"Low-grade chronic inflammation is now known to be a driver of most chronic degenerative diseases"
- Disc Injuries, Slipped Disc, Disc Herniation, and Disc Rupture (HERE)
- Heart Disease and virtually all forms of Cardiovascular Problems (HERE)
- Skin conditions including Eczema and Psoriasis (HERE)
- Most Autoimmune Conditions (HERE)
- Arthritis & Fibromyalgia (HERE & HERE)
- Asthma (HERE)
- ADD, ADHD, Depression, and various forms of Dementia (HERE & HERE)
- Neurological Conditions (HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE)
- Female Issues (HERE & HERE)
- Cancer (HERE)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease / Leaky Gut Syndrome (HERE & HERE)
- Diabetes, Insulin Resistance, Hypoglycemia, and other Blood Sugar Regulation Problems (HERE)
- Obesity (HERE)
Interestingly enough, I have seen statistics saying that although we spend more on healthcare dollars than any country in the world both per capita and grossly (we have 3% of the population and take almost 2/3 of the world's pharmaceuticals), we rank at or near the bottom of the world as far as CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DEGENERATIVE DISEASES are concerned. Just look at the lists in the link. It's easy to see why Inflammation is such a huge deal. But let's cut to the chase. What does Dr. Seaman say about which foods to eat and which foods to avoid? Although this article did not come right out and say it, I can tell you what he recommends for his patients (he says it over and over at his seminars). It is an extremely easy-to-remember rule of thumb. "Eat vegetation or animals that ate vegetation". And don't forget ---- grains (corn -- everyone's favorite 'vegetable' -- included) are not considered to be "vegetation". What Dr. Seaman's is essentially recommending here is a PALEO DIET. This becomes more clear when you look at his lists below.
CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW CHRONIC INFLAMMATION CAUSES
FIBROSIS (MICROSCOPIC SCAR TISSUE) AND CHRONIC PAIN
DR. DAVID SEAMAN'S LIST OF.......
CHERRY-PICKED QUOTES FROM DR. SEAMAN'S INFLAMMATION AND DIET ARTICLE
"Recently, it has been shown that patients are more likely to suffer with musculoskeletal pains and tendinopathy if they also have metabolic syndrome ---- which, is, in part, treated by adopting anti-inflammatory dietary changes"
We know from the scientific literature that the vast majority of Tendinopathies are TENDINOSIS. Although Tendinosis is certainly not considered an inflammatory condition in and of itself, systemic inflammation can contribute to its development.
"Low grade chronic inflammation is now known to be a driver of most chronic degenerative diseases. It is important to understand that low-grade chronic inflammation is not associated with an obvious infection or injury (i.e. acute inflammation) and does not predictably resolve [on its own]."
Just look at the list from earlier in the article. Shocking. And Inflammation is said to be a causal factor in all of them.
"[Inflammation] can generate pain in somatic tissues such as joint, muscle, disc, ligament, tendon, fascia, or epineurium [the fascia-analogous membrane that surrounds nerves]"
I have specific pages on MUSCLES, TENDONS, LIGAMENTS, FASCIA, and DISCS. I have written extensively about the fact that these tissues generate pain in the Deep Soma (HERE).
"Germane to the topic of this paper, it appears that nutrition is likely a key determining factor that generates the tissue 'flavor' of inflammation and, thus, pain expression."
This is a no-brainer you learned in grade school. You are what you eat. However, it is critical that you not miss what Dr. Seaman implies here. Although many people love blaming all their problems on poor genetics, Inflammation is one of the factors that makes up the field we know as EPIGENETICS.
"'Dietary Injury' [is] a term that may be helpful to appreciate how diet can cause chronic inflammation and pain. Dietary injury should be viewed as a cumulative and chronic event, such that monotherapies with nutritional supplements or medications are unable to counteract the 'hits' delivered by a pro-inflammatory diet.... But in making unhealthy lifestyle choices, an individual's body is transformed into a 'state' of chronic inflammation. The patient may not feel this transformation until an obvious clinical sign or symptom is present."
I have said it repeatedly. Supplements are just that --- supplementary. There is no way to correct a crappy diet simply by taking more supplements. The same can be said of medications. Deal with inflammation at the source because trying to cover the vast array of Inflammation-induced symptoms is a losing battle --- a battle that will eventually take your life, and leave you miserable in the process. More on MONOTHERAPIES.
"Diet is most important because the chemistry of the diet is reflected in the chemistry of the cells."
No explanation needed. Again, you are what you eat.
"The reduction in Omega-3 fatty acid intake adds to the inflammatory / painful state because Omega-3s convert to mediators that resolve inflammation and reduce pain. these mediators are derived from EPA and DHA."
This is a good place to mention the importance of EPA and DHA. They are the active ingredients of Omega Three Fatty Acids, and while abundant in High Quality Fish Oils, are found in only limited amounts in Flax Seed Oil. Your body is not efficient at converting Flax to EPA and DHA. This is why Flax Oil is not a substitute for PHARMACEUTICAL GRADE FISH OIL. By the way, PGFO is our number one selling supplement and has been for years. Why do people take it? Believe it or not, not because it is good for their health. They take it because they feel better --- less pain.
"The overconsumption of Omega-6 fatty acids leads to a change in cell membrane anatomy..... chronic joint pain is the diet-derived outcome"
Trans Fats create what the renowned Dr. Janet Lang calls "Stupid Cell Membranes". When Trans Fats are incorporated into cell membranes, the membranes not only get terribly inflexible, they let things into the cell they should not, and keep things out that should be let in. This is a component of numerous illnesses ---- including DIABETES.
"And while red meat is often impugned, studies have demonstrated that the consumption of lean red meat does not lean to post-parandial [post-meal] inflammation [like carbs do], and the substitution of lean red meat for carbohydrates had a blood pressure lowering effect in hypertensive men. While often touted as a healthy anti-inflammatory food, whole grains may contribute to low-grade chronic inflammation. It is known that lectins from all grains, and gluten from wheat, rye, and barley, can disrupt the Gut Barrier integrity and allow the absorption of dietary and bacterial antigens... Gliadin from gluten is known to stimulate enterocyte production of zonulin, which disrupts intestinal tight junctions and can lead to systemic inflammation."
This is nothing less than a clinical description of LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, which the medical community refers to as 'Increased Intestinal Permeability". Although up until about 15 years ago, the medical community denied the existence of Leaky Gut Syndrome, there are now nearly 10,000 peer-reviewed medical studies on the subject. GUT HEALTH is the foundational principal for healing all sickness and disease.
I salute you Dr. Seaman for working so hard to take this message to a wider audience for the benefit of humanity! I would also like to applaud Dr. Forest Tennant, editor in chief of PPM for having the gumption (albeit with a disclaimer of sorts) to run an article by a chiropractor in a medical journal. Hopefully your readers (MD's running pain clinics) will take this message to heart.
POSSIBLY THE SINGLE BEST EXERCISE ON THE PLANET
FOR LOSING WEIGHT AND GETTING IN SHAPE!
Ferriss rehashed the old Colorado State University study with professional bodybuilder Casey Viator being trained by the developer of Nautalis Equipment, Arthur Jones. Viator was said to have gained almost 70 lbs of muscle in one month's time by using Jones concept of one maximal set per exercise done to failure. Sorry; I'm not buying that he did this without some serious pharmaceutical help. What I am buying, however, is that Kettlebell Swings are the most amazing full-body resistance exercise I have ever been exposed to. For me, they the place of deadlifts, squats, lunges, and who knows what else. And I can do a couple heavy sets per week without stirring up the old PIRIFORMIS ISSUE (I use a 120 pound T-BAR).
One of the stories in Ferriss' book was that of a woman who had lost 100 lbs in 100 days by simply going LOW CARB and doing Kettlebell Swings two times a week for 15-20 minutes (to understand why Low Carb eating burns fat like a coal-fired furnace, CLICK THIS). Although I hear people talking about creating diets / workout programs that lead to a slow, steady, weight loss, you can do better than that if you desire --- much better.
Believe it or not, our government (Medicare) will pay for you to lose weight as long as you are losing 1.1 lbs per month. Yep; you heard me correctly. A measly, gravy-sucking quarter pound per week. Depending on how overweight you are and your physical condition, this might be as good as you can do. The truth is, however; most people can do better ---- MUCH BETTER. It's the holiday season. Why not take the HOLIDAY CHALLENGE and get in shape before you gain that extra weight that comes from eating too many cookies and washing them down with too much eggnog. To learn more about the relationship between Kettle Bell Swings, WEIGHT LOSS, getting in shape, and the like, see my pages on the subject (HERE & HERE). On the last link, I even show you how to make your own Kettlebells for next to nothing. Don't settle for one pound a month when you can do so much better.
As always, ask your MD before starting any diet or exercise program.
THE HIGH COST OF FOOD SENSITIVITIES
TESTIMONIAL VIA EMAIL
Since I visited you in October and had the Fascia Remodeling, I have had only one headache! I was having them everyday before seeing you! Thank you so much for helping me!
SHOULDER DISLOCATION -vs- SHOULDER SEPARATION
Just below that is the "ball and socket" part of the shoulder joint. The head of the arm bone (the humerus) is held into the socket of the Scapula (the shoulder blade) by a group of ligaments known as the Capsular Ligament.
When the shoulder gets hit in a certain way, sustains too much stress (weightlifting, shoveling gravel, a fall), you can damage (sprain or stretch out) the Acromioclavicular Ligament. The picture below (black background) shows the different levels of severity of Separated Shoulders. Because the Acromioclavicular ligament itself is damaged, the end of the collar bone is allowed to tip upwards. Usually this is fairly slight. But as you can see from the images below, they can get progressively severe to the point they can require surgery --- depending on the degree of stretching / tearing of the Acromioclavicular Ligament.
Bear in mind that the tell-tale sign of a freshly Separated Shoulder is a painful 'bump' at the point (top) of the shoulder. An old dislocation will not typically hurt, although the bump remains. Once you have separated the shoulder, it never really goes back. You will always have the bump. Also bear in mind that this is a slow-healing injury. I separated my left shoulder about 16 years ago shoveling pickup load after pickup load of dirt for my garden. I have no real problem with it today as long as I do not get ignorant in the gym and try to bench press like I did back in the day. Unfortunately, TISSUE REMODELING does not really work on this particular injury.
The Shoulder Dislocation is a more serious injury --- something you need to seek medical attention for. It is important to deal with this injury quickly. The longer a shoulder stays dislocated, the greater chance there is for complications. Also, having repeated shoulder dislocations (think of Mel Gibson's character in Lethal Weapon) leads to permanent instability, arthritis, chronic dysfunction, and chronic pain. Besides pain, swelling, and spasm, the classic sign of a Shoulder Dislocation is a hollow area at the front top of the shoulder --- the cavity left after the shoulder comes out of its socket and drops downward. Although we help lots and lots of Shoulder Problems with our Tissue Remodeling (HERE), like the Separated Shoulder, this is not one of them. Again, the Cold Laser Therapy, proper Nutritional Supplements such as LIGAPLEX, can make a huge difference in the length of time a Rehab Protocol will take (as well as its overall effectiveness).
People always seem to think of nerves as small and wiry. I am here to tell you that the Sciatic Nerve is different. It is a beast! The Sciatic Nerve is both the biggest and longest nerve in your body ---- as big around as your biggest finger (see picture below). All of the nerves that exit from your low back grow together to make one nerve --- the Sciatic Nerve. Almost immediately after, the Sciatic Nerve comes through the little "hole" just below the Piriformis Muscle (see picture top left). If there is a problem with the Piriformis Muscle, irritation to the Sciatic Nerve can occur at this point. And just how common does Sciatic irritation by the Piriformis occur? It is so common that UCLA's Mount Sinai Medical School called Piriformis Syndrome the number one cause of Sciatica in a 2005 study (HERE). Did you catch that? Peer-reviewed research has called Piriformis Syndrome is the number one reason that people have sciatica. Having over two decades in clinical practice tells me that they are probably correct.
People who author articles with headlines like, "Is it Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome?" don't get it. Piriformis Syndrome, while not synonymous with Sciatica, is its number one cause. This often times leads to the mistake I see almost everyone who has Piriformis Syndrome having gone through. Their Sciatica, butt pain, and leg pain, is usually called "Disc-Related". In other words, someone saw something on an MRI of the lumbar spine (low back) that they have attempted to relate to the patient's Sciatica. While it's true that DISC HERNIATIONS are also a major cause of sciatica, they are certainly not the only cause ---- or as UCLA determined, the most common cause.
Fortunately, Dr. Schierling deals with large numbers of people suffering from Piriformis Syndrome. He understands what you are going through. It will help if you understand ASYMPTOMATIC DISC HERNIATIONS as well For more information on the subject, HERE is a list of all his blog posts on Piriformis Syndrome.
ANTIBIOTICS: THE DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD
"We must remind ourselves that antibiotics are a shared resource, and every individual should consider how each prescription or use of antibiotics impacts the overall effectiveness of the antibiotic arsenal. How we use and protect these precious drugs must fundamentally change." Arjun Srinivasan, MD, associate director for healthcare-associated infection prevention programs for the CDC speaking to a group of reporters earlier this week as part of the Get Smart About Antibiotics Week.
Not surprisingly, the South (Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana) had the highest rates of antibiotic use, while the lowest were seen in states that we often associate with health-conscious people (Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Washington). They stated that in America, there are just over 800 out-patient prescriptions for antibiotics written per 1,000 people (children and the elderly have a rate that is essentially 1,000 for 1,000). The gist of the statement was to warn the population that antibiotic resistance is growing at a faster rate than new antibiotics are being developed.
I think that everyone would have to admit that Antibiotics were one of the true "miracle" breakthroughs of 20th century medicine. However, their overuse and abuse has led to untold health problems here in America. I would guess that the bigger portion of that is due to the fact that although far too many doctors write prescriptions for antibiotics like there is no tomorrow, few are doing anything substantial to educate themselves or their patients about the risks and long-term problems associated with antibiotic use. I would go out on a limb (a place I seem to spend a great deal of time) and say that antibiotics are not only one of our greatest miracles, they are also one of the greatest destroyers of health and greatest causes of chronic health conditions. This is because, among other things, antibiotics kill the good bacteria that make up 80% of your Immune System (HERE).
To read Part II of this post, which goes into much more detail concerning the problems associated with antibiotic usage, go HERE.
SOCCER HAS THE POTENTIAL TO CAUSE BRAIN DAMAGE
This was reported by yesterdays issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The study was unique because cutting edge technology was used to make these determinations. And interestingly enough, none of the damage showed up on traditional brain scans. According to Dr Inga Koerte and colleagues of Harvard Medical Schools Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, elite soccer players who routinely perform "Headers" (directing the soccer ball with their head) had several significant findings on brain scans that were indicative of changes in their white matter. What does the white matter do? Here is what an online encyclopedia says, "White matter, long thought to be passive tissue, actively affects how the brain learns and dysfunctions. Whilst grey matter is primarily associated with processing and cognition, white matter modulates the distribution of action potentials, acting as a relay and coordinating communication between different brain regions".
Although they did not go as far as saying that heading the soccer ball was causal to the various problems they listed (I did not list these problems on my blog because no one would have understood most of it), they did say that it was a distinct possibility (probability). This is why when I coach soccer (I have been coaching soccer for over a decade), we never practice heading the ball. After this, I will probably completely disallow it in children under high school age. This is because not only does the repetitive trauma lead to neurological damage, it leads to AUTOIMMUNITY as well. HERE is a post on Autoimmune Diseases related to TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).
CHILDREN SHOULD BE ACTIVE
DEFEATING ADD / ADHD NATURALLY
"There's a fine line between genius and insanity." Oscar Levant
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ADHD AND GENIUS
BEHAVIORS ASSOCIATED WITH ADHD
BEHAVIORS ASSOCIATED WITH 'GIFTEDNESS'
But think about it for a moment. If greedy people can convince the American public that these characteristics listed above are symptoms of a "Disease", everyone in the medical community benefits. The University Research Facilities (built and funded by big government and big pharma) get more of your tax dollars to tell the world how wonderful and effective their drugs are, and doctors get over-simplified solutions to complex problems ---- i.e. drugs. Hey; why try to solve underlying problems when you have a prescription pad and pen in your pocket? And who makes out like the biggest bandit in this happy shindig? Everyone knows the answer to this one --- the pharmaceutical companies. But it all comes back to convincing people that they or their children have a disease --- a disease that can only be addressed with drugs.
The drugs used to treat ADD / ADHD are in such great demand right now that an ongoing shortage of the medications used by the medical community for the pharmaceutical treatment of these problems has left many patients scrambling to fill their prescriptions. These shortages are the result of an ongoing battle between drug manufacturers who value profit above all else, and the DEA (not the FDA; the DEA), which wants to slow down the Meth problem. What did you just say? Yes, you heard me correctly. Believe it or not, Ritalin and other ADHD drugs are a form of METHAMPHETAMINE.
Ritalin (Methylphenidate ---- look at the first four letters of the drug's name), Adderall, and other similar drugs are prescribed by physicians to combat ADHD. Manufacturers claim that when used correctly, these medications are not addictive. If you believe that one, I have this bridge over in Brooklyn I'd just love to sell you. The truth is that almost half of the teenagers in drug treatment centers across the United States report having abused Ritalin / Adderall. And there is no argument that when Ritalin is abused, it is addictive --- very addictive.
According to the latest CDC statistics (2007 -- yeah; I realize they are over five years old), North Carolina is the state with the highest incidence (nearly 16%), while Nevada is the lowest at between 5-6%. Missouri comes in at almost 11%. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 million children (ages 4-17) are on drugs for the disorder, with almost half of that group on Ritilin or Meth-like meds. Not surprisingly, boys are diagnosed almost 3 times more often than girls. Depending upon whose stats you choose to believe, the rate of ADHD is increasing at a rate of about 5% per year. Things, however, may be much worse than our outdated government stats are saying.
A recent study by Dr. Craig Garfield of Northwestern University in Chicago was published in the medical journal, Academic Pediatrics. It showed that nearly 10.5 million American kids (4-17) were diagnosed with ADHD in 2010. That adds up to an almost incomprehensible increase of 66% in ADHD since Y2K. But even more shocking is that the authors claim that the actual numbers are much higher.
Ritalin / Adderall are stimulants that affect the central nervous system. Although the drug's effects are similar to amphetamines, for those with ADHD, they may prove to be just the opposite. Scientists know that Ritalin increases the release of dopamine in the brain. But the truth is, no one really knows how the stuff works. I've heard it said that Ritalin (speed) cranks the kids up so tight (like an over-wound watch) that it actually slows them down (the spring broke). The "experts" say that people with ADHD have weak dopamine receptors or low amounts of dopamine in the brain, and the increase in dopamine brought on by ADHD drugs focuses their attention. The problem is that most recreational drugs tend to work in much the same way --- they increase neurotransmitters such as dopamine or serotonin. They also tend to burn out the parts of the body where these neurotransmitters are made. This leaves us with addicts who are unable to feel anything other than sadness and depression without the drugs.
If you ever have a chance, google "Kurt Cobain ADHD". "When you're a kid and you get this drug that makes you feel that feeling, where else are you going to turn to when you're an adult?" ---- Cobain's widow Courtney Love talking about their drug use.
Ritalin and other similar drugs such as Concerta or Adderall (look how many pro athletes have been suspended lately for Adderall) are abused because of their Meth-like qualitites. This is why there are always stories of teachers, parents, day care supervisors, nurses, etc, stealing little kid's Ritalin. Because Ritalin is a form of Meth, it suppresses appetite and suppresses fatigue. It gives people a boost that is said to last for hours, providing elevated awareness and pleasure (the word actually used most often is 'euphoria'). This class of drug is usually taken orally or crushed and snorted like cocaine. To anyone who has followed this sordid affair, none of this should be surprising. In the past 30 years, there has been a twenty-fold increase in prescriptions for treating ADHD. It's always interesting that even though there is an overt message of 'Just Say No' going on in our schools and communities; the people who supposedly love these children and care about them the most (parents, teachers, doctors, caregivers, etc) are canceling out that message by giving them drugs every time they turn around.
DO THESE DRUGS WORK?
ADHD medications undoubtedly increase concentration over the short haul. Probably why one of the main groups of abusers are college students. But what does the research say about long-term results with these drugs. One thing we do know is that these drugs do not improve test scores or fix behavior issues when given over the long haul. Nor does this take into account the side effects of these drugs (we'll get to them shortly).
The interesting thing about these drugs is that despite the fact that no one seems to know how they work, various forms of amphetamines have been given out by our military since the days of WWII. Sure they help people stay awake and focus on mundane tasks (air traffic control or radar / sonar operator, for example). The problem is that there is almost no hard evidence that these drugs are improving the overall ability of diagnosed children to learn. One of the biggest studies on this particular issue was published just a few short years ago in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The study showed that for a relatively short period the drugs seemed to work. But the longer the kids took them, the less effective they were. The authors pointed out that there was no long term benefit in these drugs as far as either academics or behavior were concerned ---- the two reasons these drugs would be prescribed. By the way, this study has been going on for well over a decade, and is ongoing.
SIDE EFFECTS OF ADHD DRUGS
One of the most common class of side effects involves the Circulatory System (heart). Six percent of the people who take these drugs have a significantly increased heart rate. The drugs also commonly cause palpitations, irregular heart beat, and high blood pressure. And just like meth, they can cause stroke, heart attack, and even death. But this is not even near all of it. If you have ever seen people on meth for any length of time, you know they do not tend to cast much of a shadow (they are often skin and bone). This is because the drugs remove the sensation of hunger (which, by the way, is why most diet drugs are versions of speed as well). Meth and similar drugs have always been a favorite among those wishing to lose weight via chemical means. Believe it or not, approximately one in three people taking the ADHD drugs are going to have anorexia-related side effects (nausea, vomiting, anorexia, things taste different, diarrhea, etc). This is particularly true of Adderall.
Urinary Tract Infections are another common side effect of ADHD drugs. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common of these includes symptoms of abdominal pain, increased frequency, cloudy urine, bloody urine, as well as several others. Although these are bad, the worst is yet to come. Not surprisingly, ADHD meds have a tendency to mess with people's minds. Prolonged use of stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin can cause various forms of psychosis such as paranoia, hostility, DEPRESSION, and feelings of worthlessness or uselessness. Like many other drugs, the amount that it took to cause a certain effect, does not cause that effect any more. People need more of the drug to get the same effect. Most of these side effects are synonymous with SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD OF TAKING METHAMPHETAMINE
- STAY AWAY FROM FOOD ADDITIVES: Food Additives are associated with about a jillion and one problems --- including Hyperactivity. This is not new information. Dr. Benjamin Feingold wrote two books on the relationship of 'Hyperactivity' to Food Additives back in the 1970's. It is not difficult to find people who still swear by his work. Just be aware that like most healthcare pioneers, mainstream medicine views his life's work as quackery.
- DO YOU HAVE FOOD SENSITIVITIES? This was another of Dr. Feingold's major points. You see; he was an M.D. (an allergist) who concentrated on, among other things, food allergies and their relationship to Hyperactivity. The problem is that Food Sensitivities are much more common than Food Allergies and can be far more severe. Of course GLUTEN is the most common. And unless you understand GLUTEN CROSS REACTORS, you probably need to be tested (Cyrex Array 4). If you understand this concept, you can determine which foods you are sensitive by going on an ELIMINATION DIET / PALEO DIET.
- EAT ONLY WHOLE FOODS: This is a no-brainer, and goes along with the previous bullet point. In January of this year the medical journal Pediatrics got in on the act. I certainly cannot agree with all of their conclusions, but it is a start --- they are finally admitting that ADHD is definitely related to diet. I have been pumping this idea for over two decades (HERE)!
- NO ANTIBIOTICS: When I say no antibiotics, I don't really mean 'no' antibiotics. Take them if you are on your deathbed. Other than that, stay far away from them! Antibiotics are one of the top destroyers of health in the United States. They not only kill the good bacteria that live in your Gut and make up 80% of your Immune System (HERE), they destroy your body's ability to make neurotransmitters. For instance, 90% of your Serotonin (your 'feel good' neurotransmitter) is made in the Gut. Antibiotics are the single biggest destroyer of GUT HEALTH in America today.
- STRICTLY LIMIT SCREENS: If your kid has been diagnosed with ADHD, he is probably spending way too much time in front of a TV or computer screen. Again, this is not new information. Doctors have been writing books about this for at least 50 years. When I was a little kid, my parents pulled the plug. It was one of the singularly best things they ever did for us.
- MAKE SURE THAT YOUR KIDS ARE GETTING LOTS OF ACTIVITY & EXERCISE: Yet another no-brainer. Seems like most of this stuff is just plain old common sense. Thanks to things like screens (previous bullet point), kids are getting way less exercise than they used to. Just take a deep breath and repeat after me, "I am the parent. I am the parent". Now, go make the changes that need to be made! The day will come that your children thank you for it. If they are little, they will never really know the difference.
- BE LEARY OF VACCINATIONS: All you have to do is Google "Childhood Vaccinations & ADHD". Prepare to be shocked. Like Antibiotics, certain vaccines have a propensity for killing off the Gut's normal bacteria. These bacteria not only compose a full 80% of your immune system (HERE), they perform all sorts of other vital functions as well --- such as helping to manufacture 90% of your body's serotonin. There is much too much evidence on this topic (both empirical and anecdotal) to ignore --- but Americans continue to do so. You can go HERE to do more research on the topic. All I am asking you to to do your own research into the matter.
- TAKE PHARMACEUTICAL GRADE FISH OIL: The brain is made up of large amounts of Omega-3's. Study after study tells us that Americans get about 1/30th of the amount of Omega Threes we need to be healthy. I have found numerous peer-reviewed studies citing a virtually causal link between lack of Omega Threes and ADHD. Just make sure the fish oil you take is Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil! For lots more information on this topic, just go HERE.
- STAY AWAY FROM SUGAR AND OTHER HIGH GLYCEMIC INDEX JUNK: Even little kids know that SUGAR makes them hyper. Avoid it! This does not even take into account that scientific research is tying almost every health problem you can think of back to UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR. If you really love your children, you will limit the amount of sugar and High Glycemic Index foods they consume. Better yet, teach them why it is bad. You'll be surprised how much they 'get it'.
- DISCIPLINE YOUR KIDS --- TEACH THEM TO LIVE DISCIPLINED LIVES: I will never forget the first time I went to Eugene & Edna's house for Sunday service. All their little bitty kids sat through service as quiet and well behaved as church mice. What was the difference between their kids and children in the average church? He and Edna have high expectations of what their children's behavior will be. I have since seen this phenomenon many times with many different families. Kind of reminds me of the book I read with my son recently, Do Hard Things. The gist of this book is that adults do not expect nearly enough of children, but especially teens.
- CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS: Once you understand that the Nervous System controls each and every function of the body (HERE), you can begin to grasp how chiropractic adjustments can often help kids (or adults for that matter) with ADHD. Over the years, I have seen this work time and time again.
- JUST REMEMBER THAT SOME KIDS ARE NATURALLY MORE HYPED THAN OTHERS: Back in the days I worked at CAMP WOOD, I would run into a fair number of these kids. They were always my favorites --- maybe because I was fairly hyped and half-cocked myself. If you love on these kids and wear them out physically, they are rarely a problem.
The advice in this post is just the beginning --- a template for you create your own plan. There is no one-size-fits-all answer for ADHD --- particularly when it comes to treating with meds. Like I tell all my patients. Never believe anything that any doctor (self included) tells you. Do your own research. What you will begin to learn, however, as you learn more about natural health is that almost all sickness and disease have both a common origin and a common remedy (HERE). Knowledge is power, and if you ever hope to defeat ADHD or any other major health problem without medical intervention of some sort, you had better be educating yourself.
SHOULDER IMPINGEMENT SYNDROME
A VIEW OF BOTH SHOULDERS WITH CERTAIN PARTS REMOVED
THE LIGAMENTS THAT MAKE UP THE JOINT CAPSULE OF THE LEFT SHOULDER. THE ANATOMICAL STRUCTURE ON THE TOP FAR-RIGHT IS THE ACROMION PROCESS. THE AREA JUST BELOW IT IS CALLED THE SUB-ACROMIAL SPACE.
YOU CAN SEE THE BICEPS TENDON
THE TWO HEADS OF THE BICEPS TENDON (LEFT SHOULDER) THE LONG HEAD (LATERAL) & SHORT HEAD (MEDIAL). ALTHOUGH THEY ARE DIFFICULT TO SEE, NOTE THE TWO BURSAE JUST ABOVE AND TO EITHER SIDE OF THE TOP OF THE BICEPS TENDON (LONG HEAD).
THIS PICTURE OF A RIGHT SHOULDER SHOWS THE LONG HEAD OF THE BICEPS TENDON AS WELL AS ONE OF THE MANY BURSAE (BLUE). NOTE THAT THE COLLAR BONE AND ACROMIAN ARE REMOVED IN THIS PICTURE.
IN THIS PICTURE OF A RIGHT SHOULDER, YOU CAN SEE THE SUPRASPINATUS TENDON AND THE LONG, FLAT BURSA IN THE SUB-ACROMIAL SPACE. YOU CAN ALSO SEE THE PROXIMITY OF THE BURSA TO THE TOP OF THE BICEPS TENDON. PAY ATTENTION TO THE AC (ACROMIOCLAVICULAR) JOINT AS WELL.
THE ROTATOR CUFF MUSCLES OF THE BACK SIDE OF THE LEFT ARM (PARTICULARLY THE SUPRASPINATUS MUSCLE AT THE VERY TOP) WITH THE CLAVICLE / ACROMION REMOVED.
Bursa or Bursae (plural) are fluid filled sacs that whose purpose is to reduce friction / wear by providing a barrier cushion between bones and tendons. Healthy bursae create an almost frictionless gliding surface for tendons that makes normal movement painless. Enter BURSITIS. The word "itis" means INFLAMMATION. When inflammation is seen in a bursa, the problem is referred to as "bursitis". With bursitis, movement that occurs on the inflamed bursa becomes difficult and painful. This painful and restricted movement of muscle tendons over the inflamed bursa further aggravates the condition causing even more inflammation. Do you see a vicious cycle starting to spin?
Bursitis is usually caused by repetitive injury. In the case of the subacromial bursa (the bursa below the acromion), this is frequently due to repetitive micro-trauma to the SUPRASPINATUS TENDON. As the bursitis progresses, you see a proliferation of COLLAGEN FORMATION in the area. And unless specific steps are taken, this collagen will be laid down in a tangled, twisted, matted fashion (like a hairball) as opposed to a uniformly smooth fashion (well-combed hair). Furthermore, because Inflammation (a chemical problem) attracts fluid to it, you can often find increased fluid production and swelling inside the bursa, while seeing a decreased fluid production on the outside of the bursa. As you can imagine, this can dry out the joint.
The shoulder bursae allow for smooth motion of the Rotator Cuff underneath the arch made by the Acoromioclavicular (AC) joint (see second picture from the top). Any pressure on the anatomical structures under the arch (in the sub-acromial space) can lead to something called Shoulder Impingement Syndrome. Some of the causes of Shoulder Impingement Syndrome include.......
- Bone Spurs (DEGENERATION):
- Shoulder Instability (Previous Dislocations or Separations):
- Loss of Rotator Cuff Strength:
- RADICULITIS or Nerve Entrapment: (entrapment of the nerve, artery, or vein can also cause something called THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME)
With both Shoulder Impingement Syndrome and BICEPS TENDINOSIS, the most common symptom is pain along the front of the shoulder. This pain is often associated with muscle weakness as well as lost range of motion in the shoulder. A Subacromial Bursitis causing Shoulder Impingement will often have lateral shoulder pain as well. The classic Orthopedic Test to determine whether or not someone has a subacromial bursitis is the Subacromial Push Button Sign. You simply push the area on the front of the arm / shoulder below the Acromion Process to see if a pain response can be elicited.
As you can imagine, this results of this test are fairly vague and do not provide a lot of valuable information. Neer's Sign (pain in the front of the shoulder when it is raised straight up, directly out in front of you) is not very specific either. These tests tell you something is wrong with the shoulder, they are not very specific as to what that problem really is. Be aware that people with Shoulder Impingement Syndrome will usually have difficulty with overhead activities (throwing, swimming, overhead work, etc) and may find that their problem is actually worse at night.
Make sure you come back tomorrow to learn about the differences between a separated shoulder and a dislocated shoulder ---- two totally different problems (HERE).
THOSE EVIL HALIDES AND YOUR THYROID
(CHLORINE, FLUORIDE, BROMINE)
Because FLUORIDE, Bromine, and Chlorine are so closely related to each other on the Periodic Table, they can get substituted for Iodine. This is not good, as it destroys thyroid function. If you want to do some good research on the topic, just Google "Thyroid, Fluoride, Chlorine, Bromine". Prepare to be shocked.
On top of this, one of Chlorine's main purposes is to kill bacteria. That is its very purpose for being put into the water supply in the first place. This is problematic when you remember that the GUT (intestines) contains ten times the number of bacteria as there are cells in your body. These bacteria help account for the fact that 80% of your entire immune system is contained in your gut (HERE). Destroy bacteria (Dysbiosis), and you ruin your immune system. ANTIBIOTICS are a known cause of this sort of destruction. So are halogens. Find out where you are getting exposed to halogens and put a stop to it today.
If you have chlorinated / fluoridated water, get a shower filter and some way to filter it out of your drinking water. Your thyroid will love you for it!
TENDINITIS OR TENDINOSIS?
In the nearly two hours I spent figuring out / treating her problems, we talked. One thing that she said sort of perked my ears. She had read my TENDINITIS -vs- TENDINOSIS webpage and was fairly amazed at how much research I quoted saying that it is doubtful that Tendinitis even exists. According to the current science on the subject, virtually all Tendinopathies are Tendinosis --- not Tendinitis. Despite the fact that most of their ICD-9 diagnosis and billing practices have it correct (Tendinosis), I have said for years that not one doctor in a hundred knows the difference between Tendinitis and Tendinosis --- despite the fact that Tendinopathies account for significant numbers of doctor visits.
This woman had recently visited an Orthopedic Specialist's office and did something that I tell my patients suffering with Tendinopathies to do. In one of my Blog Posts I suggested that people ask their doctor the difference between Tendinitis and Tendinosis. She did. Can you possibly guess what she was told? I knew what he would say before she even told me what his answer was. Her orthopedic 'specialist' told her that, "There is no difference between Tendinitis and Tendinosis. They are one and the same ---- two different names for the same problem." She knew then and there that she was in the wrong place. You see; she had been on my TENDINOSIS page, and had one up on her doctor. She had seen the snippets I have posted from numerous scientific studies and position papers on the subject --- all saying the same thing. Tendinitis is an old and outdated diagnosis --- virtually all Tendinopathies are actually Tendinosis.
I realize that if you have never struggled with chronic Tendinosis, you think that this is splitting hairs --- a matter of semantics. 'Au contraire mon frere'. Allow me to explain why by asking a simple question. How do doctors treat 'itis" (INFLAMMATION)? We all know the answer to this. They prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, including CORTICOSTEROIDS. Unfortunately this does not help people with Tendinopathies (Tendinosis) heal their tendon. Why not? Because just like the name implies, these people are struggling with an "osis" (Tissue Derangement) instead of an "itis" (Tissue Inflammation). Not only are the drugs that doctors commonly use to treat what they mistakenly call 'Tendinitis' not effective for this problem, they are downright dangerous and degenerative!
Oh, and by the way. My patient --- the one I was speaking of at the beginning of the post --- was dumbfounded because she could frog leg her hips without pain or restriction when she left my office --- for the first time in 25 years! Her problem was a combination of Tendinosis and FASCIAL ADHESIONS most likely brought on by extremely high arches in her feet. She may have also fallen into THIS category as well.
OUR NEW STRETCHING PAGES ARE UP
EXERCISE WITH OXYGEN THERAPY (EWOT)
A FEW OF THE MORE COMMON SYMPTOMS OF OXYGEN DEFICIENCY INCLUDE...
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WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN BENEFITS OF USING OXYGEN?
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FROM DR. JEFF DONATELLO'S BOOK
"ENERGIZE YOUR BRAIN, CHANGE YOUR LIFE"
As I have already stated, oxygen comprises about 20% of the air we breathe. The pressure of this air at sea level is 760 mm. The pressure of oxygen entering the body’s lungs is about 150 mm (this is called "partial pressure"). Be aware that oxygen in the lungs is diluted greatly with carbon dioxide (CO2). After oxygen is diluted, its pressure is further reduced to 100-110 mm. This pressure drives the oxygen from the lungs into the capillary blood. It then travels throughout the body and eventually ends up in the capillaries of the extremities (arms, legs). These capillaries then release some of the oxygen to support individual cells.
Ideally, the pressure of the oxygen in the body's arteries will almost equal the pressure in the lungs. However, aging (as well as certain disease states) causes arterial O2 pressure to drop to about 70 mm instead of 95 mm.
In order for the oxygen to get from the capillaries to the cells, it must first dissolve into the body's fluids (water). Unfortunately, oxygen does not readily dissolve into water. This is a critical point to understand. It means that: Oxygen’s solubility is largely dependent on the pressure driving it.
Johns Hopkins trained physician, Robert Rowen explains that as O2 is extracted in the body's capillaries, the venous blood at the end of the capillary has an average O2 pressure of about 40 mm early in life. By age 70, this has dropped to 35 mm. The difference in the pressure of oxygen between the arterial and venous sides reflects how well the oxygen is delivered and consumed.
In your 30s, the amount of oxygen released to the cells is significantly higher than in your 70s: a 30 year-old will release 55 mm (95-40) while a 70 year-old will release 35 mm (70-35). That’s a huge drop in the amount of pressure of oxygen your cells receive.
So even though your blood oxygen levels might be registering above that magic 90% mark that the medical community considers "normal" (90% is actually too low), as you age, the oxygen pressure falls. Even though the volume of oxygen might look the same as it has always been, you could actually be oxygen deficient because of lack of pressure.
We have all experienced this phenomenon before --- in a little bit different manner. You visit someplace where it is difficult to shower because of lack of water pressure. Most likely, there is more than enough water to take a good shower; just not enough pressure to drive it out of the shower head.
EWOT raises arterial pressure to levels seen in youth. What must happen is breathing high levels of oxygen while exercising. Exercise increases the circulation, creating a greater pressure to drive oxygen into the capillaries. The increase in pressure facilitates the repair of the O2 transfer mechanism. EWOT is effective for helping almost every conceivable condition because it improves the delivery of the most essential substance in tissue repair and healing --- oxygen.
WHY DO WE USE EWOT AT SCHIERLING CHIROPRACTIC, LLC?
Your brain and nervous system need two things to function properly: fuel and activation. Activation comes in the form of pathway-specific neurological stimulation. Fuel comes in the form of glucose and oxygen. As you have already read, your ability to utilize oxygen decreases significantly as you age. We are giving you oxygen to help you heal faster. We want to get you better as fast as possible.
And let's not forget the brain. The cerebellum, called the "lower" brain, sits in the back, bottom part of your skull. The Cerebellum controls all of your spinal musculature as well as your balance and coordinated movement. When the cerebellum is not firing correctly, these muscles spasms cause the vertebra to "lock up" and not move as freely as they are supposed to. This frequently begins a process of disc degeneration (fluid loss, bone spurs, calcium deposits, disc thinning). Make the cerebellum fire better, and the spinal muscles no longer spasm, the vertebra will move better (proper joint motion is critical for joint health), and your discs can begin to heal. A properly firing cerebellum also slows down, via the Brain Loop, an overactive Mesencephalon (upper brainstem). This is actually very important for those of you suffering with any sort of chronic illness or chronic pain (HERE).
Remember the tests we did to check your cerebellum (finger to nose, standing with eyes closed and feet close together, playing piano, touching your finger that is over your head, etc.)? The brain / cerebellum demands up to 20 - 25% of the body’s oxygen supply. When it doesn’t get enough oxygen, people frequently end up with issues such as sleep apnea, poor concentration, forgetfulness, mood swings, restlessness, depressive thoughts, decreased motivation, and low energy. The Cerebellum is the single most oxygen-dependent organ / tissue in the entire body. That is why we are giving you oxygen, to get you better, faster, by allowing your cerebellum to work better!
Is the Discussion About Oxygen Confined to Alternative Medicine, or is this Information Going Mainstream?
Fatigue (sometimes referred to as Chronic Fatigue and heavily associated with FIBROMYALGIA) has been reported by several studies as one of the most common symptoms experienced by people worldwide. A 2006 booklet by Harvard Health Publications called "Boosting Your Energy: A Harvard Medical School Special Health Report ", stated that........
"Every breath you take converts to energy. Human cells use nutrients from food and oxygen to create Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP), the energy source that fuels cell function. If your cells receive too little oxygen, they produce less energy. If your cells need more energy, they use more oxygen. That’s why your breathing rate increases when you exercise."
If you want to see true healing synergism in action, read the above quote from Harvard's Medical School, and then take 5 minutes and read our COLD LASER THERAPY WEBSITE. The bottom line is that Oxygen is critical to healing processes. And it really does not matter what you are trying to heal. This is why many of the therapies involved in our Brain-Based Therapy program are designed to benefit whatever neurological protocol we may be using.
Disclaimer: The material provided on this site is for strictly informational purposes only. It is not meant to replace or substitute for the recommendations or advice of your physician or medical provider. The products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information contained in this site should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. If you believe you have a medical condition or problem contact your health care provider. The statements contained in this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
TO GO ALONG WITH OUR TISSUE REMODELING
STRETCHING PAGES & STRETCHING CATEGORIES
CHALLENGE A FRIEND AND HELP EACH OTHER THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS BECAUSE...
WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT OUT OF LIFE?
If you are one of the tens of millions of Americans suffering from FIBROMYALGIA or any one of the health-related Endocrine (hormonal) problems found on ENDOGUT, (DIABETES, OBESITY, THYROID, FEMALE PROBLEMS, etc, etc, etc), I would bet good money that you are a SUGAR / CARB ADDICT. And if you are, the old Lays Potato Chip slogan "Betcha can't eat just one" almost certainly applies to you. So you go through the holiday season telling yourself that the repeated binges and constant snacking are OK --- you'll pull it all together in a couple of months with a New Year's Resolution. Of course 2013's resolution is going to look suspiciously similar to the resolution you broke earlier this year. Almost identical to the one you broke the year before that, the year before that, and the year before that as well. I think you get the picture.
I know that most of you are reading this because you are worried about your weight. But for a moment, let's forget about weight. Let's just talk about the ways that sugar can affect your health. I'll make you a promise. You pick out almost any disease that you can think of and I will show you multiple peer-reviewed scientific studies tying it to UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR (frequently associated with the consumption of processed grains). When you really start digging into the research that has been coming out of the medical field for the past decade or so, it's downright scary, and goes way beyond DIABETES. What may be even more scary is that most doctors are ignoring it. Follow along as I take you on a trip to the past.
The massive over-consumption of sugar and processed grains has become AMERICA'S NUMBER ONE HEALTH PROBLEM. Oh, I see --- you are unaware of this. You have a doctor that is still telling you to avoid things like RED MEAT / ANIMAL FAT, SALT, eggs (CHOLESTEROL), and who-knows-what else if you want to LOSE WEIGHT and get healthy. Sounds to me like your doctor needs to step into the 21st century (HERE)! It's processed foods and junk carbs that are destroying the health of our country. And there is abundant amounts of hard evidence to back this up (HERE).
Do not make the mistake that numerous people make in their youth (HERE). You think that just because you are not gaining weight, you are getting away with your crappy eating habits. In other words, you think that this Blog Post does not apply to you. Sorry; it does not work that way. Sooner or later you will pay the price. The damage done by poor food choices is accumulative. It adds up over time. If you stand in a public place (or go to a high school reunion) and simply look around you, you'll quickly realize just how many people are paying that price already --- even many of those you think look healthy because they are SKINNY. If you are having trouble understanding what I am trying to convey to you, simply go back and re-read the previous paragraph.
CHALLENGE A FRIEND
My best friend's name is Rick. The first time I met Rick I was working at Camp Wood in the Kansas Flint Hills ---- about 2 miles from the house I grew up in. I was 19, Rick was 17, and he had been invited by our camp's director to work the big Wrestling Camp. The camp was actually being run by Oklahoma State and there were several All Americans and even a couple of National Champions there (the Smith Brothers --- need I say more). Needless to say, the whole place was just oozing testosterone.
One afternoon Rick was helping teach a clinic, and I happened to stop by to watch even though I was not a wrestler myself. At the time I was not overly impressed. Even though Rick was supposed to be this stud wrestler, he was sort of scrawny and hollow chested and I was thinking to myself that I could take him. Somehow, I was issued a challenge by someone to wrestle Rick, and although I had not wrestled since junior high, I figured that I could hold my own because besides being an athlete, I was seriously into powerlifting and was throwing around some heavy iron at the time (500 lb squats and deadlifts, and almost a 300 lb bench).
My goal was to simply 'overpower' Rick (whom I am embarrassed to say I probably outweighed by 40 lbs) and use sheer force to control him. Needless to say, he kicked my butt --- royally --- all over the mat. In fact, he almost killed me. I realized from about the first 10 seconds of our match that I was dramatically over-matched and outclassed. And from that time forward we were best friends. I later felt some degree of redemption as I watched Rick go on to become an undefeated State Champion (155 lbs) for the most legendary wrestling program in the state of Kansas (Emporia High) as well as being named the Kansas State High School Athletic Association's "Wrestler of the Year". In fact, Rick was good enough to put himself through four years at SMS (Springfield, MO) via a wrestling scholarship.
Rick eventually earned a masters degree in Experiential Education and worked for a few years at Cameron Boy's Camp before moving up to the Executive Director position of several large YMCA Camps, including Camp Wood, Camp Classen near Davis Oklahoma, and currently, at Camp Greenville (Pretty Place) in the mountains above Greenville, South Carolina. Running these huge camps takes an incredible amount of time and energy --- early mornings and late nites --- oftentimes with a high level of stress involved. It often leaves little time for family life, let alone exercise or making eating healthy. Needless to say, year after year of this sort of lifestyle can take a toll. We were discussing this the other day when Rick lamented how addictive sugar is. I concurred and issued him a challenge, letting him set the rules and prizes. The loser makes a $100 donation to the charity of the winner's choosing, in the winner's name. You may want to start exercising you writing muscles Rick!
On the first weekend of January, just days before my Cats play for the National Championship (crossed fingers), we are going to throw some pics up on my website. As I have told my readers previously, pictures don't lie (I already told Rick not to try Photoshopping his head onto Arnold's body). Since we cannot really do a long distance Cross Fit head-to-head challenge, pictures will have to do. Whomever he chooses will judge the results (the pics will be on a password-only page). Rick wrote me the other day to say that his "level of motivation could not be higher". We'll see pal. Lock and load baby because I'm rising to the challenge! I refuse to be stopped --- not even by Christmas Cheesecake.
Seriously; it all boils down to what you really want out of life. Is a two month 'Holiday Goodies' binge more satisfying than staying fit and healthy? That's a question you'll have to decide for yourself. I would assume that most of you would verbally answer "no". The problem is that too many of you are saying "yes" by your actions. Help two people out this holiday season --- yourself and the person you challenge! And have some fun with it along the way. Passing up Eggnog Cheesecake is never easy. But the rewards are worth it.
AN UPDATE ON THE HOLIDAY CHALLENGE
THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME
"Actually it [TOS] is not widely known and it is also a controversial issue for some physicians. Moreover, it is sometimes strongly denied by those who have not had the opportunity of identifying it as a disease or even when they have not dealt with TOS patients.... We are confronted with a disease that is commonly undiagnosed by the majority of physicians." -- Cardiothoracic Surgeons, Dr. Raul Poblete Silva MD F.A.C.S. Emeritus Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Chile, former Head Department of Vascular Surgery at the Military Hospital of Santiago, Chile. Carlos A. Selmonosky MD, F.A.C.S., F.A.C.C.P. Department of Medicine, Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church VA.
Some of the most common symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome include things like shoulder pain / weakness, arm or hand pain / weakness, pain and restriction of the neck, chest pain, and others. To those who are paying attention you'll notice that TOS shares many of the same symptoms as Multiple Sclerosis, FIBROMYALGIA, RAYNAUD'S PHENOMENON, CERVICAL DISC PROBLEMS, ROTATOR CUFF PROBLEMS, CERVICAL (NECK) SUBLUXATIONS, SHOULDER TENDINOSIS, SHOULDER BURSITIS, CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME, and even certain types of Spinal Tumors. Now you can see why it is difficult to diagnose, but in order to show you what TOS really is, I want to show you a little bit of anatomy first. We'll start with the nerves in the neck and armpit region --- the Brachial Plexus.
THE BRACHIAL PLEXUS
WHICH TISSUE IS BEING COMPRESSED?
WHICH TISSUE IS DOING THE COMPRESSING?
Not to sound cold or calloused, but I am not extremely interested in exactly what structure is being compressed (blood vessel or nerve). What I am really interested in is which tissue is doing the compressing. This is because in many (maybe the majority) of Thoracic Outlet cases, it is muscles that are guilty of compressing the arteries and nerves. In other words, there is a great chance that this problem can be managed with TISSUE REMODELING.
Which muscles are the most frequent culprits as far as compressing blood vessels or nerves is concerned? Let's look first at the Anterior and Medial Scalene Muscles. When the Scalene Muscles are under constant tension, they actually hypertrophy (get bigger), making compression of the Brachial Plexus that much easier. In the picture underneath these two, you will notice one of the most common place for TOS compression to occur. The question now becomes, what puts so much tension on the Scalene Muscles? We'll answer that, but first I want to talk about the three types of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
SCALENE MUSCLES SEEN ON THE LEFT SIDE, BUT LABELED ON THE TOP RIGHT
NOTICE THE BRACHIAL PLEXUS AND SUBCLAVIAN VESSELS DIRECTLY UNDER THE (REMOVED) COLLAR BONE
THE THREE KINDS OF THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME
- NEUROGENIC TOS: As the name implies, this is the form of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome that is due to compression of the nerves that make up the Brachial Plexus. 19 out of 20 people suffering from TOS have the Neurogenic form of the problem. Neurogenic TOS will sometimes be severe enough to have caused atrophy in the meaty muscle at the bottom (palm) of the thumb. However, before atrophy sets in, most people with Neurogenic TOS will complain of numbness and tingling, or pins and needles in the fingers and hand. Weakness will frequently be seen as well. Sometimes the hand will be prone to blanching or be cold for no reason. This will often times be associated with dull achy pain in the neck, shoulder, or arm region --- often on the underside in the armpit area. The person may complain of forearm muscle cramping and difficulty with fine motor skills. This is the most likely type of TOS to be caused by FASCIAL ADHESIONS.
- ARTERIAL TOS: Arterial Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is, as you might guess from the name, due to a compression of an artery. In this case, the artery happens to be the Subclavian Artery (sub - under, clavian - clavicle); the artery that runs under the collar bone. People with the Arterial type of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome tend to complain of changes in the color of the hand, hands that are hypersensitive to cold, as well as swelling of the hands. In essence, they get almost the same set of symptoms that someone with Neurogenic TOS would get. The biggest difference to look for is the swelling in the forearm and hand. In some of the more radical cases of Arterial TOS (remember, Arterial TOS is less than 5% of all TOS), we can see double vision and other visual disturbances, vertigo, fainting, hearing loss, etc. This is what can happen when blood flow is significantly decreased.
- VENOUS TOS: Venous Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is caused by compression of the Subclavian Vein --- the vein that runs underneath the clavicle (collar bone). Guess what? Venous TOS also has the same general set of symptoms as the other two forms of the problem. However, these folk's TOS tends to be characterized by a weaker pulse than the opposite side (unless they happen to have it bilaterally). The vessel-related forms of TOS (Arterial & Venous) are less likely to respond to what I do, although we have helped a lot of patients with this type of TOS over the years. Although it matters a great deal to a surgeon, it does not so much matter to me if the compression is occurring at the Brachial Plexus or at one of the Subclavian (below the Collar Bone) Blood Vessels. My conservative treatment will be the same either way.
CAUSES OF THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME
The predisposing factors responsive for the development of thoracic outlet syndrome are fibromuscular bands, bony protuberances and long or larger transverse processes, this together with the tendinous or cartilaginous muscular insertions are responsible for the compression of the neurovascular structures at the thoracic outlet. --Dr. Carlos Selmonosky, one of America's premier TOS surgeons (retired).
It has also been shown that if you get symptoms while carrying a backpack or wearing a heavy jacket, this might be a tip off that you have TOS. Any sort of heavy burden on the shoulder girdles can cause neurovascular compression in the "Thoracic Outlet" (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome). Bottom line; there is lots of potential for people to develop Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. But every cloud has a silver lining.
Re-read the quote at the beginning of this section. Look what it says. It talks about "fibromuscular bands" (fibrous = Scar Tissue). If you want to read about Scar Tissue in muscles, HERE is the single best place on the web to do it. The quote also mentions "tendinous tnsertions". Guess what? The single best information on Tendinosis on the internet can be found HERE. For those who do not grasp how big a deal this is, it is like being handed the blueprint for tackling this problem. It reminds me of Arnold's famous line from 1987's classic offering, Predator. Just after Dutch and his band of elite mercenaries wildly open up on their unseen alien stalker, he utters the famous line; "If it bleeds, we can kill it". If your TOS symptoms are coming from compression due to FASCIAL ADHESIONS or some sort of TENDINOSIS, there is a fighting chance that your problem can be solved conservatively (non-surgically).
DIAGNOSING THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME
Diagnosis of TOS is mainly done on clinical basis. Dr. Raul Poblete Silva F.A.C.S. Emeritus Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Chile, former Head Department of Vascular Surgery, Military Hospital of Santiago, Chile
- POINT TENDERNESS IN THE AREA JUST BEHIND THE COLLAR BONE: This is tenderness in the general area where compression occurs in Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. It is where all the structures lie (the arteries and nerves) that can be compressed, as well as the muscles, ligaments, tendons, or bones (i.e. the first rib or cervical rib) that can do the compressing.
- HAND(S) BLANCHING WHEN ELEVATED TO OVERHEAD POSITION: When the hands are raised overhead for anywhere from 2-5 minutes, the affected hand(s) will blanch white (pale). When the patient holds their hands over their head while trying to reproduce TOS symptoms, they need to hold their elbows at a 90 angle and push them backwards (the chest will jut out slightly when this is done properly).
- PINS AND NEEDLES / NUMBNESS AND TINGLING IN HAND(S) WHEN ELEVATED TO OVERHEAD POSITION: Hold your hands over your head; in the same position the bullet point above talked about, for about 2-5 minutes. The affected hand(s) will develop numbness and tingling or pins and needles. Doctors refer to these sensations as 'paresthesias'.
- FINGER WEAKNESS: Have the person stand in front of you with their hands out, palms down, and fingers together. Now put your hand around their finger and gently resist while they try to push their fingers apart. Now do the opposite. Same thing, but with their fingers spread wide apart, see how much force it takes to squeeze them together. Weakness; particularly in the ring and pinky fingers could indicate TOS.
- SCALENE TEST: Have the person sit down. Get a pulse at the wrist of the affected side. Now have them turn their head toward the affected side and tip their head backward, while you move their extended arm backwards as far as you can do so comfortably. The lessening or obliteration of a pulse indicates a positive test. Be aware that this test, also called Adson's Maneuver is no longer considered diagnostic because of the incredible numbers of false positives.
- COSTOCLAVICULAR MANEUVER: Be warned that there are about a million and one variations on this test. The easiest is to simply have the patient stand at attention, chest up and out, with their shoulders drawn back. Just like the test above, pull their extended arm backwards to their tolerance and see if the pulse goes away.
- CAN YOU MAKE YOUR SYMPTOMS GO AWAY? If you have a patient with symptoms you think might be TOS, have them stand with their arms crossed (mummy-like) over the chest. Now step around behind them, grab the elbows and 'lift' up on both shoulder girdles. Hold the position for at least one minute. Did the patient get relief? Could be that you are 'decompressing' a Thoracic Outlet Syndrome by raising the collar bones off the affected structures.
As you can see, the diagnosis is tricky. Not only does Thoracic Outlet syndrome look like several other problems, the symptoms of all three types of TOS are almost identical to each other. This is why I said earlier that we are much more interested in the tissue that is compressing, rather than the tissue being compressed. For our purposes, it does not really matter what is being compressed. If it is possible to relieve the compression, the tissue being compressed is irrelevant.
TREATING PATIENTS WITH TOS
"Left untreated a severe progressive denervation [loss of nerve supply] of the upper limb occurs affecting mostly the C8-T1 nerve areas [supplies the ring and pinky fingers]. The muscle atrophy can lead to advanced muscle wasting of hand and arms results in ankylosis [ARTHRITIS] of the shoulder that may lead to a frozen shoulder." World's foremost expert on TOS, Dr. Raul Silva, from a 2011 internet article on the subject.
CERVICAL RIB: Notice the Cervical Rib ('C') at the C7 Vertebral Level
If, after examining the patient, I suspect TOS, the first thing I will do is determine which particular muscles, tendons, fascias, etc, might be constricted with Microscopic Scar Tissue. Like I have said before, whether the problem is vascular or neurogenic does not matter too much to me at this point. I am going to treat this patient 1 - 4 times (depending on what I do) and look for improvement. If we get improvement, we continue. If not, I will refer the patient out for further evaluation. With our Tissue Remodeling, we will know in one or two treatments whether or not Microscopic Scar Tissue is the major culprit (VIDEO TESTIMONIALS).
Why is properly Diagnosing and Treating Thoracic Outlet Syndrome so important? Because if patients do not get better with conservative care, they need to be re-evaluated. Let me share a story with you. Earlier this year, a good friend of mine and I were eating lunch and jawing about sports. We were sitting out on the deck, eating my wife's famous white chili, and talking about the old Houston Astros (can anyone say Nolan Ryan?). My friend is quite the expert on the subject as he is about 20 years older than I, as well as being from Texas. I asked him whatever happened to JR Richard. We both vaguely recalled something about him having a stroke, but did not know anything about it. My first thought was that it was a Darryl Strawberry sort of thing (i.e. drugs). Imagine how surprised I was while researching this topic to find out that Richards' stroke was caused by a vascular TOS. Wow; TOS can cause a stroke!
But the real kick in the teeth concerning untreated vascular TOS was something that one of the world's foremost experts on TOS, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Dr Raul Silva, said at the end of an article he had written the subject. Although the mechanism is unknown at this point, Dr Silva stated that, "Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a highly prominent and important factor in the genesis, and progression of Multiple Sclerosis" --- and he had some hard evidence to back up his assertion. As you may have guessed, MS is an AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE that can destroy one's life. What the connection is, I have no idea. It is interesting to note, however, that another Autoimmune Disease, Raynaud's Phenomenon (chronically cold hands that blanch white) has the appearance of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome as well.
THE PECTORAL / DELTOID / BICEP JUNCTION
WHERE THE SHOULDER, BICEP, AND CHEST ALL COME TOGETHER
TWO MORE VIDEO TESTIMONIALS ON PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME
A COMBINED HALF-CENTURY OF PAIN
I started seeing Deb several months ago after her husband came in. She had a longstanding history of Chronic Hip / Buttock Pain that was aggravated by Chiropractic Adjustments (yes, even mine). Although she cannot tell you exactly what started her problem, she can tell you it started almost after jumping into a swimming pool when she was 17 years old --- over forty years ago. After suggesting that she try our Tissue Remodeling, she has made a dramatic turnaround ---- almost immediately. After just one single treatment a few weeks ago, she is between 60-75% better. This is from a woman who told me she had contemplated blowing her brains out over his particular issue. Thanks for the testimonial Deb. I know how emotional it was for you to talk about what you went through.
AMERICA'S THYROID EPIDEMIC
At age 60, her eyebrows were totally gone, her hair was falling out, her skin was dry and flaky, she had developed a significant belly, and seemed exhausted to the point that simply moving or talking was a chore. I looked at Becky and gently said to her, "You know you have a thyroid problem don't you?" Her reply was one that unfortunately I have heard over and over again in the years I've been in practice. "My doctor says my thyroid is fine --- maybe a bit on the low side of normal --- but it's good." This post is for all the women (and men) who have lived this scenario, as well as the practitioners who would rather trust a blood test than what they see.
When one begins to look at the actual statistics on thyroid problems here in America, one quickly realizes that using the word "epidemic" to describe what is happening, is not over-the-top hype. It is completely appropriate. In fact, the word 'epidemic' might not be strong enough to convey what is really going on with our nation's collective Thyroid Glands.
Are you sitting down? About one in ten Americans has some sort of thyroid problem. And although our current medical community wants you to believe that they can take care of most thyroid symptoms via hormone replacement therapy; statistics tell us that this hasn't been going as well as planned (it did not work so well with estrogen-based HRT either). Instead of looking at thyroid problems simply as "Thyroid Problems", a better solution might be to ask why so many thyroids are not working properly. It's time to step back and get a better perspective of the problem by looking at the body as a whole organism ---- not just a bunch of loosely related components.
Oh; and like most other ENDOCRINE DYSFUNCTIONS, it is women who are taking it on the proverbial chin. Just like PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME that I treat so much of in my clinic (I have actually been calling it a female epidemic for over a decade), the number one predisposing factor for having abnormal thyroid function is simply being female. We will discuss some of the reasons for this shortly.
Before we continue, let me clearly state that I am not an endocrinologist. I am a small town Chiropractor with a long-standing interest in FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE and its relationship to your overall health. The purpose of this Blog Post is not to bash the standard medical approach to dealing with thyroid or other endocrine problems. It is simply to point out why it might not have proved itself the best option for your particular problem ---- you know; the one you have been struggling with for years, even though you have tried everything they have offered you, without any tangible long-term results.
WHAT DOES THE THYROID GLAND DO?
- MALE & FEMALE HORMONES: Diminished thyroid function causes LOW LIBIDO in both sexes, DECREASED SPERM COUNTS in men, as well as diminished progesterone levels in women. Be aware that numerous women (not to mention, men) with hormone or endocrine imbalance end up in a state of ESTROGEN DOMINANCE. At least for women, this is not always due to having too much estrogen in the system, but from having too little progesterone. WARNING: Beware of Progesterone Creams! Even though these creams relieve symptoms, they build up in fatty tissue, causing all sorts of other problems. Also be aware that Hypothyroidism slows down the body's ability to get rid of excess estrogen. This is probably why Hypothyroidism is associated with numerous female problems including PCOS, Uterine Fibroids, and even BREAST CANCER.
- LIVER & GALLBLADDER FUNCTION: The liver gets rid of excess or "used" hormones, and filters toxicity / chemicals from the blood. The gallbladder stores gall (bile) which is critical for digestion. Decreased thyroid function causes decreased function of these two organs. This not only increases the chances of forming gallstones, it also slows down the conversion of T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (active thyroid hormone), of which 80% occurs in the liver, which leads to decreased thyroid function. The whole process is a vicious cycle. Repeat. By the way, decreased thyroid function tends to allow people's bodies to make cholesterol and triglycerides faster than they can metabolize them, making hypothyroidism a common cause of HIGH CHOLESTEROL and TRIGLYCERIDES ---- especially in women. The links in the bullet point above are relevant to this point.
- BONE METABOLISM: The thyroid manufactures and stores calcitionin, a hormone that regulates calcium. This means that women (or even men) with thyroid problems are prone to OSTEOPOROSIS.
- GUT FUNCTION: If you have read my 'EndoGut' post (link provided earlier), you are already aware of the relationship between endocrine function and GUT HEALTH. When I use the word "Gut", I am not just talking about digestive health (although diminished thyroid function leads to constipation), I am really talking about diminished Immune System Function (80% of your Immune System is in your gut --- HERE). Chronic CONSTIPATION or IBS increases your chances of DYSBIOSIS (YEAST OVERGROWTH, fungal overgrowth, MOLD OVERGROWTH, and overgrowth of harmful bacteria). It also increases INFLAMMATION, and your chance of developing FOOD SENSITIVITIES or LEAKY GUT SYNDROME. Please visit ENDOGUT if you have any doubts about the relationship between gut health and endocrine health, including thyroid.
- HGH PRODUCTION: One of the hottest areas of "medicine" these days (anti-aging), involves doing things to boost the production of Human Growth Hormone. HGH is manufactured by the Pituitary Gland and involved in cell regeneration via the production of a hormone called IGF-1. Diminished amounts of active thyroid hormone slow this process down, which goes hand in hand with.....
- FAT BURNING CAPACITY: The most common thyroid problems slow down metabolism, which more specifically, slows down the body's ability to burn fat. There are several different metabolic pathways where this occurs, but just remember that decreased thyroid function can make it nearly impossible to do enough exercise to actually kick in the body's fat burning machinery.
- SUGAR METABOLISM: The body uses glucose (simple sugar) to make energy in the form of ATP. Because hypothyroidism slows down metabolism so greatly, people end up with "brain fog", an inability to concentrate, and poor memory. This is because the brain, which uses more glucose than any other organ in the body, gets starved for blood sugar. On top of this, these folks often deal with symptoms of HYPOGLYCEMIA (irritability, fatigue, light-headedness, etc) even though their blood test is normal. This is simply because their body has lost the ability to get blood glucose into the cells to be used as energy. As a compensatory mechanism, the ADRENAL GLANDS kick into high gear to take up the slack via the stress hormone "Cortisol". Repeat this scenario enough, and you burn out the adrenal glands (FIBROMYALGIA / ADRENAL FATIGUE), which is just the beginning. This is why failing to control your blood sugar via a diet low in refined grains and sugar, is quite possibly the number one factor in determining whether you will develop endocrine problems in general ---- including hypothyroidism. Do not fail to grasp the fact that many people who are not 'controlling' their blood sugar, have normal blood tests (HERE) --- at lest for now.
- PROTEIN DIGESTION / METABOLISM: Decreased thyroid function leads to decreased production of stomach acid (HYPOCHLORHYDRIA). Although many Americans have bought into the myth that their stomach problems are because they are either making too much stomach acid, or that the stomach acid they are making is too strong, both of these explanations are physiologically next to impossible ---- but they sure sell one heck of a lot of drugs (HERE)! Heartburn and Gastric Reflux are actually caused by a process called "Putrefaction". Low levels of stomach acid cause incomplete digestion, and the resulting partially digested food gets denied immediate access to the small intestine, subsequently backing up into the esophagus. Because this mess is so acidic, it actually burns and causes pain. Hypochlorhydria is also a leading cause of developing Dysbiosis since stomach acid is a major defender against bacteria and other critters. Is this some sort of "new" or novel concept? Just listen to what Dr. Aristo Vojdani says about the subject. "The idea that environmental factors, in particular infectious agents, may cause severe thyroid disorders has been in the literature since the 1940's" (Royal Lee was talking about it in the 1930's --- see the link on Hypochorhydria above). By the way, decreased stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) also causes....
- ANEMIA: ANEMIA from decreased levels of B-12 / Folic Acid is usually the result of hypochlorhydria --- often caused by hypothyroidism. On top of that, more than 10% of the people with hypothyroidism have Pernicious Anemia, an Autoimmune Disease that destroys the compound in the stomach essential for absorbing B-12. And since all minerals (including iron) can only be absorbed properly in a highly acidic environment, iron is not absorbed well, causing Iron Deficiency Anemia. Hypochlohidria also helps cause Osteoporosis because like other minerals, calcium must be absorbed in a highly acidic environment.
- CARDIOVASCULAR: Maybe you've heard of a substance called homocysteine? Homocysteine is an amino acid that can build up because of decreased intake of whole food B-COMPLEX VITAMINS (B6, B9, & B12). High homocysteine levels are associated with cardiovascular problems including heart attack and stroke, as well as degenerative diseases and dementia. Be aware that hypothyroidism slows down the liver's ability convert homocysteine to inert substances that the body can deal with safely and easily.
Truthfully, this list could be much longer. However, I think that you are starting to get the point. The point being that the thyroid gland regulates and controls numerous body functions. When it starts to go south, other health problems begin to rare their ugly heads as well.
THYROTROPIN-RELEASING HORMONE (TRH): When the body senses that metabolism needs to be cranked up, it sends out a messenger to the brain. In the brain, the HYPOTHALAMUS (communication between the brain and the endocrine system) gets the message and passes it on to the Pituitary Gland. It uses a messenger called TRH.
THYROID STIMULATING HORMONE (TSH): aka THYROTROPIN: After TRH has told the Pituitary Gland that it needs to crank up metabolism, it (the pituitary) kicks into high gear and releases TSH. TSH heads straight to the Thyroid Gland and lets in some iodine. The iodine stimulates an enzyme called Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) and makes a protein called Thyroglobulin, which, when added to either 3 or 4 molecules of iodine and hydrogen peroxide, manufactures the thyroid hormones T4 (inactive version) and T3 (active version) respectively.
THYROXINE (T4): T4 has 4 molecules of iodine attached to it, and is the inactive form of Thyroid Hormone. About 93% of Thyroid Hormone is inactive T4.
TRI-IODOTHYRONINE (T3): T3 has 3 molecules of iodine attached to it, and is the active form of Thyroid Hormone. This is accomplished via an enzyme (tetraiodothyronine 5 deiodinase) whose job is simply to remove one molecule of iodine from T4, which converts it to T3. About 60% of the body's T4 is converted to T3 --- 80% of which occurs in the liver. Interestingly enough, 20% occurs in the Gut ---- but only in the presence of large numbers of healthy ("Good") bacteria. This is why ANTIBIOTIC USE is ultimately going to lead to Dysbiosis and Thyroid Dysfunction.
- HYPO-THYROIDISM Decreased Thyroid Function
- HASHIMOTO'S THYROIDITIS (Autoimmune) Decreased Thyroid Function
- HYPER-THYROIDISM (Grave's Disease -- Autoimmune) Increased Thyroid Function
Although the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists estimates that over 27 million Americans are dealing with a thyroid problem of some sort, many experts say that the real number is closer to 60 million. Much of this discrepancy is due to the fact it is readily admitted that over half of the people in this category are never diagnosed. As always, the question we need to be asking is why?
If it is so easy to simply draw some blood and analyze its hormone content, why is it so difficult to diagnose certain thyroid problems? Even more importantly, why do such a large percentage of the people who are diagnosed, continue to have symptoms ---- even though they are following their doctor's prescribed treatment regimen of synthetic hormones & anti-depressants, and their blood tests fall within normal ranges? If we do not answer the question of why, we will continue to flounder as a society as far as the management of thyroid problems and associated disorders is concerned.
- Weight Gain (even on a low cal diet) / Obesity
- Morning Headaches
- Hypersensitivity to Cold
- Poor Circulation or Numbness in Hands or Feet
- Muscle Cramps / Spasms
- Easily Sick / Difficulty Recovering from Illness
- Slow Wound Healing
- Chronic Fatigue / Tired all the Time (despite amount of sleep) / Insomnia
- Poor Digestive Health
- Dry or Brittle Hair / Dry Skin
- Edema / Swelling (especially facial)
- Hair Loss / Loss of Outer Eyebrow
As you can see, a loss of thyroid function has the potential to cause numerous health problems. Some of these problems are merely cosmetic (hair loss). Some of them are life altering. Because the thyroid is so central to health and metabolism, thyroid problems can literally steal your life!
Prepare to be doubly shocked. It is estimated that fully 90% of America's 30 million Hypothyroidism sufferers (some experts put the number at twice that), have hypothyroidism due to something called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. That's right. Almost 10% of America's adult population is known to be suffering from an autoimmune thyroid disease called Hashimoto's Disease. The term "AUTOIMMUNITY" means that their thyroid is being attacked and destroyed by their own Immune System. Not good! But uncommon? Unfortunately, not. An amazing one in five Americans has an autoimmune disease of some sort, with Hashimoto's being one of the more common (HERE is a list of common Autoimmune Diseases). Now prepare to be really really shocked.
Even though doctors can test for Hashimoto's Disease, this rarely happens in today's medical community. Why not? Because they treat Hashimoto's the exact same way that they treat Primary Hypothyroidism. They simply prescribe T4, the inactive form of Thyroid Hormone, in the form of drugs with names like Synthroid, Armour Thyroid, Cytomel, etc (some of these have some T3 as well). Unfortunately, this is often times not the best solution. Why not? Because it fails to address the Immune System dysfunction.
It is critical to remember that Thyroid Autoimmunity is not so much a thyroid problem as it is an immune system problem. This is why so many people do OK with hormone replacement therapy ----- for a short time; and then start to have the same problems again. Bottom line, proper management of Hashimoto's must consist of recognizing the underlying Immune System dysfunction and addressing it. What typically triggers the body to start attacking itself --- especially the thyroid gland?
There are all sorts things that trigger Hashimoto's Disease. Although the majority of the medical community is not asking this question any more, they used to be. Since the early mid 1900's it has been known that Chronic Infections play a huge role in autoimmunity. These include various forms of Dysbiosis, BACTERIAL INFECTIONS, viral infections, DENTAL INFECTIONS, as well as yeast, mold, and fungi overgrowths. Oh, and just because we live in "clean" America, we cannot forget an exceedingly common cause of Hashimoto's; PARASITES.
Other causes of Hashimoto's include Adrenal Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Food Sensitivities (particularly GLUTEN), environmental toxicity (MERCURY, ALUMINUM, and thousands of others), Female Issues (particularly POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME which to some degree is said to affect as many as 50% of America's menstruating women), and numerous others. All of these problems lead to out-of-control SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION. But the number one trigger is probably Blood Sugar Regulation Problems (DIABETES, INSULIN RESISTANCE, HYPOGLYCEMIA, METABOLIC SYNDROME, etc). Not only are these problems exceedingly common in America, not 1 in 100 doctors is talking about this relationship --- even though the research is coming from the medical field. It's the reason we have a canyon here in America much bigger than the Grand Canyon (HERE).
Why is it so important to recognize Hashimoto's and not simply manage it simply as "Hypothyroidism"? Namely because it is the most common major autoimmune disease in a country where at least 20% of the population is dealing with an Autoimmune Disease. Autoimmunity usually follows a progression. When you find it attacking one area, it is likely to be attacking others as well. And with any Autoimmune Disease, the problem does not lie with the tissue being attacked, it lies with the immune system. When the immune system fails, where does it typically fail first? Because of our poor diets ("crappy" would be more descriptive) the first place that Immune System function fails is in The Gut ---- the place where 80% of it lives.
Some of the chief symptoms of Grave's Disease include: INSOMNIA, tremors, HYPERACTIVITY, excessive sweating, heat intolerance, weight loss despite increased appetite, diarrhea, frequent stools, heart palpitations, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, muscle weakness and increased temperature, as well as a symmetrically enlarged non tender thyroid. Many also have the issues with the eyes as well (note video of Marty Feldman in the classic, Young Frankenstein above). Hyperthyroidism also shows up with things like behavioral and personality changes, depression, easily agitated, restless, anxiety, hyper emotional, and even psychosis --- all signs of something known as "SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE".
Graves Disease typically presents during early adolescence. Like most endocrine problems, it affects women more than men ---- up to 2% of the female population (ten times as common in females as in males). About 25-30% of people with Graves' disease will also suffer from Graves' Ophthalmopathy (a protrusion of one or both eyes), caused by Inflammation of the eye muscles via attacking auto-antibodies.
HYPOTHYROIDISM & AUTOIMMUNITY
Instead, it is a problem with the immune system itself. Why is this so important to understand? Because once the EPIGENETIC FACTORS turn on the genes for autoimmunity, it can never be turned off again. However, it is possible for autoimmune responses to be turned down (HERE is an example). But in order to do this, we have to know which part of your immune system is being ramped up, and / or which part of your immune response is being suppressed (HERE).
FIXING THE LEAKS
No one likes a leaky faucet, except maybe your plumber. The same is true of the Immune System. But unlike a leaky faucet that is easy to see and usually easy to fix, the body can spring leaks which you cannot see, even with standard medical testing. If you have read much of my work, you already know where this is heading. Chronic Inflammation can cause things like "Leaky Gut Syndrome", "Leaky Lung Syndrome", "Leaky Brain Syndrome", or any (or all) of several other "LEAKIES". But in order to understand why various organs spring leaks, we must first understand Inflammation.
INFLAMMATION is the collective name given to a group of naturally occurring chemicals that the Immune System makes in response to tissue damage of various sorts. These chemicals have strange sounding names like prostaglandins, histamines, kinins, cytokines, ecosonoids, Substance P, and numerous others (see link). It is not that these chemicals are bad in and of themselves. In fact, they are vital to your body's ability to heal whatever is thrown at it. However, when inflammation driven out of control by the things we talked about several paragraphs ago, they promote a whole cascade of health problems including
- Skin Conditions such as Eczema, Psoriasis, & Contact Dermatitis (HERE)
- Heart Disease / Stroke
- Fibromyalgia / Adrenal Fatigue / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- CANCER (HERE)
- Numerous Others
THYROID AND GUT FUNCTION
THYROID FUNCTION AND BLOOD SUGAR
In fact, research is showing us that the number one reason that people have Thyroid Dysfunction / Autoimmunity (remember, most thyroid problems are actually autoimmune diseases) is a diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and highly processed GRAIN-BASED foods (HERE). The latest statistics are suggesting that every man, woman, and child in America is eating just under 200 lbs of sugar (or HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP) per year. Stop. Re-read this paragraph again and let it sink in (HERE). We are destroying our own thyroids and those of our children because of our addiction to simple carbohydrates and sugar (NUMEROUS POSTS on this ugly fact, as well as information on breaking said addiction).
THYROID PROBLEMS, THE ADRENAL GLANDS, AND FIBROMYALGIA
Low thyroid function is almost always secondary to another condition ---- frequently an endocrine problem. Although we have already learned that problems with regulating blood sugar is probably the number one cause of hypothyroidism, Adrenal Fatigue (called "Fibromyalgia" here in America once the symptoms manifest visibly) probably runs a close second.
STRESS & THYROID FUNCTION
If you have been on my BRAIN-BASED THERAPY, MISSOURI, website, you already realize that many (if not most) endocrine problems are related to the Sympathetic Nervous System ("Fight or Flight") run amok (HERE). This is particularly true of the Adrenal Glands. In the field of FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE, there is probably no more commonly seen problem than Adrenal Gland Imbalances. Why? In a word, stress.
Stress (dietary stress --- overloading with sugar and simple carbs), immune system stress, emotional stress, physical stress, food sensitivities, parasites, dysbiosis, mold, candida, etc, etc, etc, turns on the body's Sympathetic Nervous System causing SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE, and the body responds by performing a whole host of functions related to fighting these stressors or fleeing from them. What does this do to the body? Let's take a look:
- Affects Communication Between Brain and Endo System: The HYPOTHALAMUS and Pituitary Gland directly control the Endocrine System (thyroid included). Adrenal Stress weakens both of these parts of the brain ---- subsequently, diminishing neurological control of the thyroid.
- Increases Thyroid Binding Activity: When more thyroid hormone is in a bound state (as opposed to free) it cannot get into the cells like it should ---- even though your blood test might very well appear normal.
- Decreased Conversion Rate: Like poor Gut Function, Adrenal Stress slows the conversion of T4 (inactive) to T3 (active). What does this do? It slows your metabolism.
- Hinders Metabolic Detox Pathways: This is big. When your body cannot get rid of excess hormones (HERE'S HOW IT'S DONE), your body reads this as having plenty (or even too much) hormone in your body. In a properly functioning negative feedback loop, the body will begin to shut down production of said hormones --- exactly what it is supposed to do. This causes a condition of "Thyroid Resistance" that is quite similar to the way people develop "Insulin Resistance". And, just like we see in Insulin Resistance, where cells lose their sensitivity to insulin, we see the same thing with the thyroid. Even though there may be lots of thyroid hormone circulating in the body, it is not able to do its job because the body has lost its sensitivity to it --- sort of the same way a drunk tends to lose their sensitivity to booze over time. In other words, in a 'Resistant" individual it takes increasing amounts of chemical (booze, Thyroid Hormones, whatever) to get the same reaction in the body.
- It Causes Leaky Immune System Barriers: There are Immune System barriers in the body for good reason. The chief of these are found in the gut (MUCOSAL LAYER OF THE MICROVILLI), the brain (the blood-brain barrier), and even in the lungs. Due to weakened Adrenal Glands (often brought on by chronic inflammation), the protective barriers are weakened. What is the affected person left with? A bad case of the "Leakies" --- Leaky Gut Syndrome, Leaky Brain Syndrome, and Leaky Lung Syndrome. Although the medical community will deny that this is happening, there are any number of simple and inexpensive tests for it --- some of which you can order by mail (HERE).
HOW DO THESE PROBLEMS SPECIFICALLY IMPACT THE ADRENAL GLANDS?
- ADRENAL GLANDS & BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION PROBLEMS: Cortisol (an Adrenal Gland Hormone that is made in response to stress) is part of the "Fight or Flight" response that is meant to raise blood sugar when it drops too low (Reactive Hypoglycemia). When there is constant adrenal stress, there is constant release of cortisol. This actually "burns out" the adrenal glands as well as their control centers --- the Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland. To much cortisol also weakens the Gut, making it increasingly inclined to Dysbiosis, Inflammation, & Chronic Infections (bacterial, viral, and more commonly, parasitic). Oh; and it also happens to be a major cause of CENTRAL OBESITY (belly fat).
- ADRENAL GLANDS & GUT INFLAMMATION: Look above. The chronic infections that drive inflammation occur largely in The Gut. Not only does Cortisol tend to convert active Thyroid Hormone (T3) back into the inactive form (T4), Dysbiosis actually decreases the amount of active T3 circulating in the body. If you remember, this is because 20% of the body's T4 is converted to T3 in the presence of normal flora --- the "Good Bacteria" of The Gut. Do you have Gut Dysfunctions? Have a stool sample done by Genova or any number of other labs.
- ADRENAL GLANDS & FOOD SENSITIVITIES: One way the adrenals are constantly stressed is via food sensitivities / intolerances. Leaky Gut Syndrome (the medical community calls this "Increased Intestinal Permeability") allows, parasites and other bugs (virus and bacteria), as well as undigested food particles and toxins into the blood stream. Only doing what it is supposed to, the body recognizes these as foreign and begins making antibodies to attack them. However, this fight often occurs, at least at first, with no visible signs or symptoms --- at least no symptoms that your doctor recognizes as being related to a Food Sensitivity. Not only does this hidden battle hinder the ability to convert inactive T4 to active T3, it creates "addictions". Take note: (My uncle, the renowned DR. JAMES BRALY was talking about this at least four decades ago) People often get an adrenal "high" from the very foods that they are most sensitive to (sugar and grain-based simple carbs being the most common). Are you sensitive or intolerant to certain foods? You'll never know without doing a strict ELIMINATION DIET.
- ADRENAL GLANDS & CHRONIC VIRAL INFECTIONS: Many viral infections stay with people forever. Think about it; the chicken pox you had as a kid can become the SHINGLES you deal with as an adult. Constant viral (or bacterial) pressure causes the Adrenal Glands to pump out more and more cortisol. What does this do? In time it burns out the adrenal glands, not to mention the Pituitary Gland. This eventually leads to Thyroid Dysfunction.
- ADRENAL GLANDS AND AUTOIMMUNITY: With autoimmunity, one of the two parts of the immune system is either too high or to low (TH-1 -vs- TH-2).
- ADRENALS & CHEMICALS / HAPTENS: Guess what? Chronic exposure to heavy metals (lead, mercury, etc) or toxic metals and TOXIC CHEMICALS can trigger adrenal meltdown as well.
THYROID AND THE SEX HORMONES
Estrogen is the chief female hormone. It is the hormone that essentially makes a woman look like a woman. Part of the function of estrogen is to make sure that women have more body fat than men ----- about 8-10 percent more on average. A woman needs to carry at least 15 percent body fat in order to be able to produce enough estrogen to conceive and carry a baby to term.
On average, women carry about 20-23% body fat. Much of a woman's estrogen is produced in her ovaries. However, unbeknownst to most of the female population, a significant percentage of estrogen is produced by their fat cells. If a woman is not carrying enough body fat (cross country runners for instance), she is not going to have menstrual periods (amenorrhea). Unfortunately, if she carries too much body fat, it automatically cranks up her estrogen-producing ability.
Think about this one for a moment. For any number of reasons, a woman gains some extra weight as fat. Fat cells do what they are supposed to be doing and make estrogen. Increased estrogen causes women to put on more weight ---- as fat. Fat cells produce estrogen. Estrogen causes women to gain more weight ---- as fat. Repeat ad infinitum. And the real bite is that excess estrogen is actually stored in fat cells. It is a vicious cycle that must be broken in order to get to a healthy weight, as well as being an important part of turning a low functioning thyroid turned back on.
When a person is saturated in excess estrogenic hormones (estrogen and synthetics, xeno-estrogens, phyto-estrogens), the body looses its own feedback loop. Unfortunately, this is true of most Endocrine System hormones, and is called "Resistance". We see this most commonly in the case of Insulin. When there is too much insulin circulating in the blood, the cells actually become resistant to it, and need ever-increasing amounts of the hormone to do their jobs.
Be warned: When your doctor tests you for levels of female hormones, the test might actually show that you are low in Estrogen. Why do you think so many women end up on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)? It is because most of these hormones are artificial or synthetic, or they come from animals (Premarin, for instance ---- which stands for "Pregnant Mare's Urine" --- the source of the hormone). It also has to do with the fact that Estrogen Dominance simply means you do not have enough Progesterone for the amount of Estrogen you have.
THYROID AND BRAIN FUNCTION
Although it is true that your nerve system carries electrical messages, these messages are moved from place to place via chemicals called "neurotransmitters". Neurotransmitters, chiefly Dopamine & Serotonin are affected (as is the brain itself) by high levels of Inflammation. And in the same way that high levels of Systemic (whole body) Inflammation causes a very serious health problem called Leaky Gut Syndrome, Systemic Inflammation causes both a deficiency of neurotransmitters as well as something called Leaky Brain Syndrome.
The individual cells that make up the brain's blood vessels, form very tight junctions that only allow very small molecules and substances through. You have heard of this before --- it is known as the Blood Brain Barrier or BBB. Due to Chronic Systemic Inflammation, the cells that make up the "tight junctions" become loose. Substances normally kept out of the brain are able to breech the membranes of the vessels and enter the brain.
WHAT CAUSES LEAKY BRAIN SYNDROME?
What causes Leaky Brain Syndrome? The same blasted thing that causes Leaky Gut Syndrome, "Inflammation" --- Chronic Systemic (Whole Body) Inflammation. In fact, if you suffer from Leaky Gut Syndrome, it is almost guaranteed that you have at least a degree of Leaky Brain as well. But what causes this Inflammation? The same list of things that we have spent lots of time on already. Once the blood brain barrier has been breached, the floodgates are opened to neuro-toxic substances such as heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, chemical toxins, parasites as well as numerous others, which always leads to other neurological conditions: Things like Depression, ADD / ADHD, SEIZURES, AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS, CHRONIC PAIN, and all sorts of mental illnesses.
Although your body has numerous neurotransmitters, we will confine our discussion to the most important; Dopamine and Serotonin. Like most other Endocrine System Problems, the most common cause of deficiency of either is Blood Sugar Regulation Problems.
Dopamine is a "feel-good" neurotransmitter. Most addictions have their roots in people's attempts at trying to increase Dopamine levels. These include CIGARETTES & CHEWING TOBACCO (nicotine), SUGAR / JUNK CARBS, chocolate, coffee & soda (caffeine), as well as ALL SORTS OF DRUGS including PRESCRIPTION PAIN PILLS. Although these things initially boost Dopamine levels, the boost does not last long. The "low" after the "high" becomes the norm, as baseline levels of Dopamine continue to decrease.
This is a huge problem as far as the thyroid is concerned, because dopamine stimulates the Hypothalamus to produce TSH, and aids in the production of T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) as well as its conversion to T3 (active thyroid hormone). On the other side of this equation, thyroid hormones stimulate the production of Dopamine. Are you beginning to see the makings of a vicious cycle? Diminished thyroid function causes decreased levels of Dopamine, and decreased levels of Dopamine leads to diminished thyroid function. Dopamine deficiency results in the following symptoms:
- Feelings of Worthlessness
- Feelings of Hopelessness
- Self Destructive Thoughts
- Inability to Deal with Stress
- Anger & Aggression -- Especially Under Stress
- Desire for Isolation
- Lack of Concern for Others -- Particularly Family and Friends
- Easily Distracted
- Trouble Finishing Tasks
- Need for Caffeine or others from the "Addiction" List Above
- Diminished Sex Drive
To top it all off, people that have long-standing hypothyroidism are at a greater risk of being diagnosed with PARKINSON'S DISEASE, a health problem characterized by tremor-like actions and gait abnormalities. The cause of Parkinson's --- an absolute loss of Dopamine.
Like Dopamine, SEROTONIN is also responsible for communicating with the thyroid gland and specifically helping convert T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (active thyroid hormone). Serotonin helps to regulate mood, appetite, and sleep. It also plays an important role in memory and learning. Eighty to ninety percent of the neurotransmitter serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan by the body's "Second Brain" (The Gut). The remainder is made by the brain itself. Like Dopamine, it is also a "feel-good" chemical that is typically associated with happiness and well being. Because it is so similar to Dopamine, the symptoms of decreased levels are similar as well. These include:
- Loss of Enjoyment from Hobbies
- Loss of Enjoyment from Favorite Foods
- Loss of Enjoyment of Relationships
- Loss of Artistic Appreciation
- Sleeplessness / Insomnia
- Feeling Overwhelmed
- Unable to Manage Problems
- Chronic Pain
As you just saw, both of these neurotransmitters are powerfully related to thyroid function. Is it any wonder that one of the most common classes of drugs to prescribe people who are suffering with symptoms of low thyroid is Antidepressants?
Because diminished levels of neurotransmitters (particularly Serotonin) leads to Chronic Pain, a common treatment is to give sufferers Antidepressants in the form of SSRI's (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). While I can understand their reasoning for doing this (doctors like to tell patients that Chronic Pain is caused by DEPRESSION), the research has shown that just the opposite is far more likely to be true. People get depressed because they have CHRONIC PAIN!
Seratonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro, Sarafem, Fen-Phen, Redux, Meridia, Effexor, Serzone, Wellbutrin, Zyban, etc -- some of these have been pulled off the market) do exactly what their name describes. They inhibit the "re-uptake" of Serotonin once it is in the blood stream. Instead of the "used" Serotonin being recycled into more Serotonin or other substances, it stays in the blood stream. If you recall, most of the times that you have a very high level of a hormone or neruotransmitter in the bloodstream, the body tends to "resist" it. Think of Insulin Resistance here. Thus, increasing levels of neurotransmitters can have a diminishing return --- something seen with those who have had issues with drugs and Depression (think Robin Williams here).
Unfortunately, most of the people who are on SSRI's (over 10% of the American Population), are not on them for true Clinical Depression. They are on them because of symptoms of some other problem --- usually Endocrine in nature. On top of that, increased levels of Serotonin are not only neuro-toxic, they are actually associated with things like ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE and AUTISM. High serotonin levels are also responsible for various sorts of psychosis --- the very thing that has caused so much controversy over the massively increased levels of suicides while on these drugs --- especially children.
But SRRI's can be dangerous even if you do not happen to kill yourself while on them. The Prozac label lists dozens upon dozens of side effects, but describes the following as "frequent". Chills, Hemorrhage, Hypertension (High Blood Pressure), Nausea, Vomiting, Increased Appetite, Weight Gain, Agitation (easily angered), Amnesia, Confusion, Emotional Liability, Sleep Disorders, Ear Pain, Taste Disruption, and Tinitus (Ringing in the Ears). I realize that Depression is no fun. I also realize that there are other ways to deal with it than drugs (HERE).
TESTING FOR THYROID PROBLEMS
Because thyroid troblems are usually a part of a much bigger overall picture of metabolic dysfunction, and because most cases (90%) of hypothyroidism have a major autoimmunity component (Hashimoto's for incstance), the only way to effectively address thyroid problems is to deal with underlying autoimmune problems. How is this done? The first part of effectively managing any problem is to define that problem so that you know exactly what you are up against.
- Is my Immune System working properly? (Salivary Cortisol Tests)
- Is my Gut functioning properly? (Comprehensive Stool Examination)
- Do I have some sort of underlying Autoimmunity? (ANA Test --- not great but a start)
- Why are my Thyroid tests normal even though I have every symptom of a Thyroid problem? (Complete Thyroid Panel --- not just TSH)
- How do can I effectively deal with Fibromyalgia & MIGRAINE HEADACHES?
- What can I do for the Chronic Fatigue?
- The medicine they are giving me is making me worse. What do I do?
- Why have I been to so many doctors who tell me that nothing is really wrong with me?
- How do I get my life back?
MANAGING THYROID PROBLEMS
An enzyme called Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) removes one molecule of iodine from inactive T4, to convert it to active T3. Unfortunately for the person with Autoimmune Thyroid (Hashimoto's), supplementing with iodine can in some cases be like trying to put out a fire with gasoline. Hashimoto's is often confirmed by the presence of Antibodies (Ab) to TPO. In other words, the enzyme TPO is frequently the aspect of the thyroid that is being attacked. Iodine increases production of TPO, which can either trigger or magnify an autoimmune attack. Supplementing with iodine is not actually causing Hashimoto's, but for some people it can certainly be a trigger or magnifying glass.
Managing thyroid problems, or any other Endocrine Problem for that matter, means taking charge of your health. Although it certainly may require some testing on your part, I have filed any number of posts that provide you a starting point as far as starting to address this on your own is concerned (HERE is the most comprehensive). HERE are my other thyroid posts as well. And for the record, I am not for one moment suggesting you bail on your endocrinologist or the drugs they've prescribed; I'm simply giving you some information that will allow you to better deal with potential underlying causes of your thyroid issue as well as any other inflammation-based health issues you might be dealing with.
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