VIDEO TESTIMONIAL FOR A PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME PATIENT FROM OKLAHOMA
Many of you reading this post have no idea what PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME is. That's great as long as you are not one of those sufferers who struggles with the problem, but, like most of my local patients, has never heard the word before (HERE is even more information on PS). However, if you have ever dealt with chronic SCIATICA (leg pain) and severe buttock pain, you have a pretty good idea why someone would search so intently for a solution to their misery.
Crystal was today's early morning appointment, making the scenic 6 hour trip from Clayton, Oklahoma yesterday. Her first visit for Piriformis Syndrome (7 months ago) went so well, that she decided to come back for seconds. The video will only take you a couple of minutes to watch. Rather than let me tell you about Crystal's incredible experience, listen to what she has to say about it herself. Thanks Crystal! Maybe I'll stop by and visit next time I ride the TALIMENA SKYWAY.
WHEN IT COMES TO US HELPING
No pain; no gain. Jane Fonda from her 1982 workout videos
Let me start by saying that I have never officially been part of a CrossFit program or gym. However, because I have a gym in the basement of my clinic, I am able to incorporate many of their training methods into my workouts. A few of the things my son and I do that could be considered "CrossFit-like" are KETTLEBELL SWINGS, all sorts of Burpees, several novel kinds of pushups and pullups, and pounding a tire with a sledge hammer as well as two five pound hammers (one for each hand). I am also getting ready to put up some rings.
I am sold on CrossFit's typically short duration, high intensity style of training, as well as the wide variety of atypical exercises. But, with any sort of physical training (running, powerlifting, swimming, gymnastics, MMA, etc, etc, etc), people can push things beyond what their body can withstand and repair ---- sometimes far beyond. It has taken me a lot of years to figure out that when it comes to getting in shape, sometimes less is more. I can remember Joe Wieder writing about over-training back in early 1980's issues of Muscle & Fitness. Although I did not "get it" then, I now understand just how easy is is to "over-train" and end up wearing your body down instead of building it up. Speaking of over-training; a few days ago someone sent me a link to a recent article called, CrossFit's Dirty Little Secret. The article, written by a Physical Therapist, was about the, "troubling trend among CrossFitters". And just what is this troubling trend? Have any of you heard of something called Rhabdomyolysis?
I'll get to exactly what Rhabdomyolysis is momentarily, but the thing to remember is that none of this is new information. For years, newspapers and magazines have been carrying headlines touting the dangers of CrossFit such as, "Getting Fit, Even if it Kills you" (2005, New York Times), Inside the Cult of CrossFit (2011 Men's Health), and "Lawsuit Alleges CrossFit Workout Damaging" (2008, Navy Times). There have even been a couple articles on the topic of Rhabdo by CrossFit's founder himself, Greg Glassman. I am not going to get into depth here (read the articles if you want), but if you are a novice who is trying to do advanced workouts; or if you are pushing your body to the realm of stupidity, you are headed for a breakdown --- probably sooner than later. It is only common sense to workout within your body's limits. I'm not in terrible shape now, and I used to be in really good shape. However, I would not even think of doing some of the workouts that I have seen others do. Again, know your limitations, and exercise your brain before exercising your body.
We live in a culture of excess. Americans take something like two thirds of the world's medications even though we are less than 5% of the world's population. We act like every meal is going to be our last (just look at OBESITY RATES here in America --- nearly 40% of the adult population). And when we do exercise, some of us really exercise. The hottest video workouts today are things like P-90X, Insanity, and other super high intensity routines, with every new video being touted as more intense than the one before it. Unfortunately, most of these could in no ways be considered to be "low duration". Low Duration Exercise. It is one of the things that drew me to the concept of CrossFit in the first place (many of their workouts last no more than 15 minutes).
The last several years have seen my workouts get progressively shorter. Why? Virtually all the peer-reviewed literature says that this is the best way to train (here are several articles on CARDIO TRAINING -vs- STRENGTH TRAINING). One of the first books I read on the subject (Bill Phillip's Body for Life), was talking about high intensity / low duration exercise a decade and a half ago. I even remember reading Arthur Jones talking about the famous "Colorado Experiment" with the recently deceased CASEY VIATOR back when I was in college, but blew it off assuming that his gains were all steroid-related. I guess the problem is that just like the disagreement we have over what "no pain, no gain," really means, we cannot seem to agree what either 'high intensity' or 'low duration' really mean either. But let's get back to the real reason you are reading this post ---- Rhabdo.
WHAT IS RHABDOMYOLYSIS
AND WHAT CAUSES IT?
Rhabdomyolysis can occur when overworked, abused, traumatized, or poisoned skeletal muscle rapidly undergoes lysis. The muscles cells rupture their contents as the tissue is broken down into its components. This releases muscle cells and their constituent parts into the bloodstream. Certain byproducts of this process such as the oxygen-carrying protein myoglobin, can damage the kidneys to the extent that dialysis is required for survival. But short of complete kidney failure, Rhabdo can cause permanent muscle damage as well a host of other nasty problems. So; how would you have any idea you might be dealing with Rhabdomyolysis? Just watch for the signs.
SIGNS YOU MIGHT HAVE RHABDO
- Dark Urine
- Decreased Urine Production
- Overall Weakness as well as Weakness in Specific Muscles
- Fatigue / Exhaustion
- Muscle Stiffness, Aching, Tenderness, or Pain
- Joint Pain / Joint Stiffness
- Generalized Weight Gain or Localized Bloating / Swelling
- GET TO AN EMERGENCY ROOM IF YOU SUSPECT YOU ARE DEALING WITH RHABDOMYOLYSIS: In case you have not figured it out, this stuff is serious. The diagnosis is made via a simple blood test (CPK). Don't gamble with this problem as it can be both permanent and deadly!
- DRINK LOTS OF WATER: One of the risk factors for Rhabdo is dehydration. Notice that I said to drink more "water". Sorry, SODA, juice, and Gatorade don't count.
- START SLOW AND KNOW YOUR LIMITS: Although many who develop workout-induced Rhabdo are untrained or under-trained, many are extremely fit individuals who simply pushed the envelope too far. As you get in better shape, push the envelope slowly --- a little bit at a time. A "Murph" (Named after Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan; the Murph consists of a one mile run, followed by 100 pull ups, 200 pushups, and 300 air squats, and then another mile run ---- all for time), is probably not the best place to start.
- REALIZE THERE IS NO DISHONOR IN BACKING OFF: If you think a certain workout might be over your head, modify it.
- LEARN MORE ABOUT STATIN DRUGS: I realize that this bullet point seems out of place, but you have to understand that the most common side-effect of Statin Drugs is "muscle pain / soreness". I recently asked two medical doctors what drugs they would never take. Top of the list for both? The ANTI-CHOLESTEROL drugs. To begin to understand why they would say this, pay attention to the words of world-renowned cholesterol expert, professor Flemming Dela from the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark (the study was reported in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology). "A well-known side effect of statin therapy is muscle pain. Up to 75 per cent of the physically active patients undergoing treatment for high cholesterol experience pain. This may keep people away from either taking their medicine or from taking exercise....... The effect of statins is marginal for these patients. In a previously published Cochrane analysis only 0.5% reduction in all-cause mortality was detected, indicating that for every 200 patients taking statins daily for five years, one death would be prevented." This research was done because 40% of the Dutch over the age of 65 are on Statin Drugs, with a whopping 75% of these complaining of muscle pain.
Should you stop taking Statin Drugs? Only you and your doctor can answer that question. However, once you learn that CONTROLLING YOUR BLOOD SUGAR is the best way to deal with all sorts of blood lipid issues, dropping the dangerous drug might just be an option for you (HERE is more information on the blood sugar / cholesterol link with Dr. Oz, and HERE are some diet tips). Should you do nothing but wimpy workouts? No way Jose! Even the intense CrossFit workouts can fantastic when done correctly. Never let your trainer or instructor push you into something you are not comfortable with. Use some good old fashioned common sense when you are pushing things to the max.
VIDEO TESTIMONIALS OF NECK PAIN
BEFORE TREATMENT / AFTER TREATMENT
I met Lonna for the first time yesterday, just before lunch (she was my last patient of the morning). She is a lot like hundreds upon hundreds of other patients I have seen throughout the years for CHRONIC NECK PAIN caused by old MVA'S. In her case, the accident occurred over two and a half decades ago. Even people who do not grasp the significance of specific sorts of injuries caused by car crashes (FASCIAL ADHESIONS for one) have no problem understanding Lonna's case. The crash caused three different fractures of her neck and left her incredibly restricted in her ability to move her head. In fact, Lonna is one of the only people I have met who not only survived a hangman's fracture, but was not paralyzed. Her car slammed into a metal highway divider and flipped five times.
After performing an orthopedic / neurological exam on Lonna, I had Tracy shoot a couple minutes of video while we went through her ranges of motion again. Lonna's cervical spine (neck) range of motion was terrible --- about half of what would be considered 'normal' (see video on left). The second video (the one on the right) was shot minutes after a 15 minute session of TISSUE REMODELING. Bear in mind that although I did adjust her, I purposefully did not do so until after Tracy shot the second video. The thing I want you to notice here is the incredible increase in range of motion in Lonna's neck that occurs almost instantly.
Oh; one more thing I want you to pay attention to while watching the first video. Take note of her response to my question concerning how long an adjustment would last her (her answer: "a day"). In other words, no matter how many times she gets adjusted, it's never enough (HERE). Even though it is one of the only things that helps her feel better, the results are ridiculously temporary. Although I have mentioned this phenomenon numerous times in my blog posts, I actually devoted an entire post to this topic while doing my series on Chronic Neck Pain (HERE). Hopefully these videos are of a good enough quality that you can see the difference before and after.
SLEEP APNEA AND OBESITY
MORE COMMON-SENSE MEDICINE
The first line of defense against obstructive sleep apnea should be weight loss, according to new guidelines from the American College of Physicians. Drug therapy has been tried, using a range of medications, but evidence was insufficient to conclude that any of them worked. Cherry picked from a recent issue of MedPage Today, as reported in the October 1 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine
Nearly five years ago, the most prestigious medical institution on the planet (Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland) published several studies on the cause(s) of Sleep Apnea, and listed three things that are heavily associated with this common problem.
- LIVER DISEASE: The number one form of Liver Disease is "Fatty Liver". The number one cause of Fatty Liver is not alcoholism, but obesity.
- OBESITY ITSELF: It only stands to reason.
- SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE: After reading the article called, "Sitting is the New Smoking," I completely understand.
Here is the deal folks. Lack of quality sleep is one of the great destroyers of health (HERE). Combine that with THESE amazing statistics on Sleep Disorders in America, and you'll begin to understand the magnitude of this problem. Sure; CPAP machines can be a great help to those who struggle with Sleep Apnea. But if you are truly interested in getting to the bottom of the situation and LOSING THE EXCESS WEIGHT, I have a whole section on the topic.
The verdict is in. You have to take charge of your health. You doctor cannot do it for you. One of our government's dirty little secrets is that Obama-Care is not the savior it was portrayed to be. Since most diseases are diseases of lifestyle, drugs and surgery are not the answer. Never were. Sooner or later you will figure this out if you desire to live a long and productive life.
CHRONIC NECK AND POST-SURGICAL
LOW BACK / PIRIFORMIS PAIN
"Doctors did not believe anything was wrong with me." Jennie Lietke, Payson, AZ
POST-SURGICAL ROTATOR CUFF PROBLEMS
Move forward 10 years. After fixing Stephanie's mom's arm about a decade ago, Stephanie came in to see if I could help her with her surgically repaired shoulder. I treated her once then, and once 2-3 years ago --- several years apart. She has no problems with the shoulder today. This is not the only post-surgical shoulder problem I have dealt with. If you feel the urge, you can watch videos from a dance instructor who had an old Rotator Cuff surgery, as well as a pastor who had a 40 year old post-surgical Rotator Cuff that we were able to fix in two visits (HERE and HERE). For more VIDEO TESTIMONIALS related to Tissue Remodeling, follow the link.
IT'S A GREAT TIME TO VISIT MOUNTAIN VIEW
"There's nothing quite like Indian Summer in the Ozarks." Dr. Russell Schierling, Mountain View, MO
Sincerely, Dr. Russ
CHRONIC NECK PAIN AND MOTORCYCLE HELMETS
"Did you know that the average human head weighs 8 pounds?" Ray from 1996's Jerry McGuire
If you look at our MVA PAGE, you'll notice that according to the peer-reviewed scientific literature, women are more likely to be injured in a whiplash-type accident --- much more likely. Women are also substantially more likely to suffer with Chronic Neck Pain long after their injury. Most of this has to do with the fact that women typically have much smaller necks than men, with much less muscle mass to support the head. With the average head weighing 8-12 pounds, and the average helmet coming in at around four pounds, this amount of weight can overcome even a healthy neck with a day of hard riding. Think about it for a moment; the heaviest bowling ball is 16 lbs. The head and helmet must be held by seven small vertebrae, some CONNECTIVE TISSUE, and several small muscles. In someone with a previously injured neck, riding can become impossible. So, what's a person to do if they want to ride?
- GET THE PROPER WINDSHIELD: A good windshield will not only keep much of the wind off the driver, but off the passenger as well. I ride a 2001 GL1800 (HERE). Between the proper windshield and the right kind(s) of wind wings, I can keep most of the wind off myself and my passenger if that is desired. BTW, I run a MADSTAD.
- WEAR A CARBON-FIBER HELMET: One of the newer helmet technologies is Carbon Fiber. Although these can cost substantially more than a standard plastic / fiberglass helmet, you can shave a pound or so with the Carbon Fiber.
- MAINTAIN GOOD POSTURE: As you might guess, POSTURE can be a deal-breaker as far as Chronic Neck Pain and motorcycles are concerned.
- STRENGTHEN AND STRETCH YOUR NECK: While this might work well for the general population, there is a significant chance that it is not going to work well for those of you coping with day-to-day neck pain. To understand why, go HERE.
- DEAL WITH THE UNDERLYING SCAR TISSUE: If you have previously injured your neck, there is a good possibility that all of the previous bullet points above will prove fruitless if you do not first deal with the underlying SCAR TISSUE. Most of the time this Scar Tissue occurs in the Fascia. The problems with injuries to the Fascia is that even though it is arguably the single most pain-sensitive tissue in the human body, it is too thin to be properly seen with advanced imaging techniques such as MRI. This can lead to the PERFECT STORM of Chronic Pain.
If you have questions about getting help for your Chronic Neck Pain, simply EMAIL ME a detailed history of your problem. Or call Cheryl at (417) 934-6337 to make an appointment. To see what makes us so radically different from the average clinic, read THIS POST, then take a few minutes and watch a couple of our VIDEO TESTIMONIALS (or HERE).
NECK EXERCISES, NECK STRETCHES,
AND CHRONIC NECK PAIN
Although you are told to suck it up, get tough, and stretch through the pain; it never seems to work. It is simple to understand why. I would liken the kind of stretching you have been doing, to trying to undo a loosely knotted rope by pulling on both ends: No matter how hard you pull, you only make the knot tighter! From Dr. Schierling's STRETCHING PAGE.
Although many of you will respond beautifully to Neck Stretching / Strengthening Protocols (whether these are "self-help" or prescribed by a physician / therapist), there are a significant number of you will actually get worse. Why? What gives? After all, A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO I spoke about the importance of restoring / maintaining proper motion in the neck if you want any hope of conquering neck pain. I wrote that, "There is an intimate relationship between loss of normal ranges of motion in your neck, and pain in the neck. If you have poor mobility of the neck, sooner or later it is probably going to give you grief in the form of neck pain. If left unchecked, this neck pain can easily become Chronic Neck Pain". If this is true, how could a stretching and exercise protocol for your neck possibly be a bad thing? After all, the very purpose of stretching the neck is to create more mobility in it. It comes down to understanding the way that the neck functions.
When you 'extend' your neck, there should be fairly uniform joint motion at each and every vertebrae / disc of the lower cervical spine (there will not be much at the top two as it is more involved with rotational movements such as being able to put your nose over your shoulder). If I simply measure a person's overall (sectional) extension without checking the motion of each individual joint via motion palpation (for severely injured patients, some doctors use Video Flouroscopy for this), I can easily be fooled. Allow me to show you an example of what I am talking about.
So; are stretching and strengthening exercises for the neck a good thing? Absolutely! But only after you have cleared the FASCIAL ADHESIONS and SUBLUXATIONS --- in that order. Once you have begun to deal with the individual abnormalities in cervical spine motion (SEGMENTAL MOTION), and gotten rid of the SCAR TISSUE and Fibrosis that is so often the culprit in the hindrance of overall motion (sectional motion), exercises and stretches are a wonderful part of rehabbing and restoring motion, function, PROPER CURVE, etc, to the neck. But put the cart ahead of the horse and and those good intentions could backfire.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHRONIC NECK PAIN
AND RESTRICTED CERVICAL MOTION
The sound created when two rough surfaces in the human body come into contact --- for example, in osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis when the cartilage around joints has eroded away and the joint-ends grind against one another. Wikipedia's definition of the word "Creep"
Although it almost goes without saying, there is an intimate relationship between loss of normal ranges of motion in your neck, and pain in the neck. If you have poor mobility of the neck, sooner or later it is probably going to give you grief in the form of neck pain (and in some cases, even if your ROM IS NORMAL). If left unchecked, this neck pain can easily become long-standing or CHRONIC NECK PAIN.
Much of this has to do with the role played by nerve endings called Mechanoreceptors / Proprioceptors and their relationship to Spinal Degeneration. Normal ranges of motion of the vertebrae in the neck fires off the maximum amount of PROPRIOCEPTIVE NERVE ENDINGS. These are nerve endings that sense stretch, pressure, and movement of bones, tissues, and joints, telling the various parts of the body where they are at in space and what they are doing in relationship to other parts of the body. Lose the ability to move, and you fail to fire off appropriate numbers of Mechanoreceptors. The result is SPINAL DEGENERATION.
Look at the pictures of Sara above. A 'normal' range of motion in the neck means that you should be able to approximate your ear to your shoulder, get your chin on or near your chest, rest a glass of water on your forehead, and put your nose over your shoulder (without moving your shoulder forward). If you cannot do all of these things without lots of pulling and / or discomfort, it is quite likely that you do not have adequate range of motion in your neck.
Another sign that things are going south as far as your neck's ranges of motion are concerned has to do with something called "Creep". CREEP --- often referred to as "Crepitus" (think of the word "Decrepit" here) is the grating or grinding sound of crushed gravel or crushed glass, and is another dead give away that bones, tissues, and joints are not moving properly in the neck. Although Crepitus is usually thought of as irreversible, this is rarely true.
The bottom line is that loss of mobility and range of motion in your neck is not a good thing. It leads to a host of problems including Chronic Pain. How do I deal with patients struggling with neck pain? I covered this in PHASE I of my post on solutions for Chronic Neck Pain. The very first thing I do is see if a person has FASCIAL ADHESIONS or SCAR TISSUE (Fibrosis) in the tissues of their neck. If this step is skipped in patients with Chronic Neck Pain, even helpful therapies such as CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS, NECK EXERCISES / STRETCHES, and many forms of THERAPY will often prove unhelpful --- or at least not helpful for very long. For instance.....
When people constantly feel like they need a Chiropractic Adjustment to their neck (or feel like they need to "pop" their neck), but the results of the adjustment (or 'self-popping') are short lived; you can bet your bottom dollar that Scar Tissue is present. And if Scar Tissue is present, you literally cannot be adjusted enough times (HERE) to change your symptoms for more than a few days (or in many cases, a few hours).
CHECK THE RANGE OF MOTION IN
YOUR OWN NECK RIGHT NOW
(Either way you slice it, it's a Pain in the Butt!)
"When a patient experiences painful persistent sciatica - pain radiating down the leg - physicians often look only for a herniated lumbar disk relying upon lumbar MRI scanning. Surgery for the disk herniation is often carried out to treat the sciatica. Most spine specialist consider piriformis syndrome to be extremely rare. However, the authors conclude that although it is rarely diagnosed, it is actually a common cause of sciatica - possibly as common as the well known herniated disc syndromes." From a press release by UCLA Cedars Sinai Medical Center for their study that was published in the February 2005 issue of Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.
Dear Dr. Schierling,
I am a thirty something year old female who works in a law office. After about ten years of progressively worse lower back / sciatic type pain and seeing numerous professionals (chiropractors, physical therapists, medical doctors, back specialists, etc.) no one could conclude what the problem is. I have had numerous x-rays and MRIs but nothing is visible; spine looks good, no disc problems, no injuries, nothing. The general consensus from everyone I have seen is that I am suffering from some sort of chronic muscle tightness, but no one could pinpoint where.
I have been told that physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, and / or muscle relaxants are pretty much my best and only option for the rest of my life. Basically just try to manage it. Having taken matters into my own hands, I began extensive research to try and figure out how someone can have textbook sciatica symptoms and yet have no visible skeletal explanation for it.
Recently I discovered this condition known as Piriformis Syndrome, I had never heard of it before. I then began extensively researching Piriformis Syndrome and believe that it is most definitely my problem as it describes my symptoms perfectly. I have been performing various stretches targeting the piriformis and hamstrings (I also have extremely tight hamstrings) at home on my own and have experienced some relief but not entirely rectifying the problem like I need. My hope is to come see you...........
I feel for you Annie. Change the names, the times, the places, the individual scenarios; and I see this same story playing out over and over and over again ---- all over the world. It always amazes me how many people have struggled for years ---- or even decades (HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE are some of the individuals from the "30 Year Club") and never heard the word "Piriformis" before being in my office.
Back when I first got into practice, I was frustrated by these types of problem. Before walking in with a new patient, I look at their chart. The first thing I want to see is the where-does-it-hurt "Pain Diagram". When I would see the 'X' in the buttock region, with a line going down to the foot indicating SCIATICA, I would mutter to myself, "Oh crap; not another one of these butt-based Sciaticas!" You see; this problem is common here in America to the point that I could legitimately call it an epidemic. Unfortunately, few practitioners are correctly diagnosing PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME --- and even fewer are dealing with it effectively (Sorry; pain pills, anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers and corticosteroid injections do not constitute "effective treatment" by any sense of the word (HERE).
If the problem is not really Piriformis Syndrome, it could very well be caused by FASCIAL ADHESIONS in the THORACOLUMBAR FASCIA. Or it could be caused by a HERNIATED DISC. The problem with diagnosing the pain as coming from a Herniated Disc is that the majority of American adults (50-80%) have Disc Herniations that show up on MRI, even though they have no low back pain or Sciatica. No; I certainly do not help every person who comes to me with Piriformis Syndrome. But I help a bunch of you. Feel free to EMAIL ME a detailed history of your situation. If I think I can help you, I will tell you so. IF NOT, I will tell you that also.
SCHIERLINGS AND PARKINSON'S DISEASE
For reasons that are not clearly understood (Parkinson's is widely thought to be an Autoimmune Disease), the cells of the part of the brain called the Substantia Nigra ('black substance') stop making the neurotransmitter dopamine and die. Although things like DEPRESSION and Dementia tend to show up later in the progression of Parkinson's, the most classic signs of the disease are
- A slow, stooped, and shuffling gait
- Hand tremors most commonly described as 'pill rolling'
- An overall rigidity and shakiness
Parkinson's Disease usually attacks those over 50. I am approaching 47. I tell you this because there are a slew of closely related Schierlings (my grandfather's 9 siblings or their progeny) that have been diagnosed with Parkinson's in the recent past, which is now believed to be an Autoimmune Disease (HERE). As you might imagine from looking at my name, the Schierling's (just like the Ronstadts) are of German descent. In fact, the biggest part of my direct family have German roots, ending up in Kansas back in the 1800's as ---- you guessed it ---- wheat farmers. This is interesting only because Caucasians of European descent tend to have the highest incidence of Gluten Sensitivity (blond or red hair, freckles, fair skin).
Why am I bringing up Gluten Sensitivity in a post about Parkinson's? Only because if you Google "Gluten Parkinson's" you'll get over half a million hits. Don't panic just because you have Parkinson's in your family tree. It is critical to understand that EPIGENETICS rule over genetics. Today, I am going to show you how to use this knowledge to your advantage. Like virtually all Chronic Illnesses, effectively dealing with Parkinson's is about finding the source of the Inflammation that drives VIRTUALLY ALL DISEASE PROCESSES ---- or better yet; stopping the INFLAMMATION before it starts. Do this and you can hopefully stop the freight train before it crests the summit, starts downhill, and potentially becomes a runaway. Who knows ---- you may even be able to reverse the train.
Earlier this year, I attended a seminar on the NEUROLOGICAL EFFECTS OF GLUTEN. The biggest thing I gleaned is that over 60% (some studies say it's more like 80%) of those who TEST SENSITIVE for Gluten, do not exhibit the overt Gastrointestinal Symptoms that are typically associated with GLUTEN SENSITIVITY by most of the medical community (bloating, gas, bowel problems, etc). Using large amounts of peer-reviewed research from the scientific-medical literature, the seminar's instructor (a brilliant FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGIST from Tampa, Florida), made a convincing case that Parkinson's Disease is advanced neurological Gluten Sensitivity. Although some of the research was hot off the press, some of it was at least three decades old. In other words, none of this is brand new information (I promise you that there are many individuals who have spent a significant chunk of their careers being vilified for insinuating A LINK BETWEEN GUT HEALTH AND PARKINSON'S).
The speaker lectured at length about something called Gluten Ataxia. One of the first things you must be aware of is that many (if not most) doctors will tell you that if you do not test positive for Celiac Disease, you cannot be Gluten Sensitive (HERE). However, the tide is starting to turn, and at least in many areas of the country, there is a 'Great Awakening' taking place thanks to the work of Dr. Datis Kharazzian, Dr Rodney Ford, Dr. Marios Hadjivassiliou, Dr. Tom O'Bryan, Dr. Aristo Vodjani, and a slew of others who are considered 'elite' in their fields.
Gluten Sensitivity occurs when the body starts creating antibodies (Immune System Responses) to Gluten / Gliaden --- wheat protein (HERE is a closer look at the process). For reasons that are not well-understood (but can be seen in study after peer-reviewed study), once the body starts making antibodies to Gluten, it frequently begins making antibodies against itself (HERE). When the body starts creating Immune System Responses and attacking itself, we call the process AUTOIMMUNITY (HERE is a list of many of the more well-known of thousands upon thousands of Autoimmune Diseases).
The Cerebellum (lower brain area) controls many things in the body, including coordination and movement. When the Immune System starts making antibodies to the Cerebellum, and ataxic symptoms are present, the result is something that has been labeled as Gluten Ataxia (can anyone say Grain Brain?). According to Dr. Hadjivassiliou, who published a paper in a 2010 issue of The Lancet --- one of the oldest and most prestigious medical journals on the planet ---- the neurological side of Gluten Sensitivity tends to look like this:
- GLUTEN ATAXIA: According to Wikipedia, the definition of ataxia is, "a neurological sign consisting of lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements. Ataxia is a non-specific clinical manifestation implying dysfunction of the parts of the nervous system that coordinate movement, such as the cerebellum." Bear in mind that this can affect things like speech as well causing something widely known as "Brain Fog".
- PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY: This is defined as nerve damage to the extremities that causes pain, numbness, tingling, and a wide array of paresthesias (odd or uncomfortable sensations). Do not confuse this with run-of-the-mill SCIATICA or RADICULOPATHY that I see in my clinic every day. If you want to start the process of tackling Peripheral Neuropathy on your own, HERE is a great place to start.
- MYOPATHY: This is defined as muscle damage. Damage the muscles and you'll have weakness and an inability to move or get your body and make it do what you want it to do.
- MYLEOPATHY: This is defined as damage to the Spinal Cord itself. Think about the seriousness of this for a moment. Once you have damage to the cord, all bets are off as far as which specific problems will occur as a result. With myleopathy, one's symptoms can end up a veritable 'free-for-all" ---- an unholy grab-bag of misfortune.
- PROGRESSIVE WHOLE-BODY STIFFNESS: Enough said. I don't have to tell you that for a number of different reasons, this is not a good thing. By the way, take a look around you and you'll see huge numbers of people with the symptoms from all five of these bullet points above ---- especially in the average nursing home or retirement community.
Google "Gluten Ataxia" and you get nearly 43,000 hits. Some of the research in this area is downright freaky. One of the studies I looked at said that over 60% of those with Gluten-related Ataxia had atrophied Cerebellums (some studies showed more than that). You can understand just how devastating this is if you begin to understand the BRAIN-LOOP. I simply do not have the time to do a complete series on the GRAIN / Parkinson's connection right now, but in this day and age of DSL internet connections, you can rapidly become more knowledgeable than your doctor (self included) on any number of subjects --- including the neurological effects of Gluten Sensitivity. If you value your health as well as the health of the next generation, please learn more about Gluten and the way it destroys lives neurologically --- and pass the information on.
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WHY NOT MORE
Earlier this week I had a patient ask me why, in that amount of time, I did not have more of these videos. This is a rather easy one to answer. Only about 1 in 5, or maybe 1 in 4 people who we ask to do a video for us, ever actually do one. And of those that do a video for us, some never make it to the big screen. Bear in mind, I do not edit these videos --- ever. What you see is what you get. I do not want to be accused of trying to make these videos look like something they aren't. Here are a few of the reasons why we don't have more videos up than we do.
- SWEARING: I'm not exactly what you would call a prude, but when my patients do a video for the public, if you are dropping F-Bombs, G.D's, or who-knows-what else, these are not going to make it to prime time. I have had some incredible stories from patients who simply can't remember not to swear for 90 seconds. Since we don't ever edit these videos, they are unusable.
- WE DO NOT HAVE TIME: There are times when doing a video is simple. However, much of the time, Cheryl is too busy to be able to take the 5 minutes it takes to do a video. This is either the number one or number two reason we don't have more than we currently do.
- SOME PEOPLE ARE EXTREME MINIMIZERS: Last year sometime, I had a gentleman come from out of state to see me for PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME that he had been dealing with all his life thanks to a brutal childhood illness. The thing he wanted to know was why so many of our patients didn't sound more excited about the awesome results they had in our clinic? The answer to this question can be found in the final bullet point on the list. We also run into those people who, like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, had his arms and legs all lopped off in a battle, but was still claiming that it was, "only a flesh wound". Believe it or not, I treat lots and lots of people whom no one knows but possibly their spouse or closest friends, just how severe their pain really is, and how adversely it has affected their life. Many of these are of the older generation who grew up when people simply toughed things out. While I do treat my fair share of people who have a tendency to exaggerate their pain, those who minimize their pain are just as common ---- probably more so.
- GETTING OFF TRACK: Everyone knows people who like to talk ---- I mean people who really like to talk. On occasion, I will get a person who cannot seem to do a video in under 10 minutes (we usually want them to last no more than two or three). Unless these are absolutely outstanding, I can't use them --- they are just too long and rambling. I have had people do videos for us that wind up so far from what their original intention was, that they cannot remember the point of the story.
- PEOPLE THINK THEIR STORY IS NOT AS GOOD AS OTHER PEOPLE'S: This is bogus. If we are asking you for a video, there is good reason. Just because someone's story is a bit more dramatic than yours, is not a reason to not do a video.
- THEY SOUND TOO MUCH LIKE A COMMERCIAL: We specifically tell people that these videos are not commercials. Unfortunately, we do get individuals who say things like, "That Dr. Schierling is just wonderful and I highly recommend that everyone comes and sees him." Depending on how "used car salesman-like" these sound, they are often unusable.
- WRONG CLOTHES / WRONG HAIR: I hear this one a lot. "I would be glad to do a video for you, but not dressed like this". Or, "I would love to do a video, but I have to get my makeup on and fix my hair up just so first". These people rarely do a video for us because this is typically an excuse for.....
- CAMERA SHYNESS / FEAR OF PUBLIC SPEAKING: Honestly, there is no dishonor in not wanting to get in front of the camera or talk in front of people. I read somewhere that this is the number three fear of Americans -- just behind their own death or the death of a spouse. I recently had a patient who had been to so many doctors and even been through a surgery for what had erroneously been diagnosed as a bladder problem (they are still paying on this bill, a decade after the fact). We ended up finding severe FASCIAL ADHESIONS in her side / flank from her armpit to her knee, and all points in between --- and solving her problem. Would love for her to share her story with others dealing with similar problems, but she just does not want to get in front of the camera. One of the ways we help combat camera shyness is by doing the video almost like a question and answer session. When Cheryl shoots a video, she may ask a person questions to prod them along and move them in the right direction. These questions are never meant to lead a person, only to help them find their way.
Here is the thing. People who are looking for a solution to their CHRONIC PAIN problem, could not give a rip if you did not spend an hour and a half on your hair or make up. They don't care if you seem a little bit nervous or shy. They aren't concerned about whether or not you sound like a British voice actor or more like Gomer Pyle. All that people in Chronic Pain care about is that there is someone out there who has the same problems they have ----- and found a solution. Our Testimonial Videos are not about you, and they aren't about me. They are about helping desperate people find a potential solution to their Chronic Pain Problem. To those who do videos for us, I sincerely thank you. I know that the people who find the answer to their chronic pain through these videos thank you also.
CHRONIC NECK PAIN IN PEOPLE WITH
NORMAL CERVICAL RANGES OF MOTION
The first time I really started noticing this phenomenon was about a decade ago, when I treated a wiry 15 or 16 year old boy suffering with Chronic Neck Pain and daily Headaches. It's a common story that plays out in Chiropractic Offices all over the country. I would adjust him, and no matter what, he would never hold for more than a few days --- or a week at the most. Then he was back, complaining about the exact same thing. I was fooled because the range of motion in his neck was absolutely normal --- maybe even a bit more than normal --- when I measured it. Because I had done some SCAR TISSUE REMODELING on his mom, she suggested that I try this on her son. Stupid me (picture me sharply smacking my forehead with the butt of my palm)!
After his very first treatment, the range of motion in his cervical spine (neck) increased dramatically ---- even though technically, it was already as good as it could get before I started. Live and learn. Not only did a couple of Tissue Remodeling Treatments decrease the number of this kid's headaches by about 95%, his cervical range of motion increased to the point that I started calling him "The Owl". Although I rarely see this phenomenon in the over-30 crowd, the younger the patient, the more likely I am to find this situation occurring. It sort of reinforces the old idea that there is really no such thing as 'normal' or 'standard' when it comes to the human body.
CHRONIC NECK PAIN
They said nothing was wrong with me. Regina Voyles talking about the doctors that x-rayed her after she flipped an ambulance on ice, knocked out the windshield with her head, and was complaining of neck pain and headaches. Not surprisingly, the insurance company told her the same thing.
Joint injuries (including neck injuries / whiplash) cause LOSS OF MECHANORECEPTION / PROPRIOCEPTION. Big words, but this simply means that your joints (in this case, vertebrae) lose their ability to sense where they are at in relationship to their environment and the joints around them. I truly wish that I would have videoed Regina before-hand because she actually had about one third of the range of motion in her c-spine (neck) that she thinks she had. In fact, when I was examining her, she had about 25 degrees of rotation bilaterally (normal is 90 degrees). Watch this video and pay attention to a simple truth. In the huge majority of cases, Chronic Neck Pain is directly related to loss of neck motion. What is the number one reason for huge losses of mobility such as Regina's case? Easy. It's FASCIAL ADHESIONS and SCAR TISSUE caused by the improper healing of soft tissues. Restore a person's range of motion; fix their pain. It's sort of like taking a GOLD BRICK, putting it in someone's lap, and saying here --- this is yours. You have your life back. Enjoy your life Regina!
By the way, this video was shot on Friday --- about half an hour after I met Regina for the first time.
CHRONIC NECK PAIN VIDEO TESTIMONIAL
AND THE RELATIONSHIP TO CHRONIC NECK PAIN
Your body is designed for good posture. What I mean by this is that your spine is specifically designed with a number of curves in it (see animation). No; these are not the side-to-side curves that are known as 'Scoliosis'. These are the curves that can be seen from front-to-back when looking at people in profile. Your neck and low back should have what are known as lordotic curves (lordosis), while your mid back and sacral areas should have an opposite curve --- a kyphotic curve (kyphosis). All too often and for a whole host of reasons, this is not the case. Note that in the animated skeleton to the left, the neck actually has a degree of FHP or "FORWARD HEAD POSTURE".
Despite the fact that medical radiology reports will usually mention loss of normal lordotic curve in the c-spine if it is present (more often than not, it is), your doctor will never mention this to you as a potential source of your neck pain (NECK PAIN, RADICULOPATHY, HEADACHES, etc). About the best you can hope for is to be given a few stretches to help loosen things up a bit. At worst (this is more typically the case), you'll be prescribed PAIN KILLERS, NSAIDS, MUSCLE RELAXERS, and CORTICOSTEROID INJECTIONS --- and when those don't work, ANTIDEPRESSANTS. My goal with this post is to help keep you off of drugs and out of the surgeon's office. In other words, I want you to leave my clinic with an EXIT STRATEGY in hand.
A FEW COMMON CAUSES OF POOR POSTURE
- BORN THAT WAY: Although this is used as an excuse far too often, there is some degree of truth to it. All you have to do is look at family pics to figure this out. However, whatever sort of spine / posture you were born with; there are things you can do to improve and maintain it. EPIGENETICS rule over genetics.
- PAIN: I hear it all the time; "If I sit up straight, I hurt worse. Slouching and slumping helps relieve some of the pain in my neck and between my shoulders". If this is in fact true, it merely means you have to deal with the underlying cause(s) of your pain. See next bullet point.
- OLD INJURIES: I cannot tell you how many people I see on a day-to-day basis whose pain started with some sort of injury. One of the most common is WHIPLASH (whether caused by a CAR WRECK, ABUSE, or something else). Another is SPORTS INJURIES. Muscle Guarding / Splinting and SCAR TISSUE (often referred to by the medical community as "FIBROSIS") are commonly found together after these sorts of injuries --- often years or even decades after the fact. Injuries also tend to lead to muscle imbalances, which work in tandem to create poor posture. The poor posture causes further muscle imbalances, which can lead to more Scar Tissue, Fibrosis, and Adhesion. Repeat. The end result is always degeneration of all affected tissues (HERE). If you want to see a real-life example of this phenomenon in action, HERE it is.
- BAD HABIT(S): When I was in school, if you slumped or slouched, a teacher was going to say something to you (I had a shop teacher who would actually throw a chalk eraser at you if you slumped in your chair). Now it seems like the worse you can slouch, the cooler you are --- sort of like wearing pants so low that half your boxers show. Thus, poor posture causes more of the same. Your body will eventually recalibrate its PROPRIOCEPTION / MECHANORECEPTION so that slouching seems normal. Trust me; good posture does not get easier as you get older.
- STRESS: How many people do you know who are under serious stress that are able to maintain great posture? Not many. Stress tends to fold you up into a ball (HERE). I realize it's far too easy for me to simply tell you to de-stress your life. But truthfully; figure out what it will take to have less stress in your life and do it.
- AGE: As we age, we tend to slump forward (HERE). Simple as that. Read the next bullet point to understand this phenomenon better.
- POOR NUTRITION / OSTEOPOROSIS: Despite what you have been told, there are some things that you can do to help your cause when it comes to OSTEOPOROSIS. As an osteoporotic spine is pulled forward, the fronts of the vertebrae start to 'compress' into a wedge shape. This pulls the body forward even more. Can you see a viscous cycle forming? Click on the link above to learn how to defeat Osteoporosis.
- POOR FOOT MECHANICS / POOR FOOTWEAR: Unfortunately, I learned about this one firsthand. If you constantly wear flip flops or crappy shoes; or if you have poor biomechanics of the feet, it can cause postural abnormalities that can literally affect your entire body ---- including your neck.
HOW TO COMBAT POOR POSTURE
HOW TO MAINTAIN GOOD POSTURE
- GET RID OF UNDERLYING SCAR TISSUE AND FASCIAL ADHESIONS: These were covered at length in my post called GETTING RID OF CHRONIC NECK PAIN: PHASE I. Be aware that this is not where this bullet ends --- not by a long shot, as now you'll have to RESTORE NORMAL NECK CURVES in order to restore normal posture. I covered restoration of normal cervical curve in PART II.
- GOOD NUTRITION / PROPER HYDRATION: It stands to reason that if poor posture can, at the very least, be related to poor nutrition, it might be beneficial to work on that area. I have written about this extensively. HERE is where you can start to learn about real nutrition. And seriously; if you are one of those people who struggles with Chronic Neck Pain and are drinking anything other than good old H20 --- shame on you! INFLAMMATION is at the root of nearly every problem imaginable, including neck pain. It is not a reach to come up with a couple dozen ways that increased levels of Inflammation could affect your posture (much of it revolving around the fact that OVERWEIGHT / OBESITY are both considered to be "inflammatory".
- EXERCISE / STRETCH / CORE STRENGTH: While it is not universally true, for the most part, if you are doing these three things, your posture will be better than those who are not ---- usually much better. HERE, HERE, and HERE are some links to get you started in this area. You will have to spend some time studying this one on your own.
- FOCUS: In order to create good posture, you are going to have to think about what you do, as well as pay attention to the way that you sit and stand. Whether sitting or standing, use a mirror (or better yet, have someone take a picture of you when you least expect it) to monitor your progress.
- PROPER ERGONOMICS: I once had a UPS driver who would not get better. He would do OK for a few days and then start hurting in his upper back again. I could not figure it out until he showed me his truck. As crazy as it sounds, the seat was off-set from the steering column by nearly a foot. They gave him a different truck; problem solved. A couple things I will mention here is using an Exercise Ball as a work chair, as well as using a 'Stand Up Desk'. After reading the article, "Sitting is the New Smoking," I am going to start standing much more.
WHAT CAUSES GOUT?
THE ANSWER MAY BE DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOUR DOCTOR TOLD YOU
The study, done by the Biochemistry Department of Otago University, for the New Zealand Rheumatology Association, showed that even if you have the "Gout-Protective" gene; Caucasians (white folk) who drank four SWEETENED BEVERAGES a day have a seven times greater (repeat; 7 times greater) chance of developing Gout than those who drank no sweetened beverages (yes; I do realize that this was a one sentence paragraph).
I personally know an individual who was put on Allopurinol to control severe recurrent Gout. After being left on the drug for the better part of a decade, he came down with partial kidney failure directly tied to the drug. Interestingly enough, this person was at one time, drinking 6-12 sodas a day ---- something that more of you than would care to admit, are likewise doing. If you are struggling with Gout, you'll definitely need to FIX YOUR DIET. But in the mean time, there are several studies that indicate COLD LASER THERAPY can be of help.
TRUE OR FALSE
SUGAR FEEDS CANCER?
Should you avoid sugar? Our expert says no. The website of renowned cancer hospital in Houston, Texas, MD Anderson
Fact: Sugar doesn't make cancer grow faster. All cells, including cancer cells, depend on blood sugar (glucose) for energy. But giving more sugar to cancer cells doesn't speed their growth. Likewise, depriving cancer cells of sugar doesn't slow their growth. Mayo Clinic's website
MYTH: Cancer loves sugar. Many people with cancer wonder if they should stop eating sugar because they have heard sugar feeds cancer growth. However, there is no conclusive evidence that proves eating sugar will make cancer grow and spread more quickly. All cells in the body, both healthy cells and cancer cells, depend on sugar (glucose) to grow and function. However, providing cancer cells with sugar won't speed up their growth, just as cutting out sugar completely won’t slow down their growth. From Cancer.net
Traditional therapies, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, work. The evidence is the millions of cancer survivors in the United States today who are alive because of these therapies.... Moderation is key. As part of a balanced diet, sugar, salt, milk, coffee, tea, meat, and chocolate --- the foods the “Update” calls into question --- are all safe choices. The Website of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine as they refute a hoax email telling people that sugar feeds cancer
Did you realize that each and every day of your life is a full-blown battle with cancer? This is true whether you realize it or not. We all have cells, which, for any number of reasons, go rogue and become cancerous (HERE). Fortunately we have an Immune System that is so complex and amazing that it nearly defies description (HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE). Not that people should never have their cancer treated by mainstream medicine (desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures), but when we have mainstream medicine giving us the kind of information / advice found in the quotes above, it produces potentially dangerous (or even deadly) results ---- especially for America's tens of millions of raging SUGAR / CARB ADDICTS.
Fortunately there are lots of mainstream researchers whose research is tempered by common sense. The August 2009 issue of the medical journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, featured one such study. Doctor Don Ayer, a professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences, and researcher for the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, had this to say on the topic. "It's been known since 1923 that tumor cells use a lot more glucose than normal cells. Our research helps show how this process takes place, and how it might be stopped to control tumor growth". Truthfully, thanks to the brilliant German scientist, DR OTTO WARBURG, I could show you hundreds of similar statements from mainstream medicine (as well as why the KETOGENIC DIET is the hottest thing going as far as cancer diets are concerned). So why is it that some of the biggest and 'best' cancer treatment centers in America continue to spout off about sugar not being a concern as far as cancer is concerned? You already know the answer to this one. It's all about that green stuff that rhymes with honey.
Do not under any circumstances buy into the notion that sugar does not somehow feed cancer! Just the other day, a study was published in the August issue of Cell showing us one more reason to avoid the sugar bowl and cookie jar. Cancerous fruit flies put on a HIGH SUGAR DIET showed INSULIN RESISTANCE, tumors growing much larger than normal, as well as cancerous metastasis to multiple sites throughout the body. Lead researcher, Dr. Ross Cagan of New York City's Icahn / Mt. Sinai School of Medicine said, "Our study shows that sugar activates oncogenes in the tumor, which then promote insulin sensitivity, meaning that the exorbitant glucose levels in the blood pour into the tumor, having nowhere else to go in the insulin-resistant body." He went on to say that, "The tumors just went crazy. When the flies were on a normal diet the tumors could barely be seen, but as soon as the sugar was introduced they were everywhere". I don't care who you are; that's freaky, and it's knowledge you could be / should be leveraging whether you have cancer or not.
JACKING WITH BLOOD SUGAR does a host of bad things in your body. In fact, sugar and junk carb consumption is being linked to virtually every disease process facing modern man. So why should we be surprised when it comes to Cancer? This is doubly true in light of Dr. Otto Warburg's research. Remember him? He's the MD / Ph.D who won 1931's Nobel Prize for Medicine. What did he do to earn this prestigious honor? He figured out that sugar is Cancer's food-of-choice (the body ferments sugar for energy). It's why the latest research is touting ketogenic diets as not only cancer-protective, but cancer-starving if you've already been diagnosed.
If you are interested in preventing cancer, or are actively battling cancer, I would strongly suggest that you avoid sugar like the plague. A simple word of advice: Do not take any doctor's word for anything (including mine). With today's information technology at your fingertips, you no longer have to buy into the BS that the biggest names in the "Cancer Industry" are selling. If you are willing to step out of that box just a little bit, you'll increase your chances of living a long and productive life. To see a generic protocol for helping address chronic illness and chronic pain, via diminishing SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION, take a look AT THIS POST.
SHOULD FOOD STAMP RECIPIENTS BE ALLOWED TO USE
TAX PAYER DOLLARS TO PURCHASE JUNK FOOD?
After looking at a study that showed how many billions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on junk food (candy, soda, ice cream, cookies, cake, chips, etc, etc,), he suggested that the SNAP program adopt similar guidelines to WIC (the Women, Infants, and Children program). As crazy as it sounds, the opposition is massive. I am not surprised.
This, like the proposed legislation making those on welfare eligible for random drug-tests, makes perfect sense. I mean after all; the program (SNAP) actually contains the word 'Nutrition' in its name. And let's be real. It's not like all of the foods that one can purchase on the WIC program are healthy. Many of these are HIGH GLYCEMIC INDEX sugar bombs. I, for one, do not wish to see anyone starve. However, if the government is going to provide food to people, let's see it limited to NUTRITIOUS FOODS. This not only benefits taxpayers, it benefits those whose eating habits are government-subsidized. Hopefully, they will end up with less CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASES than they otherwise would have.
SOLVING CHRONIC NECK PAIN
Your doctor may prescribe stronger pain medicine than what you can get over-the-counter. Muscle relaxants or tricyclic antidepressant medications used for pain also may be prescribed. Mayo Clinic's website
Face it; PRESCRIPTION PAIN MEDS are addictive to the point of being one of America's most-abused drugs. MUSCLE RELAXERS have their own unique set of problems and side-effects. And ANTI-DEPRESSANTS? This is a class of drugs that even most doctors admit is over-prescribed ---- way over-prescribed. In case you had not been following the latest research, the newest information coming out about the sexual side-effects of Anti-Depressants is downright freaky (HERE). So what's a person struggling with constant neck pain to do?
You have to tackle your neck pain in a stepwise fashion. Yesterday, I covered SOLVING CHRONIC NECK PAIN; PHASE I. Today I am going to cover the things that should be done once the FASCIAL ADHESIONS have been dealt with and the neck's Range of Motion has been restored to normal or close to normal. The astute will notice that certain elements of Phase II can be incorporated in to a self-help program for dealing with neck pain.
- CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS: No; I am not suggesting the dozens upon dozens of adjustments recommended as the solution by so many Chiropractors (HERE). However, during Phase II, periodic ADJUSTMENTS are beneficial as far as maintaining the NORMAL RANGE OF MOTION you achieved in Phase I. If you recall, loss of normal Range of Motion in the neck is one of the earliest steps in CHRONIC PAIN, as well as being a known cause of SPINAL DEGENERATION.
- COLD LASER: While I certainly do not use this cutting-edge modality on everyone, I am going to throw it in here. Take a moment to learn how the COLD LASER works, and you'll see why I am impressed with it and it's ability to potentially provide a huge boost to the healing process. In other words, this is not simply a non-pharmaceutical form of temporary relief. It actually helps people get better. And as technology moves forward and gets cheaper (something it is doing each and every day), you should be able to get a decent Class III Laser for home use somewhere.
- DEAL WITH INFLAMMATION: If there is one drum people may get tired of me beating, it's the INFLAMMATION DRUM. If you want long term solutions as opposed to the short term relief found with standbys like CORTICOSTEROIDS and NSAIDS, you'll have to do something different than what you've been doing.
- VARIOUS FORMS OF TRACTION: Depending on how much "DJD" you have, you might need to use an over-the-door traction unit. However, if restoration of the NECK'S PROPER CURVE is the goal (AND IT SHOULD BE), then a different form of traction (LIKE A DAKOTA DEVICE) probably needs to be used. Although this can be done at home, it really needs to be done under a physician's supervision.
- STRENGTHEN YOUR NECK: This is in addition to the STRETCHES you have already been doing (again; do not put the cart in front of the horse). The biggest reason that women are 15 times more likely to be injured by WHIPLASH is that they have so much less muscle mass than their male counterparts. Adding strength while maintaining flexibility is a win-win situation for helping solve long-term cases of Chronic Neck Pain. Again, this is last on the list, not first as you'll find in many protocols.
If you have questions about whether or not I could help you resolve your Chronic Neck Pain, simply CONTACT ME with a detailed history of your situation. If I can help provide you solutions, I will.
SOLVING CHRONIC NECK PAIN
Phase I of dealing with Chronic Neck Pain is geared towards restoring the neck's normal Range of Motion. Although I OCCASIONALLY SEE THE OPPOSITE, the average person suffering with long-term neck pain has poor movement in their neck. While most of these people have an overall poor range of motion in the cervical spine (neck), some only have a specific area or areas that have restriction (HERE). The problem is that even if your restriction is confined to a relatively small area, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Left untreated, the problem will spread as the body starts compensating for the abnormal motion. The end result is always the same --- SPINAL DEGENERATION. Bottom line; there are two things that must happen in Phase I if one hopes to find a long-term solution to their Chronic Neck Pain.
- GET RID OF FASCIAL ADHESIONS
- CORRECT THE SUBLUXATION(S)
FASCIAL ADHESIONS: I am not going to spend inordinate amounts of time talking about Fascia. If you want more information, you can go to one of the most COMPREHENSIVE POSTS on the internet. In a nutshell, Fascia is the tough, cellophane-like membrane that covers all of your muscles and permeates your body. Normal Fascia should be flexible. Flexibility is due to the fact that the individual cells / fibers line up in a parallel fashion ---- sort of like well-combed hair.
Due to traumatic injury, WHIPLASH, SPORTS INJURIES, Work Injuries, or Repetitive Injuries (OR OTHERS), these Fascial Membranes can become adhesed and even THICKENED (when adhesions are present, they act much more like UNCOMBED OR TANGLED HAIR). The restriction caused by these Fascial Adhesions pulls on your neck relentlessly ---- 24 / 7 / 365. And here is the final boot in the rear end. Not only is this tissue too thin to image well on MRI (HERE), it is arguably the single most pain-sensitive tissue in the body. As you might imagine, this sets up the proper conditions for the PERFECT STORM OF PAIN AND FRUSTRATION.
If a person is dealing with CHRONIC HEADACHES, CHRONIC NECK PAIN, or CERVICAL RADICULOPATHY, one of the first things I do is to check for FASCIAL ADHESIONS. If present, I break them using TISSUE REMODELING PROTOCOLS. Once the Scar Tissue has been dealt with properly, I can move on to the next step of Phase I.
CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS: One of the reasons that my profession gets a bum rap has to do with the number of visits it often takes Chiropractors to help people. Having been in the profession for over a quarter century, I completely understand people's frustration with being told that solving their problem will require being adjusted multiple times a week ---- for months on end (HERE). This is because for far too many problems, the vast majority of Chiropractors are going directly to Phase II (I'll show you in a moment) without first addressing any FASCIAL ADHESIONS that may be present. Don't get me wrong, CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS are of vital importance against the war on Chronic Neck Pain ---- but only if there are no Fascial Adhesions present. Read this last sentence until it sinks in.
While this two-pronged approach to the first phase of solving Chronic Neck Pain is certainly not a fool-proof panacea, it frequently gets results that are both amazing and rapid. HERE and HERE are Video Testimonials of a few of the patients I have seen for Chronic Neck Pain. Like I always say, talk is cheap ----- "THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING". Come back tomorrow as I bring you PHASE II of solving Chronic Neck Pain.
SCAR TISSUE REMODELING
CHRONIC SHOULDER PAIN IN A SURGICALLY REPAIRED
ROTATOR CUFF AND A CASE OF PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME
Although I treated several patients with similar problems yesterday, it is rare that I get to treat a patient like Barbara. Most of the time when I see someone with PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME, they have had it for years, if not decades (two of yesterday's cases were over ten years ---- both instant results ---- videos are forthcoming). In Barbara's case, she had been getting progressively worse for a month. Her pain was severely affecting her sleep and her ability to work (she was standing up for a sit-down job). VIDEO TESTIMONIALS are my one-man crusade against the myth of EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE.
POST-SURGICAL ROTATOR CUFF
PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME / SCIATICA
DYSBIOSIS AND OBESITY
FEEDING THE BEAST
The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease. Thomas Edison
Just one short week ago, I reported in a post called EAT DIRT, about a recent Danish study linking the type and number of bacteria in one's gut to things like CHRONIC INFLAMMATION, INSULIN SENSITIVITY, DIABETES, OBESITY, as well as poor lipid profiles (HIGH CHOLESTEROL / high triglycerides, etc). In this study, Dr. Gordon's team of researchers found identical twin females (human), where one twin was lean and the other was obese. They then bred rats with no gut bacteria whatsoever (can anyone say GMO?).
Next, they transplanted fecal material from the various humans into different rats. Amazingly enough, despite identical diets, the type of fecal material that was transplanted to the mice made them either fat or thin --- depending on the weight of the host. Furthermore, Dr. Gordon's team found that when fed a 'healthy' diet, the lean rats could confer the leaning effects of their bacteria to their fellow rats (yeah; rats are "coprophagists" --- they eat each other's feces). However, when they were fed cruddy diets, the ability to transfer weight reducing properties was negated.
Dr. Gordon went on to conclude that, "In the future, the nutritional value and the effects of food will involve significant consideration of our microbiota, and developing healthy, nutritious foods will be done from the inside-out, not just the outside-in." Wow! This quote sounds suspiciously similar to things that were said by some rather intelligent people of generations gone by (see quotes below). The truth is, despite Big-Pharma's stranglehold on the practice of modern medicine, a new generation is discovering (or re-discovering as the case may be) ancient truths regarding dietary habits and health. For more articles on this topic, visit our GUT HEALTH PAGE.
DISCIPLINED BEHAVIOR, GOAL SETTING, AND YOUR BRAIN
THE RETICULAR ACTIVATING SYSTEM
As a man thinketh in his heart; so is he. King Solomon from Proverbs
Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. King David from Psalms
The Reticular Activation System helps in fulfilling the goals and also directs the concentration towards the goal. This acts as a filter and removes all the unnecessary things from brain.... The Law of Attraction would probably not work without the RAS. From The Reticular Activating System --- All About the Reticular Activating System
What we need to do is to create a very specific picture of our goal in our conscious mind. The RAS will then pass this on to our subconscious - which will then help us achieve the goal. It does this by bringing to our attention all the relevant information which otherwise might have remained as 'background noise'. Stuart Warner, small business coach
- Your thoughts matter.
- Your thoughts help shape your reality.
There is a part of the brain called the Reticular Activating System (aka the Extrathalmic Control Modulatory System or the Bulboreticular Facilitory Area). It is a small, finger-shaped part of our brains that is responsible for a wide range of critical functions that happen in our bodies. Found between the upper brain (the cortex) and the lower brain (the cerebellum), the Reticular Activating System has connections to the Thalamus, the Hypothalamus, and the Mesencephalon (mid brain) and acts as a bridge between various parts of the brain, as well as being the "ignition system" that readies the brain for increased levels of consciousness / function.
Some of the known functions of the Reticular Activating System include breathing, sleeping, waking, eating, the beating of the heart, and sex. It also plays a critical role in dreaming as well as shifting one's consciousness from sleep, to relaxed wakefulness, to full attention. The RAS is also the part of our brain that guides us to fulfill our thoughts, dreams, and desires. Your Reticular Activating System literally has the ability to filter your day-to-day experiences and put them into at least two different categories ---- positive (good experiences) or negative (bad experiences), and drive you towards whichever one(s) you think about the most.
The RAS is the part of our brain that helps drive us towards our goals ---- towards those things we think about the most.
Because your Reticular Activating System cannot tell the difference between reality and make believe, you have the ability to program it either by repetition or exposure. Just understand that you can program it either for success or for failure --- for good or for bad. There is an old saying from the earliest days of computer programing --- garbage in, garbage out (GIGO). This simply means that a computer is going to do, not necessarily what you want it to do, but whatever you program it to do. If a computer is programmed incorrectly, you will never get the right answer, no matter how hard you try. Think of our brains in the same manner. If a person spends his day thinking bad or negative thoughts, watching moronic television programs, staring at porn, playing endless hours of video games, or engaging in numerous other forms of negative programming, it will eventually rot one's brain (the term 'rot' is used figuratively here ---- at least at first). However, the opposite is true as well.
If you program your mind with good things, goals you wish to achieve, character traits you wish to emulate, and then think about these things on a regular basis, your Reticular Activating System is designed to push you towards them. James 1:8 says that, "a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." Think about this for a moment. Does it not make sense that you have to get your entire being on the same page as far as short term goals and long term vision are concerned? If you are spending your day telling yourself that you cannot be successful in whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish, you will likely achieve (or not achieve, as the case may be) whatever you happen to be programming into your subconscious --- whether you like it or not.
It is critical to remember that unlike the teachings of some of the success gurus mentioned previously, your goals do not need to be physical or momentary for this principle to work in your life. In fact, unlike many of today's name-it-claim-it prosperity preachers, we rarely see righteous men in the Bible wishing for more 'stuff'. But the Bible does extensively deal with the Law of Attraction.
One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Romans 12:2 --- And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. This is a verse tells us that by reprogramming (renewing) our minds, we can find God's perfect will for our lives. Although many would deny it, God's will is always better than anything we could program for ourselves. Let me give you a great example of someone using their RAS and self-discipline to achieve specific goals that they he set for himself --- many of them spiritual in nature.
1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.
5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.
17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking.
46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eve: and to be especially careful of it, with respect to any of our family.
52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age.
58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity.
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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