebo effect. When you go to the doctor and he tells you he knows what is wrong with you and gives you something to take care of it – you instantly RELAX. All the stress and strain of the unknown mystery disease that was going to kill you is gone. Not only is the stress removed, but your body is able to relax and do what it does best…

Heal! So… the placebo effect is a good thing, right? Certainly. But there is an ethical question to all this, that was raised in the above-mentioned survey. You see, for the placebo effect to work, you really have to believe 100% you are receiving a treatment that works. Can you see the catch 22 for doctors here? In order for the placebo effect to work they must lie to you.

And that’s exactly what the survey found. According to the Associated Press article, “Half of the doctors reported using placebos several times a month, nearly 70 percent of those described the treatment to their patients as ‘a potentially beneficial medicine not typically used for your condition.’ Only 5 percent of doctors explicitly called it a placebo treatment.” And here’s what may be shocking: “Most doctors used actual medicines as a placebo: 41 percent used painkillers, 38 percent used vitamins, 13 percent used antibiotics, 13 percent used sedatives, 3 percent used saline injections, and 2 percent used sugar pills.” When questioned, 60% of doctors said they would prescribe a sugar pill for chronic pain if it had been shown to work better than no treatment. According to the AP article, Franklin G. Miller, one of the authors of the study and director of the research ethics program at the U.S. National Institutes for Health said, “It’s a disturbing finding. There is an element of deception here which is contrary to the principle of informed consent.”

Clearly, there are two BIG issues here: Always doing what’s best for your patients and always informing them everything that is going on. You may ask yourself this: Would you rather receive a placebo and not know about it and get better… or… be 100% informed and stay sick? Only you can answer that question.

But on the bright side – this demonstrates the body’s amazing ability to produce whatever it needs to heal itself. And more of your time and effort should be spent on eliminating all the stressors in your life – and focusing on all the wonderful things life has to offer. There is no doubt you will be happier and healthier!!!

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome May Have Absolutely Nothing To Do With Your Wrist!

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) maybe one of the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed and mistreated conditions in modern medicine. It’s a crying shame because countless carpal tunnel victims could end their pain and suffering…almost overnight…if they only knew what I’m about to reveal to you.

I’m serious. If you’re suffering with CTS, what you’re about to discover can literally give you your life back. If you know anyone battling carpal tunnel, give them this newsletter. You may be responsible for changing their life. So, without any further adieu, let’s jump right into it. Here are the facts: The U.S. Department of Labor has concluded that carpal tunnel syndrome is a “chief occupational hazard – disabling workers in epidemic proportions.” Carpal Tunnel Syndrome affects over 8 – million Americans.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the #1 reported medical problem, accounting for about 50% of all work related injuries. Only 25% of all Carpal Tunnel Syndrome patients were able to return to their previous professions following surgery. Up to 36% of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome patients require unlimited medical treatment. Surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the second most common type of surgery, with well over 230,000 procedures performed annually.

I don’t know about you, but reading those statistics tells me something is wrong…radically wrong…with the “accepted” methods of treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out surgery is NOT the way to go when 230,000 are being performed each year and only 25% are able to return to their previous jobs. And returning to work does NOT mean pain-free. I wonder how many of that 25% were actually pain free? Add in the inherent risks of all surgeries (like the ones that go horribly wrong) and your option of going under the knife starts looking like a DISTANT last resort. NOT a valid first option.

So, What Other Options Do You Have? Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has traditionally been defined as an entrapment of the median nerve inside the carpal tunnel of your wrist. The floor of the carpal tunnel is made of eight carpal…or…“wrist” bones. They are odd shaped and fit together kind of like a puzzle. Ligaments (which are like fishing line) help hold the bones together. The roof of the tunnel is a ligament – the transverse carpal ligament – that stretches from one side of the tunnel to the other. The space that is formed between the carpal bones and the transverse carpal ligament is about the size of your pinky. A bunch of “things” pass through that small space, including: nine flexor tendons (tendons attach muscle to bone), blood vessels and ONE nerve, the median nerve, which is the primary nerve to your hand.

The traditional definition of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is compression of the median nerve as it passes through that tunnel. Nerves are like tiny wires that transmit electrical impulses from your brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body. Every time you want to move your hand, your brain sends electrical impulses down the median nerve to the muscles in your hand, causing them to contract. Nerves are VERY sensitive and can easily get “pinched” or “compressed.” If the median nerve gets pinched or compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel — it causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It is commonly thought that an injury or repetitive stress to the wrist can cause such an injury.

Here’s the problem with all that: there is another condition that causes the exact same symptoms as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that has little or nothing to do with the wrist! This condition is called Double Crush Syndrome and here’s how it works: There are many sites that can compress a nerve as it goes from your brain and spinal cord to your wrist. Simply put, Double Crush Syndrome occurs when you have multiple compression sites.

More importantly, a compression site closer to the spinal cord (closer to your neck) and brain makes it much easier for a nerve to be compressed elsewhere…like the wrist. In plain English…You Would NOT Have Carpal Tunnel Symptoms If You Only Had Compression In Your Wrist. It Is The COMBINATION Of The Compression Sites That Causes The Problem!!! So, in most case, if you remove the entrapment or compression that is closer to the spine (neck), many, if notall, of your symptoms will go away without ever touching the wrist!!!

The most common sites of compression or entrapment are – - a muscle in your forearm called the pronator teres, the thoracic outlet (by your shoulder), and your neck. The most common place seems to be as the nerve exits your spine in your neck. Is There A Solution? That’s why specific Chiropractic care can work wonders for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome when all else has failed. By gently restoring function of your neck via chiropractic care, compression on the nerve can be relieved… eliminating Double Crush Syndrome… the TRUE cause of your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

A complete Chiropractic evaluation can also detect if your carpal tunnel symptoms are coming from one of theother compression/entrapment sites like your forearm, shoulder or wrist…and work on those areas as well. The important thing to remember is you must be evaluated by a doctor that understands Double Crush Syndrome and evaluate you for all the possible compression sites and fix them properly. A hand specialist may completely overlook the REAL cause of your problem…Double Crush Syndrome. If you are suffering with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), be sure your doctor has thoroughly examined you to determine if your CTS is due to Double Crush Syndrome. A proper examination for CTS would include the entire arm and neck in order to trace the full length of the nerve. Since the neck is the most common site for a Double Crush to occur, a consultation with a cervical spine specialist (Chiropractor) would be in your best interests, especially if you’ve been recommended for carpal tunnel surgery. Only by identifying the true cause can your doctor accurately treat and relieve your condition.

cts tx in San Diego

Carpal tunnel treatment in San Diego

Why Computer Mice And Shopping Carts Can Be Hazardous To Your Health.

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Here’s something you’ll probably find interesting… and… may keep you from getting sick. A report by the Korean Consumer Protection Board analyzed six items commonly handled by the public for sources of bacterial infections. The kind of infections that get you sick all the time. And here’s what they found: Shopping cart handles were by far the worst… with 1,100 units of bacteria per 1.5 square inches…YUCK!!!

Makes you think twice about going shopping… doesn’t it? Here’s the rest of the list that may make you think twice about doing a few other things, too… 1) A computer mouse used at an Internet cafe: 690 units, 2) Hand straps on a bus: 380 units, 3) Bathroom door handles: 340 units, and 4) Elevator buttons: 130 units

So what can you do to avoid getting sick if all these things you touch everyday are covered in deadly bacteria? The first thing to understand is that we were not made to function in a sterile environment. Far from it. Our bodies are constantly interacting with large amounts of bacteria all the time. Some bacteria is helpful to your body. For example… there is “good” bacteria present in your digestive tract that helps you break down and assimilate your food. Without this good bacteria, your body would have serious health problems. That’s why, when you take antibiotics, you can have intestinal problems – like diarrhea. Because antibiotics can’t determine which bacteria is good and which is bad. It kills both. And think about this – you are in contact with “bad” bacteria – the kind that makes you sick – every single day. So, why aren’t you sick all the time?

And why aren’t doctors that have sick patients breathing on them all day constantly sick too?

The answer lies in the fact that your body was made with the ability to determine which bacteria is bad and fight it off… while living in harmony with the good bacteria. So why do you get sick at all? You get sick for many reasons because your resistance becomes lowered and your body can no longer fight off the “germs”.

Some of those reasons are: stress, diet, lack of exercise and/or sleep, and a malfunctioning nervous system from spinal malfunction. Since it is impossible to live in a bubble and not be exposed to all this bacteria… what’s the best way to avoid getting sick? The best way is to eat right, get plenty of sleep, avoid stress and get routine Chiropractic check-ups.

And one last piece of advice: One of the best ways to avoid unnecessary contact with all these germs is to wash your hands! But, not with those anti-bacterial wipes or soaps. Some experts are concerned that those products are simply creating resistant strains of the bacteria. So the best thing to do is use soap and water.

These Commonly Used Over-The-Counter Cold Medicines Are Not For Kids

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

First do no harm.  That’s one of the most basic and important concepts in the practice of medicine.  But in this day and age, profit seems to have taken that age-old motto’s place …Even when it comes to our children. The Associated Press reported that “Very young children simply should not take some commonly used cold and cough medicine federal health officials say in recommending that the “consult your physician” advice to parents on the labels be dropped. The preliminary recommendation, from Food and Drug Administration safety officials, would apply to decongestant use in children under 2, and antihistamines in those younger than 6, according to agency documents.

The more than 350 pages of documents are part of a broad and ongoing FDA examination of whether the roughly 800 medicines, many popular and widely used, are safe and effective in treating children’s colds and coughs.” The FDA review came in response to a petition filed by Baltimore city officials who say many of the over-the-counter cold and cough medicines can harm toddlers and pre-schoolers.  According to the Associated Press article: “Those officials, joined by the American Academy of Pediatrics, cite evidence that suggests the drugs are not only risky but also don’t work in the very young.

“The basic question is why a product should be so relentlessly marketed when it’s not safe or effective?” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Baltimore’s health commissioner. “It does not make sense, in the absence of information, to say ‘consult a physician,’ because they do not have superhuman powers. They cannot make a product safe or effective.” Here’s something interesting:  The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (which represents the makers of over-the-counter medicines) supports not using these cold and cough medicines in children under the age of two. The association’s president, Linda Suydam, said they recommend adding a warning that the drugs not be used to sedate young children.

Wow.  It’s a sad state when labels stating THAT has to be added and is not common sense to most parents.  But in many parents’ defense — society has been BOMBARDED with brilliant marketing campaigns that make these drugs sound safe and effective.  And even beyond that – flat out miracles. That being said… check out what Dr. William Campbell Douglass II, M.D. has to say about the issue:        “I grumble about the incompetence of today’s parents a lot. It’s no secret that I think new-fangled ‘diseases’ such as ADD and ADHD are nothing more than kids being kids — and parents NOT being parents. I shudder to think that the future of this great nation is going to be largely in the hands of children who were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and have been dependent on drugs nearly from infancy.

“Something I haven’t spilled much ink over — but that is equally deserving of ridicule, in my eyes — is the absurd action of sedating children with OTC cold and allergy drugs. It’s a whole new level of irresponsibility and selfishness on the part of parents, caregivers, and anyone else who thinks children should come with an on/off switch.  Newsflash: It doesn’t work that way. “Still, that hasn’t stopped a portion of the population from drugging (yes, drugging — let’s call a spade a spade) children with allergy or cold medicines whenever it was convenient. But if the ethical concerns weren’t strong enough to make these people think twice, maybe the safety concerns will.

“The sedation issue has brought about the long overdue examination of certain cough and cold medicines for children THAT WERE NEVER ADEQUATELY TESTED in children. It’s a dirty little secret, but now pediatricians and health officials are finally bringing it to light.  “Brand names that have become the standard treatment for children — drugs such as Toddler’s Dimetapp, Triaminic Infant, and Little Colds — were placed on the market before the FDA tightened its pre-market testing standards. The main compound in Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is under inspection for the same reasons.

“This will likely come as a shock to most parents. After all, the drug companies are allowed to market the cough medicines for children — even though no studies have been done showing that they’re safe OR effective!” This newsletter is not endorsing or condemning the statement made by Dr. Douglass.  What it does endorse is open discussion on the subject, and Dr. Douglass’ right to his opinion. You must admit – it is something to think about.  Especially when you take these facts into account: An FDA review of side-effect records filed with the agency between 1969 and September 2006 found 54 reports of deaths in children associated with decongestant medicines made with pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine or ephedrine. It also found 69 reports of deaths associated with antihistamine medicines containing diphenhydramine, brompheniramine or chlorpheniramine.

Most of the deaths were children younger than 2. The CDC found that in 2004 and 2005, over 1,500 children less than 2 years old had to be taken to the hospital after taking a common cough and cold medicine. Three of them died. And in Maryland alone (where the petition to review the safety and efficacy of cough and cold medicines originated), 900 children under 4 years old overdosed on these medications in 2004, and in the last 5 years such drugs have been linked to 4 deaths. Also on September 28th, the FDA gave drug companies until Oct. 31 to stop making and selling any unapproved prescription medicines labeled for use by children younger than 6 that contain the painkiller and cough suppressant hydrocodone.

The move is part of a broader effort to remove from sale an estimated 200 unapproved prescription cough medicines made with the narcotic. Manufacturers of any other unapproved hydrocodone medicines, beyond those intended for young children, must stop making them by Dec. 31 and cease shipping them by March 31, 2008, the FDA said. It said the order applies to most of the hydrocodone formulations sold as cough medicines. And according to Dr. Douglass, “Manufacturers claim that the drugs are safe when they’re used on the proper age group (6 years old and up) and with the proper dosage.” But do they even know what constitutes proper dosage? According to Dr. Charles Gangley, the Director of the FDA’s Office of Nonprescription Drug Products, most dosages listed on these labels are no more than EDUCATED GUESSES. He said, “We have no data on these agents of what’s a safe and effective dose in children.”  My advice: We’re talking about children here, infants and toddlers. So first things first: Let’s worry about SAFETY first and get to effective from there.”