GUT BUGS ARE CRITICAL FOR OVERALL HEALTH & AUTOIMMUNITY PREVENTION
When looking at a lateral view of the spine, the first thing we notice is the curves. The (normal) forward curve in the neck and low back is known as "lordosis" or "lordotic," while the mid-back curve runs the opposite way and is known as "kyphotic" or "kyphosis". What do these curves do? For starters they allow normal movement, both segmentally and sectionally (HERE). Proper curves also create a spring-like function that allows the spine to act as a sort of shock absorber; particularly important if you work on CONCRETE or other hard surfaces.
Without proper curves your spine would take a pounding of epic proportions. The curves work to distribute weight and force as well as transferring muscle energy to where it's needed. As you might imagine from looking at the picture; when spinal mechanics are off, the end result is that there is abnormal distribution of forces to spinal discs --- or maybe more accurately, to parts of the disc where said force should not be. Allow me to give you an example.
While discs will often herniate some degree laterally, they virtually always herniate backwards (posterior), meaning that herniated discs --- mostly from the low back or neck --- have the potential to be pushed or squeezed into the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots that come from the cord. What does this have to do with maintaining normal lordotic curves?
These normal curves put an axial pressure on the backs of the discs (as opposed to the fronts of the discs). As you can see from the picture above, this squeezes down on the posterior aspect of the disc, while opening up the anterior or front of the disc and pushing it forward. This natural "wedging" of these discs makes it extremely difficult for the disc's jelly center (the nucleus pulposis) to herniate (because without a horrific trauma the disc will not herniate forward), and explains why you will sometimes see this spinal position referred to as "closed-packed". However......
Imagine what would happen to the low back or neck if there were either no curves, or even worse, a REVERSE CURVE. Now, instead of the discs having the "open" portion of their wedge to the front, the open part of the disc faces the back. This is what happens to your lumbar spine if you bend forward and touch your toes. No big deal. That is, no big deal until you start loading the spine. Imagine, however, bending forward and lifting something, while not consciously maintaining the normal curve in your back.
Not only are you opening the disc in the back, but the heavier the object you are lifting (or the more overweight you are), the more pressure you are exerting on the front of the spinal column and discs, as opposed to them carrying this force on the posterior parts of the spinal column (the facet joints). This pressure literally squeezes the disc backwards like squeezing a tube of toothpaste. When there is too much force, or more likely, too many years of poor lifting mechanics, the ligamentous fibers of the disc (the annulus fibroses) that hold the jelly-like nucleus in place begin to separate and tear. The result is that you are now in a position where disc herniations are not only possible, but increasingly probable (HERE is a basic video of what this looks like).
Let's add one more variable to this situation. Let's do some situps. After all, everyone knows that situps are good for your back because strong abdominal muscles promote strong discs ---don't they? Enter Stuart McGill. Decades ago, McGill was the lone voice in the wilderness, warning that situps were not only not good for your back, but were arguably one of the single worst things you could do to your spine. His research has shown why situps are one of the best ways to cause spinal problems, including herniated discs (HERE).
In a recent interview with Dr. William Morgan (A Conversation with the Preeminent Lumbar Spine Researcher: Stuart McGill, PhD); after discussing overuse of spinal imaging, McGill made this statement concerning what's arguably the single most common spinal finding on radiologist's reports DJD or DDD (degenerative joint disease . degenerative disc disease). "When they [radiologists] use the term degenerative disc disease, I put that in the same category as nonspecific back pain. It's a garbage term." Interesting because that is essentially what I said in THIS 2012 POST.
In the PORTION OF THE VIDEO INTERVIEW titled Mechanics of Injury For Lumbar Disk Herniations and Extrusions, those of you suffering low back pain will find some interesting tidbits as far as what put you there, as well as pointing you in the right direction to a solution. The biggest disappointment concerning this video was that two of the chief drivers of chronic back and neck pain were not really addressed; the first being SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION, the other being micoscopic fibrosis or adhesion of the FASCIA, or more specifically, the thoracolumbar fascia (HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, or HERE) --- a factor that increasing numbers of experts are saying is responsible for the majority (as much as 70%) of chronic back pain. I would argue that if you add these two modes of thinking to the knowledge and protocols created by McGill, your results will be better yet. Allow me to explain.
What do we know about back pain?
- We know that back pain is the world's number one leading cause of disability (HERE).
- We know that back pain and disc herniations are both considered "inflammatory" (HERE or HERE).
- We know that back pain is associated with increased potential of developing chronic neurological disorders and diseases (HERE).
- We know that in our sit-too-much society, both LOWER CROSSED SYNDROME and UPPER CROSSED SYNDROME are epidemics that are dramatically increasing in both numbers and severity.
- We know that there is an intimate relationship between chronic pain, chronic illness, adhesed fascia, inflammation, and fibrosis / scar tissue (HERE, HERE, HERE or HERE).
- We know that SCIATICA is often caused by VERY SPECIFIC FASCIAL ADHESIONS as opposed to disc herniations.
- We know that adjustments are helpful for many cases of spine-related pain (HERE). We also know that in many cases, these same adjustments don't hold very well (HERE).
Although I could have taken this list further, it helps explain why even though one cannot ignore the biomechanical aspects of back and neck pain, it's critical to realize there are other factors at play; particularly the chemical factors we refer to as "INFLAMMATION" --- a factor known to put people into a true CONUNDRUM.
If you are interested in shedding systemic inflammation and starting the process of RESOLVING YOUR BACK PAIN, be sure and take a look at THIS POST. It will at least provide a few ideas as far as creating your own personalized EXIT STRATEGY is concerned. Also, be sure to like, share or follow on FACEBOOK if you appreciated this post because it's still a great way to reach the people you love and value most.
MICHIGAN / INDIANA CHRONIC PAIN RELIEF
IN MOUNTAIN VIEW, MISSOURI
Dr. Russ, Good morning!
I came to visit you this past August. I was with my mom and we came from the Indiana / Michigan area. I keep forgetting to give you an update on the treatment you gave me. I found significant relief in my neck and upper back, with my chiropractic adjustments actually holding for longer periods of time now. I started exercising again in December, and my performance and pain levels are a lot better than when I was exercising last spring, before I came for treatment. I remember after the treatment my neck not hurting for the first time in a long time.
I still have some problems with my hip, pelvic, sacrum areas, which were my main concerns. I have a dull ache in my sacroiliac joint (at least I think that's where it is). And I totally can tell I still have some fascial adhesions around my hips and etc. I am working these out with my own fascia tools and Pilates, which seems to be a great choice for my body - a mix of harder work and stretching at the same time. I am also about to start some weight training again. However, if I can't make enough significant progress in the coming 6 months plus, then I will be returning to see you another time to work on these areas, or whatever needs worked on. Stress can really get my back and neck all tight again too. We have some bad winter weather over here and driving makes me tense up real bad.
Overall my entire body is doing much better. I noticed the biggest change when I started exercising again in December and how different it felt this time around post-treatment, versus pre-treatment. I ran on the treadmill the other day for a few minutes and was surprised to see how well I did compared to when I tried last year. Anyways, I had been meaning to write you, but finally got to it! Thank you for what you do! It helps lots of people and is the missing link that my doctors just cannot seem to wrap their brains around!
That's fantastic! Just let me know if you are this way again and we'll try to knock out the rest. BTW, I could not remember you immediately and looked at FB and remembered immediately. That pic with your husband and kids.... amazing! Also, would you mind if I posted this as a testimonial?
Absolutely you can use it! I tell everyone in pain about my journey and the role fascia & scar tissue have played. So shout it to the rooftops! I actually was just helping someone in pain today and told them about mine & sent them links to your blog to read about scar tissue. And yes I thought it might be hard for you to remember me since I came back in August. I actually debated on sending a photo to help! :) My sister is a photographer...that’s why that pic of my family is so good! Anyway, thanks again and maybe see ya in the future!
Allow me to give you a bit of background. The first thing you must realize is that Jenna's case presents a picture-perfect example of what I referred to in my post, "MUZZLED" ---- the all-too-common tale of vaccine damage denial. Bottom line, if reactions to drugs or vaccines are not reported to the proper governmental agencies, they are never counted among the adverse reaction statistics. Thus, whatever drug or vaccine looked at appears much safer than it is. Because the "ANTIVAXXER" rhetoric has been (purposefully) ratcheted up to a scream; whether dealing with topics such as FLU VACCINES, VACCINES in general, or vaccine sequelae such as AUTISM, there is no longer room for a conversation. For the record, numerous meta-analysis have shown that vaccine side effects are reported to VAERS (the government's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) about 1% of the time (HERE). Not a misprint. Now, back to Jenna.
Jenna is a super-fit thirtyish mother of two young children. Always ultra-active, a TDAP SHOT she received while she was pregnant started this nightmare. She entered the world of CHRONIC PAIN, climbed on the MEDICAL MERRY-GO-ROUND, and started spinning. As you might imagine, she had been through all sorts of medical tests and treatments by the time I saw her, but had gotten off all of it except for the ANTIDEPRESSANTS and MUSCLE RELAXERS. The only things that actually helped Jenna were FASCIABLASTING and certain kinds of stretches / yoga. Even though Jenna's issues were "SYSTEMIC," I decided to see her once because I had a hunch I could help (her problems were fairly symmetrical left to right as well as being found both above and below the waist).
What did I determine from the examination and treatment? She had a combination SACROILIAC JOINT PROBLEM and SUPERIOR CLUNEAL NERVE ENTRAPMENT (as well as some HIP FLEXOR ADHESIONS), along with an array of FASCIAL ADHESIONS and connective tissue FIBROSIS, undoubtedly driven by an inflammatory reaction to the shot (remember that inflammation always causes fibrosis --- the medical word for what I refer to in my clinic as "SCAR TISSUE" or "DENSIFIED TISSUE" (HERE). One of the clues that I might be able to help Jenna was that chiropractic adjustments would help her, but the results were extremely short-lived (HERE or HERE) --- something that improved dramatically after her treatment. Speaking of treatment.....
Although I turn down the majority of the people who contact me from around the world because, unfortunately, after providing me with a history, I don't feel I can help them; my pledge to my OUT-OF-STATE & INTERNATIONAL PATIENTS (not to mention most of my local patients) is simple ---- you will know whether my approach will help you after a single treatment. This does not mean that one treatment will be enough to "cure" you (as an old professor of mine used to say, 'the only thing cured is ham'), but you will know whether or not we are on track (HERE or HERE).
For those who want to dig deeper into the root causes of fibrosis-causing inflammation (something I highly recommend, whether you have visible / tangible problems or not), HERE is the post. And if you appreciate what we are doing in tiny MOUNTAIN VIEW, MISSOURI, be sure to show us some love on FACEBOOK since it's still one of the best ways to reach the people you love and value most.
MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL.....
WHICH GOVERNMENTAL HEALTH AGENCY IS THE MOST CORRUPT OF ALL?
In September of 2017, an organization was created named Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, whose stated goals including noble endeavors like anti-smoking education, funding of various kinds of smoking cessation programs, decreasing smoking-related illnesses, monitoring the tobacco industry, educating tobacco farmers on farming options in light of a soon-to-be smoke-free world, as well as funding research for all of the above and more. Furthermore, this was not the sort of donation seen on the cover of the local newspaper --- one person presenting another with a comically oversized check, while vigorously shaking hands, and cheeky smiles around. We're talking 1,000 million dollars here (1 billion over 12 years). The punch line? The company dropping the cash happened to be tobacco giant, Phillip Morris International, owner of six multi-billion dollar cigarette lines, including the ever-popular Marlboro brand.
None of this should be surprising. A 2008 study from the journal, PLoS Medicine ('A Good Personal Scientific Relationship: Philip Morris Scientists and the Chulabhorn Research Institute, Bangkok) showed how Thailand's Chulabhorn Research Institute (the leading environmental health science facility in Southeast Asia and headed by one Professor / Doctor "Her Royal Highness, Princess Chulabhorn, the daughter of the King of Thailand") was essentially hijacked by Big Tobacco's big money. "Documents reveal that ostensibly independent overseas scientists, now identified as industry consultants, were able to gain access to the Thai scientific community...." This was especially big considering that "it [CRI] has assumed international significance via its designation as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre in December 2005."
Not surprisingly, many of the law firms and consulting agencies who helped Big Tobacco with it's legal and image problems over the years are members. And if you look at the board, it reads like a Who's Who hall of fame for FINANCIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST (COI). About this COI; Dr. Derek Yach, the Foundation's head (he used to be head of the WHO's 'Tobacco Free Initiative' as well as Senior Vice President of Global Health and Agriculture Policy for PepsiCo) stated, "I see it less as a conflict of interest than a confluence of interest". I can buy that. The whole scam revolves around everyone involved making money --- a 'confluence' by anyone's definition.
It should not come as a surprise that Phillip Morris International uses these sorts of diversionary tactics to try and cover the fact that they market their products to children (see The Facts about Philip Morris International: Company Is Cause of the Tobacco Problem, Not the Solution on Tobacco Free Kids dot org). Listen to how Jonathan Liberman, the director of the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer put it.....
"The relevant wording in the Certificate of Incorporation and the Bylaws does not support 'ending smoking' through activities aimed at prevention of uptake or cessation of use without replacement by other products. If that had been the intention, it would have been a simple matter to so provide. Patently, Philip Morris has a significant commercial interest in alternative products / harm reduction, whereas prevention of uptake and cessation of use, without replacement by other products, are not in its interests. At heart, what the arrangement between the Foundation and Philip Morris represents is an attempt to operationalize a perceived intersection between Yach’s ambitions and Philip Morris’s commercial interests that Philip Morris judges to be valuable enough to it to justify an (albeit conditional) USD960 million commitment. The USD960 million is to be spent on certain things only – not things that are obviously inconsistent with Philip Morris’s commercial interests. This – if individuals and organizations are prepared to accept the money on offer – will inherently and significantly recast the field of tobacco control research and practice. Clearly, such a recasting would be of substantial benefit to Philip Morris. To suggest that such an enterprise can be made 'independent' through technical governance fixes shows an awareness of a need for the Foundation to address a significant PR challenge, but it seems to rely on a rather hollow understanding of the notion of independence'."
Once light was shed on this incestuous relationship, incredulous academic / research institutions (at least they sounded incredulous) realized they had better bail on this foundation or be seen as beholden to industry. Although when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry, they are definitely beholden to industry (SOMETHING I'VE SHOWN YOU OVER AND OVER AGAIN), accepting research dollars from Big Tobacco is much harder to explain away --- most likely the reason for the title of a blog post in the British Journal of Medicine by Marita Hefler earlier this week (Philip Morris Smoke Free Foundation: Questions About Independence and Transparency, While Top Universities Distance Themselves).
If you want, you can read the report on the dissolution of this unholy marriage that was published in the February 6 issue of both Bloomberg and Fortune (Philip Morris Health Campaign Rebuffed by World Health Organization). Honestly, it's probably more like an annulment because even though these entities had clandestinely slept together; supposedly, money had yet to change hands. Honestly, it's a lot of huffy puffy rhetoric and harsh words by the WHO, but if this relationship had not be scrutinized so closely, they would be living with PMI in orgastic bliss for the next dozen years. Not to be outmaneuvered, Coke wanted in on some similar action.
Less than two weeks ago the public health journal, Milbank Quarterly, published a paper titled Public Meets Private: Conversations Between Coca‐Cola and the CDC. What can be learned about these "conversations" that seem all too similar to what took place inside the hallowed halls of the UN (the WHO is the medical branch of the United Nations)?
"There is growing understanding of how manufacturers of harmful products influence health policy. The strategies, approaches, and influences from such manufacturers that are detrimental to health have been termed the 'corporate' or 'commercial' determinants of health. However, while partnerships with the tobacco industry are clearly unacceptable for public health organizations, ties to other industries continue to be pursued."
Coca Cola had the CDC's ear because they wanted to "frame the debate" concerning the relationship between sugar, obesity, diabetes, cancer (see my Facebook post from earlier this week), and numerous others. But honestly, I'm neither shocked nor interested. After all, what else would you really expect from people who have a lot to gain (or lose) depending on how this debate is explained to the public (who could forget the way this debate between ANCEL KEYS & JOHN YUDKIN was originally described sixty years ago)? What I'm most interested in is the last sentence above ---- ties to other industries continue to be pursued.
It's not difficult to see just how widespread these relationships really are (see earlier link to my column on Evidence-Based Medicine a few paragraphs ago). What's hilariously two-faced about this particular situation is how one of the single most corrupt organizations in all of medicine --- the AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION --- publically denounced the CDC for this relationship. And herein lies the problem. The very same COI that seems so disgusting when engaged in by certain types of entities (say, big tobacco), is the norm when engaged in by certain other types of entities (say, big pharma). My favorite example? How many of you have gotten your flu shot this year? If so, be sure and read THIS SCATHING PIECE by my favorite medical doctor (my little brother).
And if you appreciate the time and effort that goes into providing you with valuable (and free) health-related information (LIKE THIS), be sure and spread the wealth. The easiest way to reach the people you love and value most is by liking, sharing, or following on FACEBOOK.
THE LATEST IN FASCIA RESEARCH
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FASCIA CONGRESS
Fascia is made up of FIBROBLASTS (collagen-secreting cells), MYOFIBROBLASTS (cells that give fascia the ability to contract), telocytes (extremely long fibers that give fascia the ability TO CONNECT YOUR BODY AS A WHOLE, aiding in it's ability to act as A SECOND NERVOUS SYSTEM), fasciacytes (cells that secret the gel-like HYALURONIC ACID), along with numerous other components, including the new lymphatic circulatory system called the INTERSTITIUM. These channels have already been shown to be important in LYMPHEDEMA / LIPEDEMA, the spread of CANCER, in wound healing, in HOMEOSTASIS, as well as their ability to "remove pathogens". When the authors made the statement, "Interstitial fluid flow is essential for a properly functioning immune system," I couldn't help but thinking about one of the many incredible benefits of OUR BACKYARD TRAMPOLINE!
Also talked about were THE VARIOUS TYPES OF PAIN, with mention being made to the premises underlying DR. CHAN GUNN'S WORK --- showing that when exposed to the chemicals that make up the immune system mediators we collectively refer to as "INFLAMMATION," nerves within the tissue can become hyper-sensitized, leading to problems like HYPERALGIA / ALLODYNIA, which are both characteristics of an all-too-common phenomenon known as CENTRAL SENSITIZATION (the worst kind of chronic pain).
The same research team also showed how SPONTANEOUS DISC HERNIATIONS are related to both muscular atrophy and FATTY INFILTRATION of the low back muscles and THORACOLUMBAR FASCIA, mostly the result of unbridled inflammation coupled with lack of exercise (or maybe I should say, lack of the right kinds of exercise). This section of the study also mentioned treating pain by focusing on "improving sleep, depression/stress and negative affect." Interestingly, I just showed you how light is being successfully used to address to all of these (HERE). As far as exercise, they suggested starting "gently" (especially those of you struggling with FIBROMYALGIA or similar). Maybe this explains why I've become such a huge fan of WBV and use it myself almost every day.
What I found amazing, but not surprising was that when looking at the actual causes of back pain, disc-related pain accounted for less than 5% of all back pain. OSTEOPOROSIS accounted for even less, and DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS accounted for only about one in ten cases. What was the major culprit in most back pain? "By far the biggest source of low back pain from what Dr. Willard has found in the literature is myofascial-ligamentous pain, which seems to contribute to about 70% of cases."
Again we see the importance of the THORACOLUMBAR FASCIA (or HERE, HERE, HERE, or HERE) as well the reasons it's important to grasp concepts like UPPER CROSSED and LOWER CROSSED syndromes. And while there was little detail provided, fascia's relationship to WHIPLASH INJURIES was also discussed, as was the importance of PROPER BIOMECHANICS on preventing musculoskeletal injuries, particularly to tendons.
Along these same lines, there were biomechanical discussions about the fact that one of PLANTAR FASCIITIS' chief characteristics is that the fascia "THICKENS" --- something they now believe is likewise happening to the Tensor Fascia Lata muscle in people (mostly runners and jumpers) with ITB problems. The authors also discussed the relationship between weak feet and PF, suggesting that in societies where no one wears shoes, the population has better arches --- still another reason to start a "GROUNDING PROTOCOL" (not to mention it's benefits your proprioception --- one of fascia's primary functions --- HERE or HERE).
One last thing I must mention before winding down is the relationship of fascia to hormones, particularly FEMALE HORMONES. Dr. Carla Stecco of Italy is one of the world's leading experts on this relationship between FASCIA AND HORMONES, and had this to say.....
"Another finding important to facial tissue composition is that fascial fibroblasts contain sex hormone receptors, which can affect collagen expression. Dr. Stecco's team has focused so far on female hormones and found receptors for estrogen, relaxin, and estradiol. These sex hormones, in particular estradiol, stimulate secretion of collagen type 3, which is elastic and organized more like a web; they also seem to decrease secretion of collagen type 1, which produces large bundles of strong collagen fibers to create stiffer and stronger fascia. In addition, fibrillin (a glycoprotein secreted by fibroblasts) was found to increase expression during the peri-ovulatory phase and pregnancy, making fascia more elastic. Increased elasticity in response to sex hormones makes the fascia of the trunk more adaptable to change of volume during pregnancy, and it is valuable to understand the biochemical mechanisms by which these changes occur. Looking at postmenopausal women, Dr. Stecco's lab found decreased expression of sex hormone receptors, making fasciae less receptive to hormonal input and more likely to develop and maintain stiffness."
Because fascia is often at the root of any number of PAIN SYNDROMES, what kind of research is being done to help suffering humanity with problems that may very well be fascia-related? Because "endocannabinoid receptors have been recently identified in fascial fibroblasts," there is a great deal of work being done trying to influence the INFLAMMATION / FIBROSIS / SCAR TISSUE CONUNDRUM using CBD and similar. There is also research into using specific enzymes that break down hyaluron to lessen "FASCIAL DENSIFICATION" (something we seem to be doing a pretty good job of her in our clinic --- HERE).
"Clearly, much progress has been made and is being made in this direction. In the meantime, there are many scientifically validated options immediately available to reduce pathology and pain and improve wellness, including manual therapy and exercise."
Although I would never for even a moment call it comprehensive, at least on some level MY INFLAMMATION-REDUCING PROTOCOL addresses each and every one of the points brought up in this post. If you are looking for more posts on fascia, HERE THEY ARE (or HERE if you want them organized), just follow the links. And if you enjoyed today's post, don't forget to like, share or follow on FACEBOOK as it's still one of the best ways to reach the people you love and value most. After all, there are growing numbers of researchers touting fascia as both the beginning and the end of all disease and chronic pain processes (HERE).
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).
Brain Based Therapy
Can You Help
Cardio Or Strength
Cold Laser Therapy
Death By Medicine
Degenerative Joint Disease
D's Of Chronic Pain
Evidence Based Medicine
Gluten Cross Reactivity
Ice Or Heat
Jacks Fork River
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Number One Health Problem
Platelet Rich Therapy
Post Surgical Scarring
Re Invent Yourself
Rib And Chest Pain
Scar Tissue Removal
Sleeping Pills Kill
Stay Or Go
Stretching Post Treatment
Tensegrity And Fascia
The Big Four
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Whole Body Vibration