TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHETHER YOUR BUTT PAIN / SCIATICA IS DISC OR PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME?
TRY THIS SIMPLE HOME TEST
My guess is that you may have already read my posts on PIRIFORMIS OR DISC?
and PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME OR SCIATICA?
. Today I would like to provide you with a simple test that you can do at home to help you answer the question proposed in the title of this post ---- is your pain due to PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME
or is it due to DISC HERNIATION(S)
? If you are planning on traveling to see me, this is an important question to attempt to answer beforehand ---- particularly in light of OVERUSED MRI'S
and ASYMPTOMATIC DISC HERNIATIONS
. Although both of the problems in the diagrams above can cause leg pain (SCIATICA
), as you can see, that leg pain is arising from very different anatomical regions.
- PIFRIFORMIS SYNDROME: The picture on the right is of a right buttock. The Sciatic Nerve (yellow) can be seen emerging from underneath the Piriformis Muscle (red) through a little window called "The Sciatic Notch" (see arrow). When the Sciatic Nerve is pinched or irritated in the vicinity of the Piriformis Muscle, the result is typically buttock pain or paresthesias (numbness, tingling, or other 'odd' sensations) that radiates down the leg in a fairly unpredictable pattern. Due to the fact that anomalies of the Piriformis / Sciatic region are so common (Sciatic Nerves can travel around or even through the Piriformis Muscle in a wide variety of ways), you will need to prod around several areas on the buttocks to make sure that you are getting the correct spot.
- DISC HERNIATION: The animation on the left is of a disc herniation that is pressing on a nerve root. Because all of the nerve roots from your lower back region grow together into one large nerve (the Sciatic Nerve), the pain is not only typically found locally --- at the site of the Herniation ---- but it has the ability to travel into the leg just like Piriformis Syndrome (you can begin to see why these can be so difficult to differentiate from one another). Just be aware that this Disc-based Sciatica has the ability to manifest in dozens, if not hundreds of different ways. Neither is it terribly uncommon for people to have Disc-based Sciatica without having local pain in their back.
TESTING THE PIRIFORMIS AGAINST THE DISC
(As you should gather from the bullet points above, this method is in no ways fool-proof)
One way to try and determine whether or not your problem is Piriformis Syndrome or Disc Herniation is to firmly probe both areas (if you are not firm, you may not elicit a pain response).
In most cases of Piriformis Syndrome, I can reproduce the buttock pain / Sciatica, simply by sticking a thumb into the region at or around the end of the arrow (see diagram above right). Mind you, this will need to be done with firmness
. Now we move up to the lumbar spine (2-4 inches above the top of the butt crack) and firmly
press a thumb into this region as well (you are probably going to have to have a spouse or friend do this for you --- it will be all but impossible for you to press firmly
enough on your own backside).
If you cannot elicit Sciatica or low back pain by pressing firmly in and around the lumbar spine, and you can cause buttock pain and / or Sciatica by pressing firmly into the buttock area, your problem is more likely to be Piriformis Syndrome. If, on the other hand, you firmly press into the low back and elicit local pain and Sciatica, your problem is more likely to be Disc-related.
This simple test is not fool-proof by any means. Furthermore, it will not provide the sought after information unless the person doing the test really presses in with some firmness.
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BUTT PAIN OR PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME?
DOES IT REALLY MATTER?
If you watch very many of our VIDEO TESTIMONIALS
, you'll see that lots of people from all over the country (and even some from out of the country) travel to Mountain View, Missouri in search of relief for their Chronic Buttock Pain. Do all of these folks have PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME
? In other words, just because these people have pain in their butt (with or without Sciatica), does that necessarily
mean that they have Piriformis Syndrome? Doubtful. However, I do think that a great deal of butt pain is
Piriformis Syndrome, and if you read my post the other day, you'll realize that I very much believe it to be more common ----- FAR MORE COMMON
---- than the 1-3 percent of SCIATICA
sufferers that doctors actually diagnose as PS (if they ever diagnose this problem at all).
I get dozens of emails a week that go something like this: "Dear Doctor Schierling, I have this pain in my butt. Do you think I might have Piriformis Syndrome? I am willing to travel from ________ (insert your city or country here) if you are confident that you can help me.
Maybe I can help. Unfortunately, that's not a lot to go on. The truth is, long-distance diagnosis of anything
is difficult. But trying to diagnose Piriformis Syndrome
from an email is usually next to impossible. And trying to predict whether or not you will respond to treatment ahead of time.........? That's even harder still.
You see; even if you do have PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME
, it is no guarantee that what I do will help you. If Piriformis Syndrome were a simple diagnosis to make, with a simple fix, you would not be reading this post and debating whether or not to travel to the Ozark Mountains of rural Missouri. But back to the question I raised in the title, "Butt Pain or Piriformis Syndrome
This question sort of reminds me of one that I answered a couple of years back; is it "PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME OR SCIATICA?
". The question at hand, "is it Piriformis Syndrome or just plain old butt pain
", is all but impossible for me to answer --- even if I have you in front of me and am able to examine you. If the average Neurologist / Orthopedic Surgeon can't tell you what it is, what makes you think that I can do better?
The thing is; I'm not sure if answering this question really matters. I mean; how important is it that I am able to exactly diagnose it as Piriformis Syndrome (Butt Pain has many DIFFERENT CAUSES
). By the time that someone who is coming from long-distance to see me gets here, they have tried just about everything there is to try. They have been through all the tests to rule out things like CANCER
or DISC HERNIATION
. They have tried the INJECTIONS
. They have been on all sorts of HARDCORE PAIN MEDS
. They have gone through lots of therapy / Chiropractic. They have probably even contemplated some sort of surgery! Allow me to make a suggestion.
Call the problem whatever you want, I help a lot of people with butt pain --- whether it is 'officially
' diagnosed as Piriformis Syndrome or not. Can I help your particular case? Who knows? Although I weed out lots of people that I know up front that I cannot help via EMAIL CONSULTATION / HISTORIES
and / or phone calls, it is impossible to know whether someone with Piriformis Syndrome will get better or not until I actually treat them. I hate that this is the best I have to offer. I wish I could give you some sort of grantee. But really; who else is offering you any degree of real HOPE
in just one visit?
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HOW COMMON IS PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME?
MORE COMMON THAN
YOU EVER DREAMED!
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About 5 million of the 26 million Americans who suffer from low back pain each year have piriformis syndrome..... Even though your back is flawless, the piriformis muscle in the buttock may tighten, go into spasm and entrap the sciatic nerve, causing the same symptoms and misery that come with herniated disks. Those who compile statistics declare that piriformis syndrome may account for as much as 50 percent of the pain that strikes in the backside and radiates down the back of the leg. Dr. Loren Fishman (MD) writing for the April 11, 2011 issue of the Huffington Post on the topic of Piriformis Syndrome.
Dr. Fishman's statistic of 50% is higher than anything I have previously seen. But he is definitely in the ballpark. But most of the medical community does not agree. In fact, if it weren't for Dr. Aaron Filler's 2005 UCLA study saying that Piriformis Syndrome is the
major cause of SCIATICA
in America (36%), the highest incidence I could come up with was 6%. And from there, most of the studies on the subject put the incidence of Piriformis Syndrome among low back pain / sciatica patients at anywhere from 1/3 of a percent to 6%. That is until this year's Malaysian study.
Back in April, doctors Kean and Nizar (Anesthesiologists) from Malaysia's
Sarawak General Hospital in Kuching, published a study in Pain Practice
saying that when they ran a F.A.I.R. Test
(increased H-reflex latency with modified flexion, adduction, and internal rotation on EMG), on patients with low back pain / sciatica. They found that over 17% tested positive. This was their only criteria for arriving at the diagnosis of PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME
. The conclusions of their study said, "Piriformis syndrome is a painful condition that is often overlooked in the differential diagnosis of chronic buttock or low back pain.
" I would have to concur.
Study after study says that Piriformis Syndrome is both difficult to diagnose. This is surely why I would characterize it as under-diagnosed ---- way under-diagnosed. You'll begin to understand why, once you understand the criteria for reaching the diagnosis. Listen to what Wikipedia says about the subject, "The diagnosis of Piriformis Syndrome is largely clinical
[i.e. tests do such a poor job of showing it, your doctor will have to recognize it via patient signs and symptoms] and is one of exclusion. Diagnostic modalities such as CT, MRI, ultrasound, and EMG are mostly useful in excluding other conditions [namely disc]." However, this presents its own unique problem that I wrote on recently. In at least 50% of the lumbar MRI's that show a DISC HERNIATION, you have to assume it is "Asymptomatic" (the disc is not where the pain is coming from). This is why it is so difficult to read too much into positive MRI findings for discs because of the absurdly high incidence of these ASYMPTOMATIC DISC BULGES.
None of this is news to those who have actually been diagnosed with Piriformsis Syndrome. If you have not yet been diagnosed, you are likely still in the process of researching ---- and being run through every diagnostic test imaginable --- many more than once ---- and probably not finding many answers. Yet despite several studies showing an almost 100% effectiveness of CORTICOSTEROID INJECTIONS
for solving this misunderstood and potentially debilitating problem, I have not seen results anywhere near that in my practice. Maybe that's because I don't see the medical community's Piriformis success stories. Then again; maybe it's because when it comes to Medical Research, it's difficult to know who to trust (HERE
, and HERE
If you are suffering from symptoms that look like Piriformis Syndrome, you might want to consider a trip to Mountain View, Missouri. I have been sucessfully treating people with Piriformis Syndrome for nearly 15 years. For more information on Piriformis Syndrome, you can go HERE or HERE.
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CHRONIC NECK PAIN Image by Anatomography
JUST ANOTHER DAY IN THE OFFICE
Because of the nature of my practice, I see people whose lives have been severely altered by Chronic Pain. In some cases, it has all but destroyed their will to live. They have no quality of life, and all they ever think about is their pain. People in this situation have actually become
their neck (HERE
is what I mean by this odd statement). CHRONIC NECK PAIN
had affected every area of these people's lives. It's the nature of problems (adhesions / Microscopic Scar Tissue) in the connective tissue known as FASCIA
You see, Fascial Adhesions can create CHRONIC PAIN'S PERFECT STORM. Think about it this way for a moment. Scar Tissue is up to 1,000 times more pain-sensitive than normal tissue. Now throw in the fact that in all three of these cases below, the problem was in the Fascia ---- a tissue that is arguably the single most pain-sensitive tissue in the body. Now add into the mix another one of 'Medicine's' dirty little secrets ---- Fascia is so thin that it cannot be imaged --- even with advanced imaging techniques such as MRI. And through it all, the various doctors you have seen have looked at you with a blank stare, probably treating you like a "drug-seeker" or telling you it's all in your head.
Before I saw Deana for the first time yesterday morning, she had been on a 'contractual' program to see a chiropractor twice a week for a year. It had not helped either her pain or the range of motion in her neck. Judi was in an MVA when I was 2 years old (1969). She thought that her post-accident neck pain was bad until that day 15 years ago when a tire fell off a trailer, hit her in the head, and knocked her out cold. She described to me years of living each and every day of her life at a miserable '9' on a pain scale of 1 - 10. In fact, she told me that since her "tire incident" she has been through therapy 5 different times ---- well over 100 total visits --- with nothing to show for it (she said that it may have made her worse). Cara had been dealing with Chronic Neck Pain for a couple of years. Her MOM finally convinced her to come in and see me.
Tracy shot all of these videos before lunch time yesterday. Hopefully we will get a video of the gentleman who came from north of Jefferson City to see me yesterday afternoon for long-standing HIP / PIRIFORMIS PAIN. Hey; it's just another day in the life.
CHRONIC SEVERE NECK PAIN
CHRONIC NECK PAIN SOLUTION
CHRONIC NECK PAIN SOLUTION
If you are one of those people who has tried everything for your Chronic Neck Pain (tests, drugs, therapy, TONS OF CHIROPRACTIC VISITS), it may be time for a different approach. The next video we post could be yours! Call Tracy today at (417) 934-6337.
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THE MYTH OF
"FAT BUT FIT"
Image by ParentingPatch
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"Kramer and colleagues conclude that being metabolically unhealthy at any weight confers health risks, and that normal weight does not necessarily indicate cardio-metabolic health. These findings cast doubt on the existence of metabolically healthy obesity..... Our results do not support this concept of 'benign obesity' and demonstrate that there is no 'healthy' pattern of obesity" From an editorial and study that were both published in the December 3 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, "Are Metabolically Healthy Overweight and Obesity Benign Conditions?: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis"
I'll never forget it. A number of years ago, I had a terribly obese patient who was going in for a major surgery. This person told me that after their pre-surgery physical, their doctor had said that, "Sure you're a bit overweight, but you are as healthy as a horse. In fact there are now studies showing how carrying extra weight is actually good for you.
" Within a year or two, this person was dead ---- of a heart attack. It kind of reminds me of Chris Christie (the very overweight governor of New Jersey) telling the media to "shut up
" because he believed himself to be "remarkably healthy
" in spite of his undeniable weight problem.
If you Google, "Fat but Fit" you'll get over 27,000,000 (that's 27 million) hits. Many, if not most of these articles talk about research that shows, "it's not how much you weigh, but how healthy you are". And believe it or not, there are even those who, like I showed you above, say that carrying excess pounds is actually healthier than being normal weight. New research is throwing water on this crazy idea. But before we delve deeper into this topic, I think we need to address what large numbers of people in the medical community have been referring to as Metabolically Healthy Obesity or MHO for short (not to be confused with Metabolically Obese, Normal Weight --- MONW --- aka "Skinny Fat").
Brand new scientific research from The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology
, and The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
shed some light on this particular topic. Although no one has come up with any sort of "official" designation, some of the factors that seemed to best characterize MHO are.....
- INSULIN RESISTANCE or lack thereof (people in the MHO category had four times the rate of Diabetes of those of normal weight.)
Despite what many experts have told us for the past number of years, it looks like the jig is up. Some of this may be due to the NEW GUIDELINES ON OBESITY
. However, most of it is likely due to a recent spate of studies showing that excess non-lean body mass is a risk factor for early death, no matter the circumstances. In fact, Salynn Boyles wrote earlier this week in MedPage Today
that, "Metabolically healthy, obese people were found to have a long-term increased risk for death and cardiovascular events compared with their normal-weight counterparts, suggesting there is no such thing as benign obesity. Metabolically healthy obese people have a long-term increased risk for death and cardiovascular events compared with their normal-weight counterparts, suggesting there is no such thing as benign obesity.
Dr Caroline Kramer (M.D. / Ph.D) of Mount Siani Hospital in Toronto Canada is the person who actually performed the above-mentioned research. Mind you, she did not do any new research. She simply re-analyzed 8 of the biggest studies ever done on this topic, this time accounting for several variables (her
systematic review and meta-analysis involved over 60,000 people). A same-issue editorial from researchers at the University of Colorado carried an identical message. "Obesity is taking a toll on the health and well-being of Americans. Accepting that no level of obesity is healthy is an important step toward deciding how best to use our resources and our political will to develop and implement strategies to combat the obesity epidemic.
" Just understand that none of these "POLITICAL RESOURCES
also) have been shown to be worth a flip at reversing, or for that matter, even preventing OBESITY
JUST A FEW OF THE MANY HEALTH PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH OBESITY
- Nearly 400,000 Americans per year die as the direct result of complications associated with being overweight.
If you want to get serious about WEIGHT LOSS, just click on the link and start reading.
- Obesity is associated with all sorts of Cardiovascular Risks including CHOLESTEROL ISSUES and TYPE II DIABETES. "In 1990 about 11 million Americans had type-2 (adult onset) diabetes, a disease of insulin resistance that commonly coexists with obesity. Just nine years later the number was 16 million, or about 6 percent of all Americans. Then, from 1999 to 2003, we saw a 41-percent increase in diagnosed diabetes" Jeff Schweitzer from his Huffington Post article called The Dangerous Myth of 'Fat but Fit'.
- Obesity causes CANCER.
- SLEEP APNEA is more common in obese people.
- HORMONAL PROBLEMS are more common in the obese as well
- Each increase two pound increase in weight, increases your chances of developing DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS by about 10 percent.
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FOOTBALL: IS IT SAFE FOR
MY CHILD TO PLAY?
Plano (Texas) High School's first football team, 1900
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Overall player mortality [lifespan] compared with that of the US population was reduced. Neurodegenerative mortality was increased. Of the neurodegenerative causes [of death], results were elevated. Higher neurodegenerative mortality was observed among players in speed positions compared with players in nonspeed positions. The neurodegenerative mortality of this cohort [professional football players] is 3 times higher than that of the general US population. AD [Alzheimer's Disease] and ALS [Lou Gehrig's Disease], is 4 times higher. These results are consistent with recent studies that suggest an increased risk of neurodegenerative disease among football players. From the conclusions of a 2012 study published in the medical journal Neurology ("Neurodegenerative Causes of Death Among Retired National Football League Players")
It's a question I am asked increasingly often; "Do you think it's safe for my child to play football?"
You must understand that, "safe
" is a relative term when talking about football. The truth is, if you play the game for any length of time (say, through high school), you will not come out unscathed. More than likely, you are going to have some sort of lifetime orthopedic problem to show for your years on the gridiron (trick knee, bum shoulder, roached ankle, messed up hands, chronic neck pain, back pain, etc, etc, etc). It is heartbreaking to look at people whom I idolized as a kid (EARL CAMPBELL
comes immediately to mind) and look at them now. But honestly, it's not the orthopedic problems that are making the news, or that people want to talk about today. People want to know about TBI's (T
njuries) and Post-concussion Syndrome. We'll get there in a minute, but first I want to share with you my experience as a high school football player --- an experience that I would assume is fairly average across America.
I grew up in very rural Kansas (CHASE COUNTY), in a community where Friday nite football was king. There were no "Mighty Mite" or "Pop Warner" leagues for grade schoolers at that time. Our early 'training' in the sport consisted of playing full contact tackle football at recess or whenever we had enough people for a game. We started playing 'official' football (football with pads) in 7th grade ---- after undergoing a 30 second athletic physical that would best be described as little more than a hernia check and then making sure you actually had a pulse. Our team --- the Chase County Bulldogs --- were typically a powerhouse program around the period of time I was in school. Those who know would be the first to tell you that it had nothing whatsoever to do with me or my football prowess (or lack thereof).
I well remember the first time I really got my bell rung. We were playing Council Grove for the league championship in 8th grade. Both teams were undefeated, and it was the final game of the season. Council Grove had two stud running backs (T.B. and T.B.) ---- both far bigger and more powerful than my scrawny 95lbs. I was playing left corner, and when Bolin ran to my side, I hit him way to high
(truth be known, I jumped on the guy's back as he ran past me) and was carried about 10 yards until someone else could knock us out of bounds.
We were in the fourth quarter winning 21-0, so everyone started giving me a good ribbing ("get a saddle
" was the one I mostly remember). Having found the weak link, Grove ran the exact same play on the very next down. I had already decided that if they ran my way again I was going to lay their running back out or die trying. When I hit him, all I can remember is seeing an explosion of light. The coach had to come get me off the field because I was wandering around. I honestly had no idea where I was (it was kind of like being in a dream).
Later, in high school, I broke my right pointer finger when it got crushed between my helmet and Kent Crawford's helmet while practicing goal line defense on a freezing cold October afternoon. To this day, that finger remains the temperature of the ambient air around it (yep, it's cold right now). Oh yeah. I also ended up with a Clay Shovler's Fracture (spinous of T-1) that I got making a tackle on a kickoff. To this day it gives me periodic fits with right sided Trigger Points of my traps --- particularly if I hit it real hard in the gym. As for what sort of long-term brain damage there is from getting 'dinged' several times over the six years I played organized football, who knows? I certainly cannot remember as well as I used to, but that could be my nearly 47 years catching up with me.
But back to the question; would I let my child play football? Fortunately, I never had to answer that question with my son. We have always homeschooled our children, and MALACHI
grew up playing SOCCER
(mostly with me as his coach). But in all honesty, knowing what I know now, and seeing what I have seen over the decades in practice I would not.
As a long-time fan of the game, it's sort of a hypocritical position to take ---- kind of like the guy who loves to watch PBR on TV, but wouldn't dream of getting on a bull himself. Or letting his son get on that same bull.
Because I have lived in Missouri for so long now, I have become a Mizzou fan via osmosis (I had no real choice living in Tiger country). Having attended Kansas State back in the 1980's, I am a die-hard KSU / Bill Snyder fan. And of course I have rooted for the Chiefs through thick and thin (this year started out thick, but seems to be getting steadily thinner).
On top of that, here in Mountain View, Coach Acklin has pulled a "Snyder" of his own and turned our local team from perennial cellar dweller, to one of the top-ranked 2A teams in the state of Missouri (LIBERTY EAGLES
). But every time I hear an interview with a retired player who's asked how much pain they have on a day-to-day basis, or see a high school kid with injuries that I know will last a lifetime (HERE
is a non-football example), I can't help wondering if it's worth it, and what football really matters in the big scheme of things.
FOOTBALL AND TBI
Unfortunately, the most recent studies on Football Helmets tell us that the latest technologies do not decrease one's chances of ending up with a concussion (TBI
njury). This is problematic because TBI is being associated with everything from AUTOIMMUNITY
to ABNORMAL BRAIN FUNCTION
, to suicide.
The suicide of Junior Seau and recent revelations from TONY DORSET have made me really stop and take notice of this head injury issue, as did the TBI suffered by the world's number one hockey player, SIDNEY CROSBY. It seems that I am not the only person asking these questions. According to national statistics, little league football (full contact) is down 10% over the past two years, while flag football among the same age group has increased almost 20%. We all make decisions that could potentially affect the rest of our lives. Heck, many would say I am foolish because I still ride motorcycles (HERE). It's all about weighing the risk / benefit ratio and figuring out what you think is best for you and your children.
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THAT CAN'T BE MY PROBLEM
MY DOCTOR TOLD ME I'M NOT A DIABETIC
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If not controlled, diabetes can put you at risk for a host of complications that can affect nearly every organ in the body. WebMD's article called The Risks and Complications of Uncontrolled Diabetes.
Uncontrolled Blood Sugar (even in the absence of Diabetes) is a foundational problem behind an array of chronic disease processes taking place in the developed world. Dr. Russell Schierling
Image by BruceBlaus
The medical / pharmaceutical community has recently given us new guidelines on both CHOLESTEROL
. When are they going to give us something new concerning Blood Sugar? Because the current guidelines for Blood Sugar are so liberal, I hear different versions of this statement all the time. "But Dr. Schierling, that can't be my problem. My doctor told me that I don't have Diabetes.
" Listen. I understand that. However, I, along with a growing number of physicians and researchers, also believe that AMERICA'S NUMBER ONE HEALTH PROBLEM
is Uncontrolled Blood Sugar ---- whether or not one has numbers that fall into the 'normal' range or not. Unfortunately, we are exporting this problem to the developed / developing world.
It is my belief that either by itself, or particularly WHEN COMBINED WITH ANTIBIOTICS, Uncontrolled Blood Sugar is a (if not 'the') foundational health issue facing the developed world today. I will end this post with some ideas of what to do about this crisis, but first let's talk about a few of the health problems that are intimately linked to Uncontrolled Blood Sugar. But before I do that, I would urge you to read the link above (America's Number One Health Problem), so that you understand how someone with normal Blood Sugar readings can be killing themselves with Uncontrolled Blood Sugar.
According to the latest statistics for the CDC, the top ten causes of death in the US are.....
My goal today
- Heart disease: 597,689
- Cancer: 574,743
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
- Alzheimer's disease: 83,494
- Diabetes: 69,071
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,476
- Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,097
- Intentional self-harm (suicide): 38,364
is to show you that the things on this list that could be considered a "disease
" (along with dozens of others), all have a common denominator. They are intimately associated with Uncontrolled Blood Sugar. In fact, I will make the point that the only category on this list that is not associated with Blood Sugar Dysregulation is the "Accident" group. I have intermingled the CDC's list in amongst my list below. Realize that my list is in no ways exhaustive.
SPECIFIC HEALTH PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR
- DIABETES: I put this first on the list simply because it is ubiquitously associated with Uncontrolled Blood Sugar. The thing you must understand is that just because you have blood sugar readings that are considered normal does not necessarily mean you are efficiently controlling your sugar.
- LOW BLOOD SUGAR: There is a reason that REACTIVE HYPOGLYCEMIA (Low Blood Sugar) has the word "reactive" at the beginning. Read the link to understand how Low Blood Sugar is the flip side of the same coin that is High Blood Sugar. Another reason to refer to these Blood Sugar Regulation Problems as "Uncontrolled".
- KIDNEY DISEASE: Diseases of the Kidney (as well as the nerves and the eye) are intimately linked to Uncontrolled Blood Sugar / Diabetes. Listen to some cherry-picked sentences from the American Diabetes Association's website, "Diabetes can damage the kidneys and cause them to fail. Failing kidneys lose their ability to filter out waste products, resulting in kidney disease. High levels of blood sugar make the kidneys filter too much blood. All this extra work is hard on the filters. After many years, they start to leak and useful protein is lost in the urine. Having small amounts of protein in the urine is called microalbuminuria. Having larger amounts of protein in the urine is called macroalbuminuria. When kidney disease is caught later during macroalbuminuria, end-stage renal disease, or ESRD, usually follows. Finally, the kidneys fail. This failure, ESRD, is very serious. A person with ESRD needs to have a kidney transplant or to have the blood filtered by machine (dialysis)."
- NEUROPATHY: Neuropathy ("Nerve Disease"). Neuropathy is so intimately associated with Uncontrolled Blood Sugar that it is usually referred to as "Diabetic Neuropathy". Studies have shown that by the time people are actually diagnosed as "officially" having Diabetes, almost half of them have visible signs of NEUROPATHY on physical examination.
- OBESITY: You would be surprised at how many people I talk to about weight issues want to tell me that Blood Sugar is not their problem. Hey; they had their blood checked just last week --- and it was A-OK. Bottom line, if you are overweight, you have a Blood Sugar Regulation issue. Period. This certainly does not mean that if you are normal weight you do not (HERE), but excess pounds almost always mean excess Blood Sugar. Part of the problem is that for many people, SUGAR / STARCH can be more addictive than hard drugs (HERE).
- DYSBIOSIS: Dysbiosis simply means that the balance of normal or "good" bacteria in your system has been overtaken / overcome by "bad" bacteria. This could be in the form of SYSTEMIC YEAST. It might be an overgrowth of H. PYLORI --- the known cause of ulcers. The truth is, it could be related to any number of pathogenic organisms, including bacteria or viruses (infections). The thing that you have to understand is that various forms of Dysbiosis are being linked to an almost unlimited number of health problems. To understand how this works, HERE are our posts on Gut Health.
- CANCER: HERE and HERE are two of my latest posts on the link between Sugar and Cancer. Although the medical community decries this information, it really is a no-brainer.
- OSTEOPOROSIS: The more acidic your diet, the greater the buffering power needed to alkalize your blood (sugar is extremely acidic). When your body cannot readily access things like mass quantities of alkali water or GREENS, it uses the most easily available buffering agent it has. The calcium in your bones (HERE).
- CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE / STROKES: Although dietary fat intake has been picked on for decades as the cause of Heart Disease and Strokes, we know that this is a huge oversimplification of what is really going on. The type of fat that is intimately associated with the various forms of Cardiovascular Disease ----- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure), Heart Attacks, Coronary Artery Disease, Atherosclerosis, Strokes, Congestive Heart Failure, etc, etc, is TRANS FATS. Study after study has shown that animal fats are not the bad guys they have been made out to be (HERE). Control your Blood Sugar, and your risk for all Cardiovascular Disease plummets.
- ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE: Although exposure to certain metals (namely aluminum) is a known factor in developing Alzheimer's (HERE), there is another that may be even bigger. AGES (Advanced Glyclation-Endproducts) are now being touted by the medical community as the known cause of the brain-plaques that cause Alzheimer's Disease. Glyclation is something that goes on with sugar metabolism. This is why the A1c test for Glyclated Hemoglobin gives us at least some idea of whether or not we are achieving metabolic regulation of Blood Sugar.
- SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION: I just wrote about this one the other day (HERE). Although we have known for decades that obesity (particularly CENTRAL OBESITY) is heavily associated with Sexual Dysfunction in males, research is showing that the same is true of females as well.
- DEPRESSION: In a recent issue of U.S. News' Health Day section, Serena Gordon wrote that, "Depression has long been linked to diabetes, especially type 2. It's still not clear, however, whether depression somehow triggers diabetes or if having diabetes leads to being depressed." The link is the Gut. You will begin to see the link once you read the posts on GUT HEALTH and DEPRESSION. By the way, the CDC's "Top Ten" list had suicide coming in at 10th place. I'll not belabor this point, but according to WebMD, "depression carries a high risk of suicide". I could have found hundreds of studies to back this point.
- FEMALE AND OTHER HORMONAL ISSUES: This goes beyond the "Sexual Dysfunction" from above. PCOS (Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) is the not only the number one most common female hormonal problem in America, it is the number one cause of infertility as well. If you really want to get a handle on the relationship between things like THYROID PROBLEMS, ADRENAL ISSUES, Female Hormonal Issues (including PCOS), and other similar problems, take a few minutes to read ENDOGUT.
- DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS: Granted, DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS is heavily associated with abnormal motion, or loss of joint function over time. However, read the brilliant DR. ROYAL LEE'S "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" and you'll see just how big a factor that sugar and refined starches (mostly grains) play in this debilitating health issue. By the way, simply referring to this problem as DJD (Degenerative Joint Disease) is misleading at best, and at worst, is downright deceitful.
- CHRONIC SINUS INFECTION / ALLERGIES: Do you have a constant cough, runny nose, or post-nasal drip? Although it is simple to chalk it up to "Allergies", HERE is the problem and the solution.
- INFLAMMATORY DISEASES: Although many of the above-mentioned problems are considered to be CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DEGENERATIVE DISEASES, the truth is every single problem on the lists on this link will be adversely affected by Uncontrolled Blood Sugar. If you do not learn how to control your blood sugar via diet, you are condemning yourself and quite probably your children (yes, it is your responsibility as parents to teach them how to eat properly) to a life of progressive misery.
- GENETIC DISEASE: Before I get a slew of emails and comments deriding me for adding this this to the list, let me explain what I mean. If you have a Downs child, it was not caused by Blood Sugar Dysregulation. Bear in mind though, the field of EPIGENETICS has shown us that our health is not as defined by our genetics as we have been led to believe (this means that we can't blame everything on mom and dad anymore). My guess would be that many of the AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES on THIS LIST would fall into the the not-so-well defined category of Epigenetic-related Diseases
CONTROLLING UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR BY
INCREASING INSULIN SENSITIVITY
Image by Milorad Dimic MD. Niš, Serbia
Image by James Heilman, MD
When we think of the end-stages of Uncontrolled Blood Sugar, we usually think of the vascular problems associated with the final phases of Diabetes (pictures above). Not to say that these are not serious problems (they are), but I am hoping that you are starting to see why Uncontrolled Blood Sugar is so much bigger than the blood sugar values we refer to as 'Diabetes'. The truth is, this post could have easily turned into a book if I had not worked to keep it brief.
Insulin Resistance is just what it sounds like --- a resistance to Insulin. Let me give an example of Insulin Resistance that everyone will understand. When a person starts drinking alcohol, a drink or two and they are tipsy. The more alcohol a person drinks, the more "resistant" they are to its effects. It takes more and more alcohol to get that same buzzed feeling. This is why many functioning alcoholics can be far over the legal limit for intoxication, yet exhibit few outward signs that they are drunk --- really drunk. The sugar / insulin relationship is similar.
Insulin is a hormone that removes excess sugar from the blood and carries it into the cell. Once in the cell, it can either be burned for energy or stored as fat. The more sugar or starchy foods a person eats, the more insulin it takes to regulate (lower) their Blood Sugar (and then raise it back up after the 'Hypoglycemic Low'). After awhile, your metabolic machinery cannot keep up and it simply burns itself out. The result is being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. Unfortunately, if one part of your ENDOCRINE SYSTEM goes, other parts are sure to follow. (Hint: you do not want high levels of blood sugar and insulin coursing through your blood at the same time on a regular basis.)
Failure to effectively deal with your Blood Sugar will ravage your health on every conceivable level. Oh, don't get me wrong. You may be able to get away with a crappy diet or a lot of CHEATING when you are young, or if you are extremely active. But the problem is, it is difficult to maintain high activity levels throughout our lives ---- and none of us stay young forever. Sooner or later it will come back to haunt you. This is why I am such a proponent of the PALEO DIET. If you have Chronic Health Problems, you have to deal with the Blood Sugar issue immediately. I realize there may be all sorts of other things that need to be taken care of as well (LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, AUTOIMMUNITY, Endocrine issues (see link in preceding paragraph), Brain-based issues such as SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE, as well as a host of others). But all of them are going to require a diet change. Why not study this post, write down some goals, get an ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER, and get started today!
As a side note to this issue, you can also increase insulin's sensitivity via exercise. Just make sure that it is the right kind of exercise Although I am certainly not against some Cardio Training, those of you who are hardcore runners (or are thinking about becoming a hardcore runner) should READ THESE POSTS before heading out on your next big run.
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THE DESTRUCTIVE AND DEADLY
EFFECTS OF INFLAMMATION
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Inflammation is the common denominator of many chronic age-related diseases such as arthritis, gout, Alzheimer's, and diabetes. But according to a Yale School of Medicine study, even in the absence of a disease, inflammation can lead to serious loss of function throughout the body, reducing healthspan — that portion of our lives spent relatively free of serious illness and disability. A recent issue of Eurekalert discussing an article from the October issue of Cell Metabolism called, "Canonical Nlrp3 Inflammasome Links Systemic Low-Grade Inflammation to Functional Decline in Aging"
A recent article funded by the NIH (National Institutes for Health), dealt with the effects of Inflammation on aging. Mind you, we are not simply talking here about THIS LIST
or THIS LIST
of health problems --- all considered to be Inflammatory in nature. No; we are talking about the Inflammation that makes people age and shortens the part of their lives that are pain-free and productive --- a period referred to as one's "healthspan
This is interesting when considering the recent study on quality of life and longevity. The bottom line was that even though people are living on average much longer than they used to, their health and quality of life are much lower --- particularly in those later years. I'm not surprised. Much, if not most of this has to do with Inflammation. The problem is, when I talk to my patients about Inflammation (including many healthcare providers), I find that few really understand what it is. This despite the fact that the word is used almost ubiquitously in the media and in healthcare.
INFLAMMATION is the collective name given to a group of several dozen chemicals made by your Immune System. Although these chemicals are necessary --- even vital ---- for health and healing, they can be driven to excessive levels by a wide variety of things including cruddy diets, smoking, food sensitivities, parasites, heavy metal toxicity, low grade infections, etc, etc, etc. Now we can add one more thing to the list --- birthdays. It seems that the older we get, the more "Background Inflammation" is created by our Immune Systems. This helps contribute to a host of inflammatory disease processes that are specifically associated with aging, including DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS, OSTEOPOROSIS, DIABETES, ALZHEIMER'S, PARKINSON'S, Dementia, Cataracts, GOUT, THYMUS DEGRADATION, and numerous others.
Although the point of the study concerned developing drugs to down-regulate the "Immune Sensor Nlrp3 Inflammasome
" (their latest specific culprit in the aging process), my advice makes more sense. Start right now with a simple program designed to squelch inflammation at its source. Then follow and refine this program your entire life. For more information on how to proceed, HERE
, and HERE
are wonderful places to start.
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WHIPLASH INJURY CAUSES CHRONIC NECK PAIN
Until yesterday, it had been over 2 1/2 years since I had seen Kathy.
Like so many other patients dealing with Chronic Problems, her's started with a whiplash injury caused by an MVA
. She had struggled with CHRONIC NECK PAIN
for about 18 months prior to coming in to see me. I wish I had a video of her initial examination to be able to show you just how bad the range of motion in her neck was initially.
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ANSWER TO CHRONIC NECK AND SHOULDER PAIN
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This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about...... I’ve been through two wars and I know. I’ve seen cities and homes in ashes. I’ve seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is Hell! General William Tecumseh Sherman --- the man for whom the "M4 Sherman Tank" was named after (the tanks below are M-1 Abrams).
It's true. Ask any combat veteran and they will echo General Sherman's words. War is hell
. Thank goodness that we have the greatest field-trauma facilities and doctors on the planet for our soldiers injured in action
. But what happens when one's injuries are physical, yet invisible? Huh? What does this statement mean? Allow me to explain.
could fall into this same category, once you understand the nature of FASCIA
, you can very well understand how it can become Chronic Pain's PERFECT STORM
. The following is a testimonial received last week from an individual who was injured by a tank almost a decade and a half ago. We are respecting his right to privacy by leaving out his name. I can assure you that this individual's pain was off the chart, and that before coming to see me, had been through every test and treatment that the military had to offer him for CHRONIC NECK PAIN
/ CHRONIC SHOULDER PAIN
----- two problems that are so often seen together, they are often one. As is typical, they played it off and blamed it on DEPRESSION
I thank you ________ for your service to our country!
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In 2000 I was injured while serving in the Army. Over the course of time since then, I have been to numerous doctors, had about every medical test you could imagine, taken all sorts of medications, and been offered several surgeries by a number of different surgeons --- even though none of them could really tell me what was wrong with me. My pain was so bad that it had affected every area of my life. I could not do anything productive. I could not sleep. I could not turn my head to look over my shoulder. Heck, I could not even reach my wallet in my rear pocket. I had tried chiropractic before so when someone told me about Dr. Schierling, I was skeptical. I felt it was my last resort. After going through a handful of treatments over the past six months, I must say that every aspect of my life is infinitely better. I am grateful for the work being done in this office. Anonymous, November 13, 2013