MEETING AND TREATING TWO TIME (SCRATCH THAT) THREE TIME XTERRA OFF-ROAD TRIATHLON WORLD CHAMPION
Diagnostic Ultrasound as a technology is improving rapidly. There are now the 3D (still pics) and 4D (motion scans) that might eventually prove to be key in unlocking some of the mysteries that have plagued the medical community for so long regarding the role of FASCIAL ADHESIONS in CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES. Enter Dr. Stecco.
Famed Fascia researcher, DR. ANTONIO STECCO (an Italian MD) published a study not quite a year ago in the Journal of Surgical and Radiological Anatomy (Ultrasonography in Myofascial Neck Pain: Randomized Clinical Trial for Diagnosis and Follow-up) that came to some rather interesting conclusions. Because Fascia is so difficult to image and because we know that "Soft Tissues" are a universal component of Chronic Neck Pain, Dr. Stecco and his team said that, "A definitive diagnosis of chronic neck pain is sometimes not possible". In other words, other than pain (which is subjective), our current imaging techniques frequently cannot objectively quantify what might be causing a person's pain (HERE and HERE as well). The reality of this situation is that most people with problems that can't be seen or touched are not taken seriously. They are all too often looked at as malingerers, drug seekers, or suffering from 'Psychosomatic Delusions' (it's all in their head -- i.e. even though it's not PC to put it this way, they're nuts).
For this study, Stecco had two groups of individuals --- those with Chronic Neck Pain, and those without ("healthy"). They not only found that the "healthy" group had THINNER FASCIA than the "pain" group prior to treatment, they found that they could actually decrease the thickness of the the Fascia in "pain" group via treatment, which consisted either of Dr. Stecco's Fascial Manipulation Technique or a combination of massage therapy, electrotherapy and LASER (for the record, the Fascial Manipulation proved more effective).
By the way, the Fascia was tested from two different neck muscles --- the Scalenes and SCM. The difference was not only seen immediately post-treatment, but upon a later follow up as well (A significant decrease in pain and thickness of the fasciae were found. Analysis of the thickness of the sub-layers showed a significant decrease in loose connective tissue, both at the end of treatment and during follow-up.). Experimentally, thinner Fascia has translated into better movement and diminished restriction, which as you might assume, translates to less pain as well.
The Ultrasound Videos I linked to earlier were by DR. HELENE LANGEVIN'S team, from a 2011 study called Reduced Thoracolumbar Fascia Shear Strain in Human Chronic Low Back Pain. In this study, the authors concluded that the Fascia of those with Chronic Low Back Pain not only moved significantly worse as seen in the short videos, but were actually 25% thicker. Much of this thickening and inability to slide (increased friction) is believed to do with something called HA or Hyaluronic Acid (aka Hyaluronan or Hyaluronate) -- a chief component of synovial fluid; the fluid that lubricates joints.
As you might guess, HA has been targeted as both a drug and a nutritional supplement. When injected into joints, a meta-analysis (Viscosupplementation for Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Systematic Review) of several studies in the 2012 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine revealed that, "viscosupplementation is associated with a small and clinically irrelevant benefit and an increased risk for serious adverse events" (for one, it's a bio-marker for several types of CANCER). These are the "Rooster Comb" injections that people get in their worn out knees to try and buy them another year or two before they have to have them replaced (even though they often don't work more than a few weeks).
As far as using HA as a dietary supplement, it's out there and being touted for everything from anti-aging to ARTHRITIS, to SKIN CONDITIONS, to BODYBUILDING, and just about any CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROME you could name. How effective are HA supplements? That depends on who you ask. Glucosamine Sulfate supplements have been around for a very long time and many people find these to be extremely effective (some contain HA). I am currently researching this topic for myself and will let readers know what I find. One thing I do know is that the current love affair with homemade "Bone Broth" soups cannot be anything but good for people's joints and tissues (not to mention GUT). Listen to what Stecco and his team have to say about HA in the previously discussed study.
".......in all overuse syndromes, an increase in the quantity of HA probably occurs in and on the surface of fascia. This may explain our findings. It is well documented that increased HA correlates not only with improved lubricating function, but also with increasing viscosity. Above all, it is organized on a surface. At high concentrations, HA behaves like a non- Newtonian fluid and becomes more viscous. At its most basic…the lubricant (HA) becomes less fluid, the loose connective tissues ‘thicken’…sliding functions reduce, and pain and restriction emerge. Treatment methods – manual or laser etc – that produce friction or heat, help to modify the viscous materials, and function improves….. Earlier studies by Langevin and colleagues [the one I linked to] have shown very similar changes in chronic low back pain patients… reduced sliding function, thicker loose connective tissue etc."
Because Fascia is not a large area of study and because there are (at least not currently) no drugs for it, there has been relatively little interest in it. This, however, is beginning to change. For people who have not yet slipped into TYPE III PAIN, solving problems in the Fascia can prove to be life changing (HERE). And as is the case in virtually all health problems, DRYING UP THE UNDERLYING SOURCE(S) OF INFLAMMATION is key.
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DESTROYER OF HEALTH AND CLOGGER OF ARTERIES?
"We got the dietary guidelines wrong. They've been wrong for decades. We told people not to eat eggs. It was never based on good science. We got fatter and fatter. We got more and more diabetes." Dr. Steven Nissen, Cardiologist and Chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleavland Clinic from Lisa Szabo's article in USA Today (Panel Could Scrap Advice on Dietary Cholesterol)
"I have been telling patients this very thing for the better part of two decades. Metabolically speaking, dietary fat is rather inert. In other words, consumption of fat (excluding Trans Fat) is not what ignites your body's fat storage machinery. That award would go to refined carbs." Dr. Russell Schierling from last year's post (THE LATEST ON LOW CARB DIETS)
The small anti-fat / anti-cholesterol movement was given life by Ancel Keys landmark (and now debunked) "Seven Countries Study" that was published in 1970, but began in the early 1950's. For this study, Dr. Keys traveled the world (sort of like DR. WESTON PRICE) looking for evidence of a link between dietary fats and heart disease. Although he went to a total of 22 countries to collect data, data only from seven was ever published. Why on earth would a person choose not to publish 2/3 of their research? Easy. Because it didn't fit his hypothesis. The studies created via this practice of picking and choosing which data to publish and which not to publish has a name ---- INVISIBLE AND ABANDONED --- and unfortunately, is epidemic in American academia (the link is the first of a three part series on the topic --- just make sure to have a barf-bag handy if you click it).
As you already know, most of the scientific community followed Keys lead. Before long we had our culprit for our nation's swelling waistlines and hospital bills (not to mention our burgeoning rate of mortality) --- the "Great Satan" that could be scape-goated for everything. The war was on; and in similar fashion to the way that publishing research that goes against the status quo will get you blacklisted today, so it was then as well. It shows us that Cardiologist, Dr. Robert Atkins' first book (Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution), published in 1972, was even more brilliant and daring than anyone at the time believed.
The last set of guidelines on how much cholesterol we should be consuming was issued five years ago and warned us not to consume more than the equivalent of an egg (300 mg) a day. All of this begs the question of whether or not we can we trust the people / organizations who present us the guidelines for other health-related issues as well. What about how much Cholesterol we should have in our blood (HERE)? What about Saturated Fat (HERE)? How about the guidelines concerning Diabetes (HERE)? Or dietary salt (HERE)? Or Obesity (HERE)? And if we can't trust the government to give us good guidelines in these areas, what would possibly make us think they can do any better when it comes to vaccinations (HERE)? Such is the nature of EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE. As I've said many a time, "Science" is all too often whatever the corporation with the deepest pockets says it is.
For the record, if you want to effectively deal with almost every health problem under the sun (including High Cholesterol), you need to start by addressing UNBRIDLED INFLAMMATION --- a concept that is not 'new' by anyone's standards. HERE is a post that might interest you as well.
TREATING WITH DR. SCHIERLING?
THERE'S PLENTY TO DO WHILE STAYING IN MOUNTAIN VIEW!
Some of you who come to see me plan to work from your motel room --- or are in such severe pain that the mere thought of getting out and sightseeing, hiking, or floating makes you hurt. For those who desire or are able, there are plenty of things to do in our neck of the Ozarks. Below is a list which I may add to from time to time. If you search, you can find all of these places on Google or Google Earth, although I have tried to create as many links as possible. As always, be cautious about being too trusting of your GPS when traveling in the Ozarks.
- THE JACKS FORK RIVER: The JACKS FORK RIVER is one of America's twelve National Scenic Riverways, and is only a few miles north of my clinic. Buck Hollow is the quickest access (three miles north of Mountain View on Highway 17). BLUE SPRINGS (not THE ONE that's on the Current River) can be accessed by going east on Highway 60 for just a couple of miles, then turning left on Highway OO, and left again on CR-493 (see previous link). The Jacks Fork is considered one of the top 10 float streams in America because of its beautiful crystal clear water and high bluffs. Just make sure you float it when there's plenty of water as it tends to get low later in the summer.
- CURRENT RIVER: The Current River is our favorite fair weather past time. There are any number of public accesses along its over 100 miles. If you want, you can go fish for trout up at the headwaters in and around Montouk State Park. We usually to go to Van Buren (about 45 minutes east of Mountain View) and either head to the boat ramp at the END OF HIGHWAY M (just below Pin Oak Campground --- HERE) or we put in at Watercress Access and Park. Here are my site's CURRENT RIVER POSTS. Also, see the bullet on "Big Springs" below.
- PRAIRIE HOLLOW / CANYON CREEK: On Highway 106 between Highway H and Highway 19, you can take Highway V down to TWO RIVERS --- the place where the Jacks Fork flows into the Current River. although Two Rivers itself is not especially exciting, for the really adventurous, you can check out one of true the hidden gems of the Ozarks --- PRAIRIE HOLLOW / CANYON CREEK. Not sure I would take a car down this hill as it is very rough, although there is a parking area at the bottom (I think two or three vehicles are all that will fit). When you see the low water bridge, don't cross it; turn right onto the walking trail. If you are capable, take this trail to the top of The Canyon (you'll see Ray's farm there --- don't worry; he won't shoot you). There are a couple of tight squeezes and shimmies, but it's definitely worth it if you can physically do it.
- ALLEY SPRING: Just three miles west of Eminence you'll find ALLEY SPRING (a working mill that you can tour), which is arguably the most iconic, picturesque, and most-photographed place in the entire Ozarks. Its easy access (a paved parking lot) and walking trails / bridges over the spring branch make this perfect for those not wishing to "rough it" too much. If you come back to Mountain View via Highway 106, you'll get some great bluff-top views of the Jacks Fork, and a bit farther down the road (where Highway D meets 106) is an old fire tower (Flatrock Lookout Tower) --- one of the last ones remaining that has not been fenced off (i.e. you can still take the stairs all the way to the top and enjoy the view). BTW, the huge wall mural in my clinic lobby is of Alley Spring.
- ROCKY FALLS / ROCKY CREEK SHUT-INS / KLEPZIG MILL: Take Highway H out of Winona until you get to Highway NN. There will be signs that point you to ROCKY FALLS. For the more adventurous, go back out onto NN and hang a right. Go a mile or two and you'll see a dirt "road" (the word is used loosely here) on the left (HERE). DO NOT drive in here. Just park on the edge of NN and walk. About ten minutes up and over the hump and you will be HERE (where all the big rocks are in the middle of the creek). Fantastic area with a great swimming hole, complete with a boulder for a diving board. To get to Klepzig Mill and its "shut ins" continue on NN until it turns to gravel. Every time the road splits, bear left (HERE). This road can be rough, and although it loops around back to Highway H, make sure to go back the way you came unless you happen to be in a 4WD vehicle, as there are at least three low water crossings, with at least one of them being fairly intense for those not used to them.
- JOHNSON SHUT INS / ELEPHANT ROCKS STATE PARKS: These are both about an hour and a half drive from Mountain View. They can be easily checked out on the internet and I highly recommend both as they are only about 15 minutes apart and handicap accessible. Do not plan on going on a weekend in the summer though (especially to the Shut Ins) as you will find extremely large crowds --- big enough that there will probably be a line of cars waiting to get in. They have a capacity and once they meet it, they let one vehicle in for every vehicle that exits.
- ROUND SPRING: Round Spring is on the Current River about 10 miles north of Eminence on Highway 19 (HERE). If you continue north from there you can take Highway KK to see AKER'S FERRY. If you cross there, it will take you back to Summersville, which is about 15 minutes north of Mountain View on Highway 17. Or you could go north on Highway K (the view at the top of the hill is phenomenal). From here, you are not terribly far from Montouk State Park and Trout Hatchery at the headwaters of the Current River.
- BLUE SPRING: THIS is the one on the Current River, not to be confused with the one on the Jacks Fork. We always go by jet boat, but it can be accessed by car from Highway 19, just a few miles east of Highway H (look for the sign). The county road that is 200 yards east of the highway access to Blue Springs on the other side of the road (CO-106B) honestly looks more like a driveway, but leads down to BLAIR'S CREEK. Don't go down there if we've had a bunch of rain recently, if you are in a low-riding car, or if you are prone to getting lost.
- BIG SPRING: This spring, found near Van Buren, is where the "Lower Current River" starts, and is certainly worth a look. There's also a restaurant in an old stone building of the CCC era that overlooks the Current River and the spring branch itself. This spring is impressive, as it's said to be the largest freshwater spring in the world with an average daily output of several hundred million gallons a day.
- GREER SPRING: Visiting GREER SPRING on the Eleven Point River (yet another of our nation's National Scenic Riverways) is simple. Great spring, easy access, but a steep half hour hike to get down to it. Because in this instance, what goes down must come back up; coming back up the trail can be a real workout. Greer Spring is south of Winona on Hwy 19, just after you cross the river.
- THE SOUTHERN MILL TOUR: My favorite of these is TOPAZ, which is an old-school working mill that is privately owned, complete with an old fashioned General Store next door to it (it's not open for business). To get there, take Highway 76 west out of Willow Springs and go left on Highway 181. From there take Highway E (HERE). Other mills in that general area include Hammond, HODGESON (which is just down 181 from Topaz), ZANONI, ROCKBRIDGE, and DAWT (both of the later have decent restaurants).
- FOR MOTORCYCLE ENTHUSIASTS: HERE are some links. If you talk to me, I'll fix you up with a route for whatever style of riding or scenery you are looking for. Some of the posts in the link contain my routes. If you are into the twisties, there is nowhere better to ride than the Ozarks. If you ever get the chance to ride HIGHWAY 123 south from Mount Judea, Arkansas, do it. It's just off Scenic 7, about 15 or 20 minutes south of Jasper. Turn before you reach the CLIFF HOUSE INN & RESTAURANT.
- BRANSON: Silver Dollar City / The Imax / Shopping / Outlet Malls / Water Parks / Table Rock Lake / Bass Pro. There's a reason that Branson draws millions of visitors a year. BRANSON is about two hours from us. If you want to take a scenic route to Branson, you can take 160 west out of West Plains, or 76 west from Willow Springs (it actually becomes what's known in Branson as "The Strip").
- MOUNTAIN VIEW, ARKANSAS: If you're into Mountain Music (sort of like BLUEGRASS, but a bit lighter on the banjo, with plenty of dulcimer), make it a point to drive down to Mountain View, Arkansas for "Music on the Square". Lots of shops to look around, and one of my favorite restaurants (they have a great salad bar), Anglers, which overlooks the White River, where Sylamore Creek flows into it. Remember Bill and Hillary's "White Water" scandal from back in the day? This is the river. Just make sure you come back to Mountain View, MO via Highway 9 --- the views are breathtaking (for motorcycle enthusiasts, you are also near the famous "Push Mountain Road" here). And for those who consider themselves hardcore antiquers, you can travel another hour or so to Botkinburg, and visit one of the largest and classiest antique stores on the planet --- the ANTIQUE WAREHOUSE. An absolutely amazing place --- like a museum --- said to house the largest collection of antique stained glass in the world.
- EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS: Eureka Springs is about an hour south of Branson (or an hour or so west of Mountain Home), and well worth the trip if you like quaint shops and restaurants. It's a one-of-a-kind town that's built on high bluffs and in deep gorges. An hour south of there is one of my favorite areas in all of Arkansas, Jasper. Great area to motorcycle (make sure to do Hwy 123 near Mt Judea or the world famous "Pig Trail"). And if you actually make it all the way to Jasper, you can't leave without eating at the Cliff House Restaurant that overlooks the Grand Canyon of the Ozarks. Truly magnificent! The hardcore hiker will have to go on to KING'S BLUFF / PEDESTAL ROCK. And if the season is right, you can go down and hear the elk bugle at the Boxley Valley / Ponca area (this whole area is near still another of the National Scenic Riverways --- the Buffalo River).
- THE LAKES: About an hour and a half south of us, you'll find Southern Missouri's / Northern Arkansas' "Chain of Lakes". Starting near Mountain Home, Arkansas you have the Northfork (which the North Fork River flows into). Just west is Bull Shoals, followed by Table Rock at Branson. Finally, you have Beaver Lake, which is on the western edge of Eureka Springs. About three hours north of us is Lake of the Ozarks. I'm not much into the summer crowds, but not a bad place to visit in the off season. Ha Ha Tonka State Park is there and well worth a look if you make it to the area.
- HARDY ARKANSAS: Hardy is about an hour and a half southeast of Mountain View on Highway 63, and has lots of small shops (antiques, local artwork, etc) and restaurants. To get there, you pass within shouting distance of Mammoth Spring and the trout hatchery on the Spring River.
MORE ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INFLAMMATION, PAIN, AND FIBROSIS
Renowned pain researcher and owner of Los Angles' "Medicine House," Dr. Sota Omoigui, is doing some rather cuttingedge things in his pain clinic. Don't get me wrong; he uses any number of hardcore prescription drugs to treat people with a wide array of pain syndromes --- many of the same PAIN SYNDROMES I see in my clinic. However, he freely provides tons of valuable information on his website, and writes about treating pain with things like IV Nutrient Therapy, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY HERBS & DIET, Hypnosis, Acupuncture, OXYGEN THERAPY, SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY (he spoke extensively on his site about ASYMPTOMATIC DISC HERNIATIONS), Biofeedback, Meditation, and even CHIROPRACTIC. If you pay attention, you'll see that a huge thrust of his practice is an attempt to get rid of Inflammation.
Back in 2007, the medical journal Medical Hypothesis published a three-part series of articles by Dr. Omoigui on the link between INFLAMMATION and CHRONIC PAIN called The Biochemical Origin of Pain --- Proposing A New Law of Pain: The Origin of All Pain is Inflammation and the Inflammatory Response (A Unifying Law of Pain ).
Listen to what Dr O says in his article.
- Inflammation can exist without structural damage that is visible with our current imaging technology.
- Structural damage will result in inflammation and the inflammatory response.
- Inflammation and the inflammatory response will produce structural damage.
Do you see the vicious cycle here? Tissue Damage causes Inflammation, and Inflammation caused Tissue Damage (HERE). And while it spins in a big circle it causes Chronic Pain. My goal with patients is to break the cycle in both spots, taking care of TYPE II PAIN in one fell swoop. You can see that simply giving people PAIN MEDS without addressing the underlying cycle is an exercise in futility. But let's take this a step farther --- What do you think he means by "Structural Damage"? If you look at the list of health problems directly caused by Inflammation (HERE), you'll quickly see. However, I want to talk for a moment about one that's not on the list (or in his paper) --- SCAR TISSUE. Most particularly FASCIAL ADHESIONS.
The link between Microscopic Scar Tissue (Fibrosis) and Inflammation is not a new one. This fact becomes all to apparent if you look at any Pathology Textbook. There are any number of studies that bear this out. Here are a few.
"Macrophages [a type of White Blood Cell] are found in close proximity with collagen-producing myofibroblasts and indisputably play a key role in fibrosis. They produce profibrotic mediators [Inflammation] that directly activate fibroblasts [cells that build Scar Tissue]........ Macrophages also regulate fibrogenesis by secreting chemokines [Inflammation] that recruit fibroblasts and other inflammatory cells. This review will illustrate how macrophages function as the master "regulators" of fibrosis." Cherry picked from the abstract of Macrophages: Master Regulators of Inflammation and Fibrosis in the August 2010 issue of Seminars in Liver Disease
"Fibrosis of the kidney is caused by the prolonged injury and deregulation of normal wound healing and repair processes, and by an excess deposition of extracellular matrices [Fibrosis]. Despite intensive research, our current understanding of the precise mechanism of fibrosis is limited. There is a connection between fibrotic events involving inflammatory and non-inflammatory glomerulonephritis, inflammatory cell infiltration, and podocyte loss. The current review will discuss the inflammatory response after renal injury that leads to fibrosis......." From a 2010 issue of Kidney International (Mechanistic Connection Between Inflammation and Fibrosis)
"Fibrosis in response to tissue damage or persistent inflammation is a pathological hallmark of many chronic degenerative diseases. By using a model of acute peritoneal inflammation, we have examined how repeated inflammatory activation promotes fibrotic tissue injury." From the January 2014 issue of Immunity (Interleukin-6 Signaling Drives Fibrosis in Unresolved Inflammation)
"Fibrosing conditions occur when organs or tissues develop excessive fibrous tissue, which can interfere with the normal function of the organ. Examples of diseases in which inflammation or fibrosis play a prominent role include lupus, cystic fibrosis and scleroderma." From an article on Smart State: South Carolina Centers of Economic Excellence (Inflammation and Fibrosis).
"Inflammation is a biological response intended to protect the organism from infections, injuries and other harmful stimuli. The inflammatory response can produce an excessive accumulation of leukocyte, which can lead to asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, septic shock and various other diseases. Tissue fibrosis and abnormal organ function can also occur during the inflammation response if there is an over-production and deposition of collagens. Fibrosis remains the leading cause of death in the United Sates; approximately 45% of deaths are related to fibrosis, doubling the number of cancer related deaths. Liver and kidney fibrosis are two common fibrosis diseases that are caused by excessive inflammation in the respective organ Heart muscle fibrosis also known as cardiac fibrosis is a result of coronary heart disease and an irregular thickening of heart valves." From the website of drug developer, Shanghai Genomics (R&D / Inflammation and Fibrosis)
Look; I could have gone on here indefinitely, but I think you get the point. Fibrosis (Scar Tissue) is intimately related to Inflammation both systemically and locally. Did you happen to catch the fact that no matter which disease process it's part of, Fibrosis is America's #1 cause of death? In essence, while "Local Inflammatory Response" causes a local buildup of Fibrosis, if the Inflammation is systemic, figuring out which organs or tissues are going to get hit is a grab bag, as it could be any of them --- or even all of them.
BREAKING THE VICIOUS CYCLE
fortunately for you, I've created a DIY PAGE (actually pages) for this purpose. Oh; you certainly may require some ADVANCE TESTING / FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE, but this is a starting point for nearly everyone dealing with Chronic Pain or Chronic Disease. When it comes to solving chronic pain and / or chronic disease --- fixing either requires the same dietary approach --- an approach geared at greatly diminishing your levels of Systemic Inflammation.
I want to take a moment and mention a critical area that Dr. O's article failed to mention --- GUT HEALTH. I am more convinced with each passing day that Gut Health is the hidden key to figuring out the Inflammation puzzle. What's more related to Inflammation than our national over-consumption of sugar and refined carbs (HERE)? Certainly not much. We know beyond the shadow of a doubt that this Inflammation is going to result in Scar Tissue and Fibrosis being laid down in one or more of the body's many tissues (HERE). And although Dr. O does not specifically deal with "Structural Changes" in the Fascia, I believe that it is not a leap to say that it's implied.
"Activation of motor nerves that travel from the spinal cord to the muscles [Fascia] results in excessive muscle [Fascia] tension. More inflammatory mediators are released which then excite additional pain receptors in muscles [Fascia], tendons and joints generating more nerve traffic and increased muscle [Fascial] spasm."
Never forget that Fascia is not only the most abundant Connective Tissue in the body, it happens to be the most pain-sensitive as well. Add that to the fact that Dr. Chan Gunn, the legendary neurologist from the Great American Northwest (Seattle / Vancouver) says that this Scar Tissue has the potential to be over 1,000 times more pain-sensitive than normal tissue (HERE) --- particularly if exposed to Chronic Inflammation. It's exactly what makes Fascial Adhesions the perfect vehicle for CHRONIC PAIN'S PERFECT STORM. Oh; and if you are into the Wikipedia debate between Scar Tissue and Fibrosis, I have PART I and PART II.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY
(And Their Relationship to Dysbiosis & Gut Health)
"A primary cause for incorrect flora is often a diet that contains either too much sugar, fruit, fruit juice, alkaline water, or raw food such as salad, sweets, alcohol and even medical or over-the-counter drugs. In fact, taking too many vitamins, minerals or herbs can upset the digestion enough to unbalance the flora." -Dr. Lawrence Wilson (MD) from Your Intestinal Flora
"I don't believe that vitamins are essential ingredients of a healthy diet, but rather I contend that all of the necessary nutritional chemicals are produced by the microorganisms of the gut. I have previously discussed the gut flora (bacteria and fungi) as the source of most vitamins." -Dr. Art Ayers
"Dr. Oz and the general biomedical community promote the idea that vitamin supplements or in foods are needed or improve health. Of course, several research studies show that typical multivitamin supplements or the levels of vitamins in "enriched" foods do not provide improvements in health. Since gut flora produce all of the needed vitamins, this should be no surprise." Art Ayers from Vitamin C, Guinea Pigs, Limeys and Gut Worms
"Almost all multivitamins are from synthetics. The same goes for fortified foods. There’s a good reason for this. Synthetic vitamins are cheaper to make and usually more stable. This means they can last on shelves for months or years, be added to foods in high doses, and create small dense tablets packed with insane amounts of every type of vitamin. These vitamins are allowed to call themselves “natural” even when they are actually synthetic because scientists say the synthetics are virtually identical to the ones found in food. The way these compounds are made is not remotely similar to the metabolic processes that plants and animals use to create them. The finished product is also usually a compound not exactly the same form as any found in nature. These synthetic vitamins, according to a multitude of studies, are not as bioavailable, absorbable, or usable. These “virtually identical” vitamins are not what we find in natural foods, not recognizable to the body, hard on the kidneys, and can often be treated as toxins." From Natural vs. Synthetic Vitamins – What’s the Big Difference? at the sunwarrior website
Just a couple of days ago I saw where Mal Wart and several other similar retailers (GNC was in the mix as well) were busted for selling herbal supplements; the vast majority of which (79%) contained zero (that would be none) of the active herbal ingredients they claimed to contain on the label (echinacea, ginseng, St. John’s wort, garlic, ginkgo biloba, saw palmetto). And now this. Dr. Art Ayers latest blog post (Healthy Gut Microbiota Means: No Supplements, No Cleanses, No Drugs, No Processed Foods) twists our brain capacity a little bit more --- or maybe a lot more. In this post (as well as several previous ones) Ayers reveals that (the following points were cherry picked from his latest post).........
"A healthy, functional gut microbiota (bacteria and fungi) supplies all of the vitamins needed, daily multivitamins are not beneficial, vitamin deficiencies are a symptom of gut dysbiosis, spiking your diet with multivitamins may disrupt your microbiota, because vitamins are actually the chemical signals used for communications between bacteria in biofilms, bowel cleanses damage gut microbiota, chronic inflammation is a symptom of vitamin D deficiency, and most medicines have substantial antibiotic activity."
The more I learn about GUT HEALTH and DYSBIOSIS, the more I realize that solving it is the key to everything related to ill health. And the really good news in this post is that Ayers lets us know that our plight is not hopeless, "damaged gut microbiotas / immune systems can be fixed". We learn some things about this process of "fixing" that besides HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE, you can find in the "Gut Health" link above. Oh; and I almost forgot to mention something really important. After warning people about taking vitamins or partaking of foods with added vitamins ("fortified"), he makes an interesting statement. "Try some whole foods instead."
Is Ayers correct? Just remember that no matter what anyone tries to tell you, there is a dramatic difference between WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION and SYNTHETIC NUTRITION. It's not that people can't get drug-like effects from SYNTHETIC VITAMINS (ANTIOXIDANT EFFECTS from mega doses of Synthetic Vitamin C, for instance). However, using drugs has consequences --- even if those drugs happen to be "natural" vitamins ("natural" is almost always the code word for "synthetic"), usually in the form of MONOTHERAPIES. I would strongly recommend that you read Dr. Ayer's post on this matter.
The best thing about using Standard Process Nutritional Supplements in our office is that they are made from food --- plants and animals. The best thing about Standard Process is that when you get the Whole Food Vitamin / Mineral Complex, it doesn't take much. Less is more. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A little bit of Whole Vitamin Complex from nature is typically much better than a whole bunch of an isolated chemical fraction synthesized in a lab. None of this plays well in our if-a-little-is-good-a-lot-must-be-better society. Food or food-based supplements are where it's at, because anything that puts our body OUT OF PHYSIOLOGICAL HOMEOSTASIS essentially becomes a toxin. To see more on this phenomenon (as well as a free generic template to help you start getting your life back), HERE'S THE POST.
DIETARY CRACKHEADS, ANTI-VAXXER WHACK-JOBS, AND THE PALEO DIET
I subscribe to MedPage Today's "Morning Break" feature. Each morning I get the latest medical news via my inbox. Like the rest of the media, MedPage has been featuring all sorts of stories about those crazy "Anti-Vaxxers" --- the people who are supposedly against vaccination. I use the word "supposedly" because I'm not sure most of the folks labeled as such are really against vaccinations. Allow me to explain. As a red-blooded American, I am all about freedom. Freedom of religion, freedom to carry my Beretta, and freedom to chose what healthcare I want or don't want for my family. In other words, while you might label me an Anti-Vaxxer, I completely support your right to get your shots. Just don't try to force me or my to get ours.
If you've been following the discussion on our latest "epidemic" (the CDC said there were 102 US cases of measles in January), you have likely seen how this story is being politicized. In other words, Forced Vaccinations are shaping up to be a major issue for next year's elections. This is not surprising. Due to our nation's increasingly socialistic policies as well as our passage of the Orwellianlly-named Affordable Care Act, we have elected officials who increasingly want to dictate healthcare policy to their constituency. Their thought process is that since they ("The Government") will be increasingly paying for your healthcare, they've somehow earned the right to make increasing numbers of your family's healthcare decisions.
One of our nation's Founding Fathers and signer of the Declaration of Independence ----- Dr. Benjamin Rush; a prominent Philadelphia physician, statesman, author, humanitarian, and university founder (not to mention our nation's first Surgeon General) --- had something to say concerning this topic back in the day. No, he certainly wasn't specifically addressing things like MANDATORY FLU SHOTS here. He was talking about protecting our freedom in every area of our lives --- including our healthcare. It's amazing what he foresaw almost two and a half centuries ago. "Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize itself into an undercover dictatorship."
The word "dictatorship" is certainly harsh. But let's look at how Daniel Webster defined it back in the 1828 version of his dictionary: "Authority; Imperiousness; Dogmatism; Absolute Power". It would not be difficult to argue that this describes where we are increasingly headed with government-run healthcare. And although the medical discussions on TV largely center around people who believe that a "Forced Vaccination" policy is best for America, there are a significant number of physicians with an opposite point of view.
One such person is Phoenix, Arizona Cardiologist, Dr Jack Wolfson of Wolfson Integrative Cardiology (home of the "CAVEMAN BLOG"). Wolfson is one of many prominent physicians (Joseph Mercola is another that comes immediately to mind, as does Suzanne Humphries, and AMY DAVIS WRIGHT) who has become an outspoken critic of our nation's vaccination policies. Among other things that Wolfson himself has been criticized for --- as you can imagine; the list is quite long --- is saying that a PALEO-LIKE DIET has the power to help protect against infectious diseases like the Measles. Could this possibly be true? Or is it yet another example of poppycock and full-blown hype? Let's take a look.
The average American is living large (no pun intended) on a HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE. This is problematic because the current peer-reviewed scientific literature is tying BLOOD SUGAR DYSREGULATION ISSUES back to nearly every health problem you can think of. For instance, did you know that sugar consumption is directly linked to Cancer (HERE)? Not only that, it's tied to an increased propensity for developing infections (HERE) and Dysbiosis (HERE). Not surprisingly, our latest government -recommended diet (DASH) is, like ANTIBIOTICS, failing us in the war against infectious illness (not to mention OBESITY) --- something that most doctors FAIL TO GRASP. I would take Wolfson's side and argue that Paleo is the best dietary approach for helping prevent infectious diseases, not to mention aiding people who have CHRONIC DEGENERATIVE INFLAMMATORY ILLNESSES and AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES. Enter David Seaman.
Dr. Seaman is a FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGIST from Florida who is arguably the Chiropractic profession's preeminent educator on the topic of INFLAMMATION --- something most people feel they have a handle on, even though they don't. I've not only written about Dr. Seaman's ANTI-INFLAMMATORY diet, but I've discussed his use of the term 'DIETARY CRACKHEADS' as well. In Dr. Seaman's lectures (I've sat through a few) he talks extensively about the link between Chronic Systemic Inflammation and sugar (HERE). I bring this up because the latest issue of Dynamic Chiropractic carries yet another one of his articles on the topic called, Medication Use Among Most DC's is Popular --- For Many It's a Daily Event.
Seeing this title, I can visualize most DC's being immediately taken aback --- offended, yet intrigued at the same time (as a profession, chiros are not real hip on using DRUGS as the first line of defense for most health problems). What are the drugs (he calls refers to them as "Dietary Crack") that huge numbers of Americans, including large numbers of chiros, are indulging in daily? They are "Refined Calories" from things like SODA, processed GRAINS, JUNK FOOD, and any number of others. Although Seaman is honest when he tells us that he himself occasionally takes a "hit" of the stuff, he also provides us with some great advice --- advice I myself have given out any number of times.
"Because I am against dietary crack, it would be unprincipled of me to buy it or store it in my house, regularly eat it, or feed it to others. Stop giving it to the people you love the most. Stop giving it to your patients. Stop giving it to friends and colleagues. Stop giving it to little children.... [If I indulge], I typically only have a little because there is no useful purpose to push the reward response and drive the addiction centers any more than needed."
Chiropractors need to be leading from the front in all health-related arenas, but particularly in anything that has to do with natural health --- GUT HEALTH, WEIGHT MANAGEMENT, BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION, EXERCISE, NUTRITION, etc, etc, etc. Great leaders aren't afraid to buck the system, swim upstream, or go against the grain (or use redundant cliches) --- and they certainly aren't afraid to take risks. Life is all about figuring out what the reward for something is and then cutting, leveraging, or managing the risk(s) associated with it. Let's face it --- life is dangerous; and whichever side of an issue you come down on has the potential to wreck your life. Or even kill you. As an avid GOLDWINGER, I can assure you that there are no failsafes. You take your chances and roll with them.
This means that if you choose not to vaccinate, your family may end up with measles, WHOOPING COUGH, Chicken Pox, FLU, etc, etc, etc. But don't kid yourself. Just because you choose to vaccinate doesn't provide you or your children a free pass regarding serious health problems. If you've studied the VACCINE / AUTISM debate, you know exactly what I'm talking about. The truth about the MMR Vaccine is being suppressed in many different ways; (HERE is one of them, but there are many).
Unfortunately, we are captivated by sensationalism and sugar (why do you think the checkout line at the grocery store always has the National Enquirer and Snickers Bars displayed so prominently?). We should be discussing the fact that three of the five leading causes of death in the United States (CANCER, DIABETES, and CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE), not to mention infectious diseases and overall health, are intimately related to our NATIONAL ADDICTION to "Dietary Crack". But face it, talking about the measles "epidemic" is sure to garner higher much TV ratings than talking about Obesity.
GETTING ON TARGET BY FINDING THE BULLSEYE
I always tell people that they will know whether or not my approach to healing is going to help after one treatment. Not that one treatment is going to necessarily solve your problem in its entirety, but there will be enough change that you will know whether or not we are on the right path (if it doesn't help at all the first time, more of the same won't help either). Be aware however, that sometimes things can change after treatment (LIKE THIS). Allow me to give you an example using a patient I treated a while back.
A young male (late 20's and appearing to be in good physical condition) presented to my office with CHRONIC NECK PAIN, upper back pain, and pain in and all the way around his right SHOULDER. He had played sports his whole life (he was a right handed quarterback and pitcher). Besides this, he had been through several motorcycle / four wheeler accidents, and CAR CRASHES (none life-threatening, but all severe). On top of all this, he was having some strange and seemingly unrelated health issues that he was absolutely positive were related to his case (HERE). After years of MRI'S / CT'S, specialists, the standard array of medications (NSAIDS, NARCOTICS, MUSCLE RELAXERS, and CORTISONE), therapy, and recommendations for any number of surgeries, he decided to make the ten hour trip to Mountain View to get treated.
One of the things I noticed first was that his head was tipped more than just a little bit to the right. His CERVICAL RANGES OF MOTION were in the toilet (HERE). Not only were they all severely restricted, they produced a significant amount of discomfort at end-range (me slightly 'forcing' them). There were also some significant TRIGGER POINTS in both upper traps, but much worse on the right. He had not been able to workout or throw for several years because it would fire up the pain (he could do either without much pain, but would pay for it for several days afterwards) . I found severe FASCIAL ADHESIONS throughout the area of complaint and broke them up over a period of about an hour and a half. The change was immediate and significant.
Not only was he essentially out of pain for the first time in years, his ROM was essentially normal --- even when I forcefully tested it into end-range. These initial results lasted for about 10 days. By two weeks, he was hurting again --- maybe not quite as bad as previously, but close. Seeing this change, however, provided enough optimism for him to make a second trip. This is where the principle that I call "BULLSEYING" came into play.
When I checked him at the beginning of his second visit, the Trigger Points were still present, but the Fascial Adhesion was at least 80% improved. After testing several things, I found that the SCAR TISSUE was dramatically better, everywhere but the right side of his neck. His SCM was still a mess as were its attachment points, including those on the SKULL. After breaking this up and getting an immediate response like I did on his first treatment, I knew I had found the target --- the "Bullseye" if you will.
I not only broke the Fascial Adhesions on the SCM itself, but all around the area, including bony attachment points, and then put him in a DAKOTA TRACTION DEVICE which I sent him home with. He tolerated it extremely well. That was approximately a year and a half ago. I was reminded of this case because I got an email from him this morning telling me how well he was doing, but that he felt he needed to have one more treatment done to clean up any residuals that might still be present. When he returns, rest assured that we will get him telling his story on VIDEO.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
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