CHRONIC NECK PAIN: SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION -VS- LOCAL INFLAMMATION --- HEALING CHRONIC NECK PAIN BY INDUCING INFLAMMATIONRead Now
CHRONIC NECK PAIN
If you look at the pics at the top of the page (particularly the kneeling skeleton), you'll notice that the pattern of Lower Crossed Syndrome takes the shape of an "X" --- overly-tight HIP FLEXORS and THORACOLUMBAR MUSCULATURE, with weak BUTTOCKS and ABDOMINAL MUSCLES. What does this do? It creates massive amounts of mechanical stress in the low back that can be clearly seen in these side-by-side TEN SECOND VIDEOS of Adhesed Thoracolumbar Fascia as well as in the DEGENERATIVE CHANGES that follow. It also sets people up for CHRONIC SACROILLIAC PROBLEMS or even issues of the hip rotator cuff (particularly the PIRIFORMIS MUSCLE). Beyond that, it contributes to a weak core (remember that the core is not simply your superficial abdominal muscles). While this is all great to know, the real questions are what does it look like clinically, what caused it in the first place, and what can you do to address it? Let's look at these questions one at a time.
WHAT CAUSES LOWER CROSSED SYNDROME?
- YOU ARE INACTIVE: Unfortunately, in our modern electronic society, this problem is not getting better. As you'll see shortly, not only is activity critical for preventing or reversing Lower Crossed Syndrome, but it needs to be the proper sort of activity. Repeating the wrong sorts of movements over and over again can sometimes be as bad as inactivity. Sort of like repeatedly trying to drive a bent nail --- you straighten it out but every time you hit it, it bends again.
- YOU HAVE BAD POSTURE: While sometimes this is a chicken and egg sort of thing (for instance, some people have genetic predispositions toward things like 'sway back' or horrendously pronated / supinated ankles) mostly it's laziness and lack of effort. I spend a lot of time telling young people that their POOR POSTURE will end up haunting them as they get older. Are they listening? Some do and some don't.
- YOU SIT TOO MUCH: This is not surprising considering the insane amount of research that's come out in the past decades on the detriments of sitting. Sick around and I'll show you some simple remedies for this that you can do throughout the day (for instance, 'The Founder'). Sitting is another reason that EXTENSION THERAPY can be such a huge benefit.
- SPORTS AND TRAINING: I already see the indignation on some people's faces and hear it in their voices. How in the world can sports (lots and lots of activity) cause problems if too little activity is one of the reasons people get Lower Crossed Syndrome? By their very nature, most sports tend to be very repetitive, as are their training regimens. GET INTO A RUT and you essentially spend all your time straightening and re-driving the bent nail I talked about in the first bullet --- over and over and over again. This is why poor technique and imbalanced training (for instance, neglecting core strength or doing THE WRONG KIND of training) bends the nail even further, making it impossible to ever drive it into the board. It may look OK on the surface, but for all intents and purposes, it's not functional.
- OTHERS: There are certainly others so just remember that this list is not exhaustive.
WHAT DOES LOWER CROSSED SYNDROME LOOK LIKE?
WHAT IS THE CLINICAL PRESENTATION OF LOWER CROSSED SYNDROME?
- POOCHED BELLY: While in this day and age it's not uncommon to see a pooched belly because of BELLY FAT, I am not talking about belly fat here. Not that OBESITY can't make this and other issues more difficult to see.
- SWAY BACK (LORDOSIS): This is having the extra amount of front-to-back curvature of the lumbar spine as seen in the lateral / profile view. The September 2011 issue of the European Spine Journal (Sagittal Spino-Pelvic Alignment in Chronic Low Back Pain) said, "Sagittal spino-pelvic alignment was different between patients with chronic low back pain and controls, suggesting the relationship between this specific pattern and the presence of chronic low back pain." Exactly three years to the month prior to that, the journal Spine (Classification of Sagittal Thoraco-Lumbo-Pelvic Alignment of the Adolescent Spine in Standing and its Relationship to Low Back Pain) compared lateral photographs of children to lateral X-rays of adults, concluding that, "Those adolescents classified as having non-neutral postures when compared with those classified as having a neutral posture demonstrated higher odds for all measures of back pain." In other words, POSTURE really is a big deal when it comes to chronic low back pain (or CHRONIC PAIN in general).
- AN ANTERIORLY TILTED PELVIS: With overly tight hip flexors pulling down, and the overly tight low back pulling largely in an upward direction, the pelvis will typically tilt as seen by the curved arrow in the pelvis of the pic above left. Sometimes this will cause hyperextended knees as well, as seen by the second pic from the right.
- LOW BACK PAIN: Just be aware that this problem is so common in our society that Lower Crossed Syndrome is not the only cause here, but one of many potentials.
HOW CAN YOU GO ABOUT SOLVING LOWER CROSSED SYNDROME ON YOUR OWN?
- TREAT LOWER CROSSED SYNDROME AS A SYSTEMIC PROBLEM: Honestly, this is good advice for whatever ails you. If you will treat this problem as though it has a significant INFLAMMATORY COMPONENT (which it very well might), your odds of solving it --- along with any number of OTHER ISSUES as an added bonus --- skyrockets.
- LIFTING WEIGHTS IS AWESOME IF YOU DO IT CORRECTLY: I've been fascinated by big muscles and feats of strength since I was a skinny, ripped, Kansas farm boy. I'm a huge fan of squats, dead lifts (since I don't compete, I prefer a hex or diamond-shaped bar), power cleans, and the like. I must admit, however, that several years ago I fell in love with KETTLEBELL SWINGS. The thing about lifting weights is that if you are going to do it (and I think you should), you need to do it properly and with good form. This is waaaaaay more important than simply worrying about how much weight you are pushing. In the immortal words of David Carradine's Kung Fu character, "Learn balance young grasshopper".
- MAKE SURE YOU ADD FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH TRAINING TO YOUR POWER REGIMEN: As you just saw, I'm a huge fan of lifting weights. While POWERLIFTING is great fun, make sure that you are doing some FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH TRAINING AS WELL. There are so many videos on Functional Strength Training on YouTube I'm not even sure where to start. Another post for another day.
- TAKE CARE OF YOUR CORE: While this sort of goes hand in hand with the previous bullet, I have plenty of information specifically on TAKING CARE OF THE CORE, as well as including some basic stretches / yoga poses in a slide show below. I also included a neat little exercise I have been doing for about five years now called "The Founder".
- REALIZE THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO HAVE OTHER ABERRANT PATTERNS OF MUSCLE IMBALANCE: If you have crazy high arches like mine, you may very well tend toward tight glutes instead of flabby or weak glutes. The thing to remember about the body is that while you want to be aware of the most common patterns, also realize that it can get messed up in any number of ways for any number of reasons
- STUDY AND LEARN: Back in the dark ages (prior to the internet), finding quality information was tough. Now it's easy. The cool thing is that there are a ton of YouTube Videos and websites full of exercise and stretching protocols. In all honesty, most of it really isn't hard --- it's just a matter of CREATING A PLAN, starting small, and sticking with it. Having been to a number of seminars on Lower Crossed Syndrome (I was just at one a couple months ago), I can tell you that you can't learn it all in a day. Read, watch videos, and learn. It's just one more tool in your box for solving CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN.
THE BIGGEST CULPRIT IN CHRONIC ILLNESS AND OBESITY?
DIETARY FAT -vs- DIETARY CARBS
If there's one thing that we know for sure about the field of nutrition, it's that there are any number of camps that they often disagree with each other --- often times radically. For instance, there are still those out there like Pritikin, Ornish, McDougal, Furhman, and others promoting a high carb / high starch diet, with limited or no animal-based foods. Much of Groopman's article is aimed at people in the other camp --- the camp that says a GRAIN-BASED DIET that's heavy in sugars (or at least heavy in high glycemic-index / glycemic-load starches) is the root of our epidemic of PRE-DIABETES, DIABETES, and OBESITY. Although I am not going to deal with the whole article, I am going to touch on some high points.
We see right away that Dr. Groopman is interested in this topic because it hits close to home. His family heard the message of DR. ANCEL KEYS in the "early ninteen-sixties," buying in to the 'WAR ON FAT' and radically changing their diets, converting to the low fat lifestyle (the 'FAT FREE' lifestyle would come later, in the late 1980's). Despite his father's best and strictest efforts, he died of a heart attack in his mid fifties. After invoking the seemingly unlimited powers of GENETICS concerning his personal cholesterol levels, Groopman tied these events together by extolling the virtues of STATINS. The following is the first of the three points I want to make about Groopman's article.
- DIABETES IS NOT A SUGAR PROBLEM: Groopman makes the statement, "Though there’s a clear correlation between diabetes and obesity, no one has yet discovered a causal link." Here's the reason --- one that I have talked about on more than one occasion. Diabetes is not really a "sugar" problem. Sure, you'll be labeled as having Diabetes if your fasting blood sugar goes over 125, but this doesn't really explain Diabetes. Even though SUGAR AND JUNK CARBS are in themselves extremely inflammatory (HERE), they are not the only driver of inflammation out there --- they are merely the lowest of the low-hanging fruit. The bottom line is that Diabetes is an inflammatory problem much more than it is a sugar problem (HERE). Once you see how many crazy, weird things can potentially drive SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION, you can start to see why this issue can become confusing --- especially when it (Diabetes or Insulin Resistance) is found in people of NORMAL WEIGHT. Although it certainly won't solve all these drivers, the PALEO DIET is beautiful because it cuts out the most potentially inflammatory foods. While a huge step up from the SAD (Standard American Diet), the Mediterranean Diet that Dr. Groopman keeps going back to, will adversely affect those who are gluten or FODMAP sensitive --- at least when done here in America, using AMERICAN GRAINS. This is why I believe that everyone needs to do an ELIMINATION DIET to figure out what these inflammatory foods may be, as they are different for different people.
- CALORIES ARE NOT ALL EQUAL: Groopman makes a statement that I quite agree with. "Research has shown that calories eaten are only part of what determines weight. Our metabolism reflects an interplay of things like genes, hormones, and the bacteria that populate the gut, so how much energy we absorb from what we eat varies from person to person." As far as weight gain is concerned, the number of calories consumed is not nearly as important as the type of calories consumed. If people don't understand the effect that said calories have on their ENDOCRINE SYSTEM and GUT (including one's MICROBIOME), it will be tough to conquer the battle of the bulge. For instance, sugars and most grains --- especially CORN and GLUTEN-CONTAINING GRAINS --- increase the body's insulin levels, often dramatically (HERE). This is why if people will eat foods that don't hype their endocrine system (i.e. GOOD FATS and PROTEIN); as long as they have the right bacteria in their Gut (HERE), they can eat just about all they want and get downright skinny in the process. This is largely how a KETOGENIC DIET works as well as being why cardiologist Robert Atkins was so ahead of his time. It's also why someone can consume mass quantities of good fats, losing weight and normalizing their blood work in the process. Although Groopman talks about Taubes' book The Case Against Sugar at length in this article, the book that best deals with the concept specifically touted by this bullet is Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories. I wrote about the various ways sugar affects the body (including Alzhiemer's Disease and PCOS) just a few weeks ago (HERE). Shifting to the next bullet, take a look at the cancer-quote below.
"...cigarette smoke contains carcinogens, molecules that have been shown to directly transform normal cells into malignant ones by disrupting their DNA. There’s no equivalent when it comes to sugar. Taubes surmises a causal link by citing findings that cancer cells need glucose to thrive, and absorb more of it than other cells. But this proves nothing: malignant cells consume in abundance not only carbohydrates like glucose and fructose but other nutrients, like vitamins. To imagine that, just because cancer cells like glucose, elevated levels of it might prompt healthy cells to become cancerous is to take a vast, unsubstantiated leap."
- SUGAR FEEDS CANCER; OR DOES IT? When it comes to fighting off INFECTIOUS ILLNESS or Cancer, fortunately we were created with an amazing immune system (HERE and HERE). This is because we all have mutations occurring all the time. And contrary to what EVOLUTIONISTS would have you believe, said mutations do not lead to the advancement of the species. In the vast majority of cases, they lead to a nasty array of diseases based on genetic foul up, including Cancer (HERE). Thus, we don't need sugar to start or create the Cancer --- there are plenty of other things we are exposed to all day / every day that can do that. All we need is for THE SUGAR that's already present, is to feed it --- sort of like taking a very small fire and dumping gasoline on it. What do we know about the affinity of Cancer for sugar? Instead of me answering that question, I'll let the Nobel Prize winner from 1931, Dr. Otto Warburg, do it for me (HERE). Suffice it to say, Pet Scans (CT SCANS used for detecting cancer) work because of this principle.
Dr. Groopman's article makes a lot of good points and shows that he is committed to the "Best Evidence" as found in peer-review. While I am a huge fan of peer-review (my site literally discusses thousands of studies), I also am aware of just how financially conflicted so much of the biomedical research can be --- particularly when it comes to Big Pharma (HERE). My point here, is not to sell you something (i.e. NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS). My point is to give you some information that might just help you help yourself. If you are struggling with chronic conditions of various sorts, THIS POST might be right up your alley.
SCIENTIFIC PALEO: WHY I RECOMMEND THE PALEO DIET (OR SIMILAR) TO MOST PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC CONDITIONSRead Now
WHY I RECOMMEND A PALEO DIET TO MOST
PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC CONDITIONS
Could the Paleo Diet be a Lie? Yahoo
What Paleo Diet Experts Think – And Why They're Wrong The Guardian
Science Confirms that the Paleo Diet is Nonsense Quartz
Tumor in Ancient Foot Bone Suggests Paleo Diet is Overrated Popular Science
Why the Paleo Diet is Half-Baked Scientific American
The Paleo Diet is a Load of Rubbish MSN dot com
The Paleo Diet is a Load of Arse Lifehacker Australia
Paleolithic Diet Doesn't Weigh Up ABC News
The Paleo Diet is Unhealthy, Uncivillized, and Untrue Dr. John McDougal
I could've followed up the headlines above with hundreds of others, equally as disturbing to anyone thinking of trying the Paleo Diet, or even to some of those who think it's is the greatest thing since sliced bread (scratch that) sliced grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone-free roast beef. I'm the first to admit that there are people out there who don't do so well with animal-based sources of protein. It was the brilliant ART AYERS who said (I am paraphrasing here) that it doesn't really matter so much whether or not you are eating Paleo or Vegan, just as long as it isn't processed and your MICROBIOME is up to the task of digesting and assimilating it. Today I want to show you why the Paleo Diet (along with a slew of similar) has great evidence showing why it can be extremely helpful for suffering Americans.
I've written a number of articles on why the PALEO DIET is one of the best lifestyle changes you can make to deal with everything from OBESITY to CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY & DEGENERATIVE DISEASES, not to mention AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES. And although it's technically incorrect (probably why many true-blue hardcore Paleo-believers will castigate me for this post), I lump GAPS, SEAMAN'S, and even on some level -- gulp --- BRADY'S, along with any number of similar into this category. So, beyond providing you some links (HERE), I'm not going spend an inordinate amount of time rehashing why this type of eating works. In a nutshell, diseases (even most of those you are being told are "genetic" as in LAST SATURDAY'S POST) are the result of INFLAMMATION. Solve your inflammation and you'll likely go a long way toward solving --- or at least diminishing --- your disease(s). What I want to show you today is the straight scoop on the Paleo Diet, giving you some of the science behind why it helps so many people achieve such amazing results with seemingly hopeless problems.
Let me start by saying that I'm not interested in the whole but-it's-not-really-eating-like-our-ancestors-ate debate. I bring this up because there are many who say that today's "Paleo Diet" is not really the diet of ancient hunter / gatherers. I'm not interested in debating exactly what or what not "cavemen" were eating who-knows-how-long ago. Neither am I interested in this diet from an EVOLUTIONARY STANDPOINT. And depending on your situation, I'm not necessarily crazy strict about what you can and can't eat on this diet.
You want to eat some BEANS? Just add them to your ELIMINATION DIET and see if they give you problems. You want to do some Quinoa in a casserole? Great; do the same and make sure it's not a CROSS-REACTOR for you. Some of you will be able to handle CERTAIN GRAINS without any issue., while for others, they will wreak havoc. You want to do dairy? Find someone who is selling natural whole milk from an animal (goat milk is less reactive than cow's milk) that is being raised without ANTIBIOTICS or HORMONES. There are lots of fantastic options and choices here in our neck of the Ozarks.
Some people want to be almost "religious" in the strictness to their paradigm. That's not me. While you certainly need to be mega-ultra-strict while on your Elimination Diet, once you figure out what your body and brain can tolerate without causing inflammation, most of you (particularly those of you who are not in the throes of major illness) can relax just a bit. In other words, don't freak out if you see me eating a bowl of chili, with some cheese on top. Enough of that, let's take a look at the research (these are in no particular order) and a few of the experts touting it.
- WHILE NOT EXACTLY "PALEO," LOW CARB IS BACKED BY A VERITABLE MOUNTAIN OF RESEARCH: Just recently I was asked to write A SHORT ARTICLE for the Diabetes Council, who included mine along with the articles from several heavy hitters in the LOW CARB field, including famed biochemist, Barry Sears of The Zone fame. I was definitely the lightweight (probably more like the feather weight) in the group, who were largely proponents of Low Carb eating. When it comes to Low Carb eating, there is a veritable treasure trove of research, some of it dating back to the 1950's and prior. While Low Carb is not technically "Paleo," it doesn't take much of a leap to get there (or at least thereabouts) from here.
- MARK SISSON: Mark has been rocking it for a long time as far as being a leader in the Paleo Lifestyle movement is concerned. His site (Mark's Daily Apple) is a tribute to a guy who is living out the science each and every day of his life. Mark is sixty three and promotes living a lifestyle that will keep you not only fit and healthy, but LGN (looking good naked) at any age. Two years ago, Mark published A LIST of Paleo studies done since the mid-80's.
- ROBB WOLF: Robb Wolf is a biochemist and researcher who parlayed his professional experience and athletic ability (he is an accomplished POWER LIFTER) into a career as an online coach and consulting guru. Robb's site is not only fantastic, but has a page dedicated to --- you guessed it --- PALEO RESEARCH.
- LOREN CORDAIN: Dr. Cordain is probably the foremost academic behind the Paleo movement, being not only a research scientist and professor, but having written over 100 scientific papers on the topic. His website, The Paleo Diet dot com, has a page called SCIENCE & RESEARCH, but it's only current through 2013.
- KRIS GUNNARS: Gunnars started his site (Authority Nutrition) just five short years ago, and built it into a juggernaut. He bills his site as, "based on scientific evidence, and written by experts. We are an unbiased and 100% independent website. We are not sponsored by any industry or company. Every effort is made to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument." A few years ago, Kris wrote a post called 5 STUDIES ON THE PALEO DIET, where he takes apart the human studies that had been done to date. Very cool, with lots of graphs for comparison.
- AARON BLAISDELL: Blaisedell runs the Evolution Institute, which touts itself as, "anything and everything from an evolutionary perspective". I'm not sure why a CRAZY CREATIONIST like myself would have to buy into the whole "evolution" thing for the Paleo Diet to work, but regardless, he has some good stuff on his site. Dr. B says that his, "own research using an outbred rat model has shown that it is the degree of processing, and not macronutrient ratio (carb:protein:fat), that seems to be the significant factor in determining how healthy a diet is. A diet made from highly refined and purified ingredients was obesogenic and led to cognitive impairments." By the way, Blaisedell is a huge fan of the LCHF PSD (Low Carb High Fat Paleo-Style Diet) that could probably be characterized, at least in many cases, as "KETOGENIC". In his post on the science behind the Paleo Diet, he talks of using it to solve his EPP --- a genetic condition (his post actually proves it's an "EPIGENETIC CONDITION") that among other things, makes people extremely sun-sensitive (HERE).
- PALEO MOM: Don't let the title of Dr. Sarah Ballantyne's site fool you. Her doctorate degree is in Medical Biophysics, and she cured herself of a host of chronic health issues, including MAJOR OBESITY, via the Paleo Diet. In many ways, her "120 lb Journey to Paleo" reminds me of MY SISTER'S AMAZING STORY of using Paleo not only to lose 100 lbs in 7-8 months, but essentially "cure" 5 different autoimmune diseases in the process. Although it rehashes some of what we have already seen, she provides a unique take on EVERY STUDY SHE REVIEWS.
- CHRIS KRESSER: Kresser is an acupuncturist who, like Jordan Reubens, got deathly sick and cured himself naturally. Only instead of HSO PROBIOTICS, Kresser used a version of the Paleo Diet. His site has lots of good articles on Paleo / LCHF, with an emphasis on the scientific side of things. HERE is a short video of Chris giving four scientific foundations for the Paleo Diet.
- MAT LALONDE & CHRIS MASTERJOHN: LaLonde is an organic chemist at Harvard, and Masterjohn has a Ph.D in nutrition and does post-doctoral research in the field as well as being a professor. One of LaLonde's numerous YouTube Videos can be found HERE, while Masterjohn has a slew of videos on YouTube that can be found on his website. His go-to most nutritious food? Interestingly enough, it's the same food that made up the foundation of German physician, MAX GEARSON'S, famous cancer-curing recipe from the 1930's --- liver. Dr. Chris has some cool videos, including several on a topic I have been talking about for two decades now --- the relationship (or non-relationship as the case may be) between DIETARY CHOLESTEROL, high cholesterol, and ill health. But in my estimation, the most incredible talk I've seen him give has to be on the work of DR. WESTON PRICE, WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION, and things like ROOT CANALS. Amazing stuff!
- JOHNS HOPKINS: Johns Hopkins' Center For Innovative Medicine recently ran an article called Paleo Science. The authors talked about a study that's in the works looking at the effects of the Paleo Diet on GUT HEALTH, MICROBIOME, and IBS. Look for it because this is the point at which the rubber meets the road, and why I believe Paleo stands out above other ways of eating (HERE).
- OTHERS: Here's the thing folks, this list is not even close to being exhaustive ("THE WHOLE THIRTY" is essentially Paleo as well). There is a growing body of scientists and researchers who are showing beyond the shadow of a doubt that the paradigm --- the one that almost refuses to die as far as our medical community is concerned --- the same one that was put forth and zealously promoted in the 1970's & 1980's --- has not only proved itself horrendously unhealthy, it's been shown to be a cold-blooded killer (HERE is one example).
If you are one of the tens of millions of Americans struggling to cope with Chronic Conditions or CHRONIC PAIN, you owe it to yourself to at least take a look at the Paelo Diet or its numerous brethren, and see why they have the potential to be life-changing, not just in terms of weight, but in terms of health. I have yet to see a person clean up their diet, get rid of the processed junk, stop drinking SODA, cut out the grains, and consume plenty of quality protein, and not see benefit.
In fact, I can't tell you how many people I've seen who simply cut SUGAR and GRAIN out of their diets and responded with massive changes. And if they clean things up a bit more, those results are typically better yet (HERE). When I posed the question to a FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE specialist / medical neurologist (he's a GAPS guy), concerning whether there is anyone in the general public (not speaking about someone with some strange, rare, genetic disease) for whom the Paleo Diet might be dangerous, THIS post was the result of his answer.
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