CARPAL TUNNEL OR WRIST TENDINOSIS
I recently had a young patient drive about 16 hours to see me for problems he was having in his wrists / hands. He had grown up in (and was still involved with) a business that required him to use metal shears / tin snips (giant scissors used to cut sheet metal) on an almost daily basis. He had numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain in both of his hands. And his range of motion was so poor, that he could barely move the back of his hand toward his forearm. He had not been to any doctors, figuring it would be easier (and cheaper) to come see me first to see if I could help him. He was about 75% better after his first treatment. He returned about 2 months later for a second. He has no more problem.
PRAYER SIGN: A SIMPLE RANGE OF MOTION TEST
MEDIAL VIEWS OF THE FOOT (BOTH VIEWS ARE OF THE BIG TOE SIDE)
Turf toe was named as such because the injury frequently occurred when players got their big toe jammed into the old fashioned kind of artificial turf (outdoor carpet over asphalt). The injury itself is a sprain of the First Metatarsal-Phalanges Joint (the large ball at the base of your big toe). This is the joint being used when you get up on the ball of your foot (your tiptoes). If the big toe gets cranked too much in either direction, up or down (flexion or extension), the ligaments will be injured. The result is an athlete who can barely walk, let alone use the big toe to push off or make cuts. Although our TISSUE REMODELING works wonders on turf toe that has had a week or two to heal, rest, ice, controlled motion, and COLD LASER are the best immediate options for the acute injury.
Why did I decide to do a blog on turf toe? It's easy. On the eve before Christmas Eve, Amy was coming down the stairs at my in laws house. The stair treads are very narrow and there were a couple of winter jackets that had somehow been left on the stairs next to the wall. She hit one and it took off like a bobsled. One leg went down stairs, one stayed where it was with the toe folded up underneath. I knew right away she was hurt. My wife has learned far more about turf toe than she ever hoped to.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ACUTE STRAINS OF THE
HIP FLEXORS AND THE ABDOMINAL FASICA
By the way, the very tip (front) of the Illica Crest is called the Anterior Superior Illiac Spine (ASIS). Feel your own to feel how thick / dense this bony area is. This is where people get an injury called a "Hip Pointer".
LEFT ILLIAC CREST
ABOVE: look how the Internal Oblique Muscle attaches to the Illium, clear down to the tip of the Illiac Crest called the ASIS. What is interesting is that at least three of the various layers of abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique, transverse abdominis) have attachments to the Illiac Crest.
RIGHT: You can see that the Tensor Fascia Latae with its mega-long tendon (the ITB), as well as part of the Quadriceps Muscle, and the Sartorius Muscle, all attach to the Illicac Crest. These are some of the muscles that are collectively known as the "Hip Flexors".
RIGHT ILLIAC CREST
MISSOURI PAIN RELIEF
MOUNTAIN VIEW, MISSOURI
BIG THINGS SOMETIMES COME IN SMALL PACKAGES!
PAIN RELIEF FOR THE SPRINGFIELD AND BRANSON AREAS
I just received an email from Massachusetts. Their family was recently in Branson and missed us because they did not realize we were so close. If you are visiting Springfield or Branson, please look us up. If you are struggling with any one of a number of CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES, it could be one of the most important decisions you'll ever make. Think I'm blowing hot air? Take a QUICK PEEK at what makes us different.
Mountain View is about an hour and a half from Springfield, and a half hour further from Branson. Why suffer when relief may be so close? Come visit me in Mountain View --- and MAKE A VACATION OF IT while you are here!
SEPARATING FACT FROM FICTION
FOR THIS MISERABLE PAIN IN THE BUTT
Yes, I realize that some of you will say that using the word 'epidemic' to describe Piriformis Syndrome is a bit over the top. I would strongly disagree. I call it an epidemic because despite the fact that for years its very existence has been questioned, the evidence points to the contrary. In fact, the most current research on the subject (from UCLA's School of Medicine) shows that Piriformis Syndrome is actually the number one cause of Sciatica in America today --- more common than disc (HERE). Yes; Piriformis Syndrome is real alright. For those who have suffered it's effects, it's a nightmare that's as real as a proverbial heart attack.
Because the lowest Spinal Disc in your spine must withstand a great deal more mechanical pressure than the other discs in the spine, it is (in my experience) the most common place to see what I refer to as, "The Big Four" (DISC HERNIATIONS, DISC DEGENERATION, SPINAL STENOSIS, and FACET SYNDROME). Because these all seem to occur most commonly at the L5 vertebral / disc level, and because the nerve supply to the Piriformis Muscle just happens to come from that same level, it is fairly easy to mistake Piriformis Syndrome for back problem. I would love to tell you otherwise, but I've done it myself. Oh, one more thing that can throw a wrench in the machine as far as making an accurate diagnosis, is that all of the above problems can cause SCIATICA. We could even call this list the 'Big Five' because the Piriformis Muscle also happens to sit just below the SI Joint (it has attachment points to the joint capsule) and can be related to chronic Sacroilliac problems as well. Fouling things up even more is the issue of ASYMPTOMATIC DISC HERNIATIONS. I simple test to help give you some kind of idea about where your pain is arising from can be found HERE.
WHAT DOES THE PIRIFORMIS MUSCLE DO?
STRETCHING & STRENGTHENING IS A GREAT
FRONT-LINE TREATMENT FOR PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME
- HIP FLEXOR TIGHTNESS / TENDINOSIS: Problems with any muscles that attach directly to the pelvis can cause or contribute to Piriformis Syndrome. I frequently find HIP FLEXOR TENDON ISSUES in people with Piriformis Syndrome. These are usually, but not always related to overly tight Quads.
- GROIN TIGHTNESS OR TENDINOSIS: Problems with any muscles that attach directly to the pelvis can cause or contribute to Piriformis Syndrome. I have seen case after case of Piriformis Syndrome that started with groin pulls or other GROIN PROBLEMS.
- TIGHTNESS OR SCAR TISSUE IN THE TENSOR FASCIA LATA OR ITS TENDON ---- THE ILLIOTIBIAL BAND: Problems with any muscles that attach directly to the pelvis can cause or contribute to Piriformis Syndrome. ITB PROBLEMS are often related to Piriformis Syndrome.
- HAMSTRING TIGHTNESS / TENDINOSIS: Problems with any muscles that attach directly to the pelvis can cause or contribute to Piriformis Syndrome. If you look at any anatomy book, you'll notice that part of the hamstring attaches to the Sacrotuberous Ligament. CHRONIC HAMSTRING PROBLEMS (even sub-clinical ones) are often found hand in hand with Piriformis Syndrome.
Look for reduced range of motion in the hip joint. This is especially true of internal rotation. Any of the problems above can ultimately contribute to diminished internal rotation of the hip. This can cause or contribute to Piriformis Syndrome.
- A WEAK CORE: Core Strength affects virtually everything. To learn more about strengthening your core, just go HERE.
- HIGH OR LOW ARCHES: This goes hand in hand with the next bullet point. Your foot type is critical for determining what sort of shoe you need. High arches can cause supination of the feet as opposed to pronation. This causes people to walk on the outsides of their feet, leading to undue stress on the Piriformis Muscle, which, in turn, can lead to Piriformis Syndrome. HERE is more information on this subject.
- WHAT KIND OF SHOES ARE YOU WEARING TO RUN IN? I recently had a patient come to me for Piriformis Syndrome. This woman is a workout machine. She runs, she lifts weights, and she even leads fitness boot camps at her town's local Y. She had been told that she was a severe pronator (typically flat footed people pronate) and was wearing a 'Stability Shoe' (aka Dual Density Sole). The shoe is built with the outside portion of the sole softer so that flat footed people (who tend to walk on the insides of their feet) are pushed onto the outsides of their feet. As you might imagine, a supinator will have real problems in a Stability Shoe --- despite the fact that they rarely relate their problem to their shoe.
- WHAT KIND OF SURFACE ARE YOU RUNNING ON? Too many hills? Are you running on a sloped surface? Is it too hard? Is it too soft? Any of these can contribute to the development of Piriformis Syndrome.
- WHAT YOU EAT: Although many will pooh pooh this point,for many of you it could be the most critical of the bunch. If you want to understand how your diet could possibly be related to various CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES including Piriformis Syndrome, HERE and HERE are some posts for you to read.
PIRIFORMIS STRENGTHENING EXERCISES
ONCE YOU HAVE STRETCHED THE AFFECTED PELVIC MUSCLE(S), WHAT KIND
OF STRENGTHENING EXERCISES SHOULD BE UNDERTAKEN?
- SLIDE WALKING / LATERAL WALKING: Using the appropriate gauge of Theraband rubber tubing for resistance, loop it around both legs just above the knees. Now, get into a half-squat position (like you are playing defense in basketball). Slide Walk laterally in each direction ---- again; just like you were playing defense in basketball. This can be an especially valuable exercise for those with tight groin muscles.
- PIROUETTES: Lift your bad-side leg outward with the final positioning of your toes pointing towards the leg you are standing on. The end position is going to look like a poor man's pirouette. Do reps and sets accordingly.
- HIP ABBDUCTION / ADDUCTION: While standing upright, use a cable machine attached to your leg to both abduct the leg (take it away from center line) and adduct the leg (bring it back to center). You can accomplish the same thing using heavy Theraband materiel.
- THE SCISSOR: Lay on your side on the floor. Now raise both legs slightly off of the floor. Then raise the top leg as high as you can and bring it back down to the other leg ---- in a "scissor-like" motion.
- THE OYSTER: Lay on your side on the floor just like you were going to do a Scissor. You are going to do the exact same exercise while keeping your feet together. Instead of the exercise looking like a scissor, it will look more like an oyster repeatedly opening and closing.
WHEN YOUR HEADACHE MEDICATION CAUSES HEADACHES
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY HEADACHES ARE CAUSED BY THE 'REBOUND" EFFECT?
If you are having a lot of headaches and taking a lot of headache medications, you should automatically assume that you are dealing with Rebound Headaches. However, there are 'official' criteria for determining whether or not your headaches would be classified as 'Rebound' or not.
- If drugs like ergotamines, triptans, and opiods are taken for over ten days a month, for three consecutive months, you are said to have Rebound Headaches.
- If simple analgesics (Tylenol, Nuprin, Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Advil, etc, etc) are taken half the days of the month, for three straight months, you are dealing with Rebound Headaches.
DIY HELP FOR HEADACHES
- CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS: I cannot even begin to tell you how many patients that I have successfully treated over the years with various kinds of headaches. To understand more about this, go HERE.
- TISSUE REMODELING: If you are one of those people who gets relief from a Chiropractic Adjustment, but it does not seem to hold more than a few days (or even a few hours), there is a good chance that you are dealing with underlying scar tissue. Much of this is likely to be FASCIAL ADHESION due to some old ACCIDENT or injury. I wrote about the relationship between cervical (neck) ranges of motion and chronic neck pain / headaches A FEW DAYS AGO.
- CLEAN UP YOUR DIET: If you are consuming things like MSG, additives, preservatives, chemicals, and who-knows-what-else, it may be quite difficult to do anything with your headaches until you start eating better and drinking more water. The great things is that this step alone may resolve your headaches. HERE is more information on the subject. This diet aspect boils down to diminishing the chemicals your body makes that well collectively refer to as INFLAMMATION. Fail to understand Inflammation, you'll find it tough to help yourself.
- CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR: For people struggling with regular headaches, this is a critical step in the right direction ---- particularly for those who might be dealing with underlying hypoglycemia. You should be aware that Blood Sugar Dysregulation is being touted as a causal factor in almost every health problem you can name. Be aware that this can be a huge problem even in the absence of DIABETES.
- GET OFF GLUTEN: Gluten is problematic in all sorts of crazy ways. HERE is more information on the subject. Be aware that you may be sensitive to more foods than Gluten. Milk is a common one as well.
- MAKE THE DECISION TO EXERCISE: Regular exercise is good for you on many different levels. HERE is more information about doing it the right way.
Just remember that this list is by no means comprehensive. However, if you were to do the things on this list and still find yourself struggling with headaches, you might have an underlying BRAIN-BASED problem that requires special neurological testing (not just another brain scan) or metabolic testing.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION AND AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS VOTE TO KEEP MERCURY IN VACCINATIONS
(INCLUDING FLU VACCINE)
WE KNOW WHAT MERCURY IS; WHAT IS THIMEROSAL?
Thimerosal is nothing new. It has been used as an anti-bacterial / anti-fungal in vaccines since the 1930s. However, there is a rapidly-growing firestorm on the internet concerning the supposed safety of the vaccines made with mercury / thimerosal (HERE). Although most governmental agencies refuse to acknowledge the link (some European and oriental countries do); for me it could not be more in-your-face than it already is . When I have parent after parent after parent come to me over the past two-plus decades and tell me, "My child was normal until they had their shots --- now they have __________ (insert your own condition here ----- AUTISM, seizures, SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE, AUTOIMMUNITY, learning disorders, BEHAVIORAL DISORDERS, DEPRESSION, etc, etc), we should realize that something is rotten in Denmark. The potential neurotoxic effects of mercury in vaccines is being all but ignored. Why? Just follow the money.
Based findings published by the FDA in the late 90's, it was confirmed that following the government's current shot schedule could exceed the threshold for mercury toxicity as set forth by the EPA. This, coupled with people like Dr. Amy Davis Wright, as well as congressional hearings, continued to drive public pressure for the government to do something about this problem. So, in 1999, the American Academy of Pediatricians along with the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) said enough is enough, and asked congress to pass laws for the removal of mercury from childhood vaccines (Missouri was the third state in the nation to follow thru).
The good thing is that Thimerosal is no longer found in the childhood vaccines of developed countries like America. However, it is still frequently found in Flu Shots and other adult vaccines. Furthermore, the third world's vaccines still contain mercury. The WHO stated that, "Replacement of thimerosal with an alternative preservative may affect the quality, safety, and efficacy of vaccines; re-registration would be required by the National Regulatory Authority in each jurisdiction where a reformulated product was intended to be used; currently available alternative preservatives interacted in unpredictable ways with existing vaccines, and there are no consensus alternative preservatives for the near- or mid-term..... There would be a high risk of serious disruption to routine immunization programs and mass immunization campaigns if thimerosal-preserved multidose vials were not available for inactivated vaccines, with a predictable and sizable increase in mortality, for exceedingly limited environmental benefit."
There it is folks --- just look at the last five words of the quote. But it should not surprise us. In an era where the environment is considered to be more important than people, the UN is far more worried about the damage to mother earth than what mercury does to the neurology of developing infants and children.
IT'S FLU SEASON ---- TIME FOR YOUR FLU SHOT
THE ULTIMATE WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM
SECRETS TO RAPID WEIGHT LOSS
After all, the weight loss market is huge (no pun intended). This is because the average American is fat. As crazy as it sounds, approximately 70% of the American population is either overweight or obese. And that number approaches 80% if you factor in those who are SKINNY FAT. But it gets crazier. According to a recent NYT article, we are spending nearly fifty billion dollars on weight loss products annually (gulp!). Face it; people who are struggling to lose weight are an easy mark. They're desperate, and usually looking for something easy ---- something that unfortunately, simply doesn't exist. The truth of the matter is, there is no way to lose weight without some hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. But it doesn't have to be as tough as some would make it out to be. And it certainly doesn't have to be slow (HERE).
Remember though, that I am much more interested in teaching you how to live a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE than you using this information to lose 50 lbs for your HIGH SCHOOL REUNION or a trip to the beach ---- and then putting it all back on because you FELL OFF THE WAGON. Forget the fad diets, starving yourself, the gimmicks, the sales pitches, the odd-ball exercise equipment, and the WEIGHT LOSS PILLS. Don't buy into people who want to sell you something so you can lose weight. With the right understanding of how the body works, you can do it essentially on your own, without spending boatloads of money. And like I said, if you do things the proper way, it does not have to be a long, drawn-out process.
WEIGHT LOSS SECRETS THAT BURN FAT
LIKE A ROCKET FUELED ENGINE
- GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER: Although an accountability partner cannot do it for you, they can help hold your fingers to the fire as far as staying on track with your workouts and eating habits are concerned. Sure, you can do it all on your own. But having someone to share your successes (and help keep from failing) is far more fun and rewarding. Keep in mind that your Accountability Partner does not have to be a training partner. This means that it can be a long-distance sort of thing, done via a combination of email and phone calls (my buddy Rick and I are raising money for orphans LIKE THIS).
- IF YOU CHOOSE TO EAT BREAKFAST, MAKE IT PROTEIN-BASED: It used to be considered a no-brainer to start your day with breakfast. We have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day ever since we were little kids. But some of this thought process is starting to change (HERE).
- DRINK WATER, AND LOTS OF IT: If you are still drinking lots of FRUIT JUICES (mostly sugar water) or DIET SODAS, you need to change your wicked ways. Keeping your body hydrated will help you burn fat --- not to mention, help keep you healthy.
- LEARN MORE ABOUT SOME OF THE CRAZY THINGS WILL NOT ONLY CAUSE YOU TO GAIN WEIGHT, BUT CAN CAUSE CHRONIC ILLNESS AS WELL: For instance, most people are unaware that MSG causes obesity (HERE). There are other things to learn that are equally important as far as getting pounds off and keeping them off is concerned.
There are all sorts of things you can do to lose weight. But if you want to do properly and rapidly, make absolutely sure that you are following the next three bullet points. These are the backbone of the program. Following these steps has led people like TRACY REIFKIND to lose 100 lbs in 100 days (not to mention my sister losing 100 lbs in seven months and essentially "curing" herself of five autoimmune diseases in the process --- HERE), and get in the shape of her life during the process. This is not a pipe dream, gimmick, or trick. It is something that you yourself can do. The quick results will help fuel your motivation to continue.
THE TOP THREE SECRETS TO RAPID AND PERMANENT WEIGHT LOSS
- ENGAGE IN A STRENGTH-BASED EXERCISE PROGRAM INSTEAD OF CARDIO-BASED EXERCISE PROGRAM: Thinking that Strength Training is going to make you big and bulky, while hour after hour spent slogging away on the treadmill or elliptical will burn off excess butter, is old-fashioned thinking. Quit worrying so much about your weight and focus more on body composition. Everything you ever wanted to know about STRENGTH TRAINING -vs- CARDIO TRAINING is in the link.
- CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR BY GOING LOW CARB: Fail to understand THIS SIMPLE CONCEPT, and you will not only fail at losing weight, your health will fail as well. This bullet point is truly the key to controlling both your weight and your ENDOCRINE SYSTEM. Sugar and refined carbs are highly Inflammatory (HERE), and if you want any hope at solving your weight issue, you'll have to solve your ADDICTIONS TO THE STUFF. For some of you, the low carb approach will not be enough to rigidly control inflammation. Fortunately for you there's the PALEO DIET.
- EAT HIGH QUALITY PROTEIN MORE OFTEN: Dr. Stuart White of Houston, Texas is one of the most respected WHOLE FOOD Nutritional Experts on the planet, not to mention one of the profession's most successful practitioners. At a recent lecture, I heard Dr. White tell 200 physicians that the number one way to control all Endocrine problems (FEMALE HORMONES, LOW TESTOSTERONE, THYROID, HYPOTHALAMUS, DIABETES, ADRENAL FATIGUE, SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION, OBESITY, etc, etc) is to not only make sure to eat a LOW CARB DIET, but to make sure and consume some high quality protein every two hours. Why is regulating your Endocrine System so critical for maintaining a healthy weight? Because every single problem listed above potentially causes or contributes to weight gain or an inability to lose weight --- not to mention it throws a monkey wrench in your ability to get and stay healthy.
If you find that you truly cannot lose weight following this program, there is likely some sort of underlying illness or metabolic problem going on. You may have some sort of Food Sensitivity (GLUTEN OR GLUTEN CROSS-REACTORS) or LEAKY GUT SYNDROME. Maybe you have PARASITES or a GUT DYSBIOSIS such as H. PYLORI or CANDIDA. You might be exposing yourself to BLACK MOLD on a daily basis, or you could have HEAVY METAL TOXICITY. If you have one of those who-knows-what-is-wrong-with-me sort of problems that your doctor cannot get a handle on, you may have to look for deeper solutions (HERE).
HEADACHES AND DECREASED MOTION
OF THE CERVICAL SPINE (NECK)
According to a 1991 study published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Tension Headaches account for a whopping 90% of all headaches. The pharmaceutical industry is making a killing on this common problem, with annual sales of these various products reaching into the billions of dollars. Fortunately, the past two decades has produced a great deal of scientific research telling us not only that over the counter pain meds are far more dangerous than we have historically been led to believe, but that there are effective alternatives to these drugs. There is a significant body of evidence (both empirical and anecdotal) for manipulative therapies such as CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS being able to people who struggle with chronic headaches.
Although the medical community likes to claim that Tension Headaches are brought on by things like lack of sleep, poor posture, LOW BLOOD SUGAR, eyestrain, or any number of others (stress is the most common scapegoat), this is not completely accurate. Although any of the things listed above can trigger a Tension Headache, I would argue that the underlying cause of the headaches frequently has to do with restricted joint motion. And while it is certainly true that stress can cause the muscular tension that in turn causes headaches, it is also true that the majority of us are under all sorts of daily stress, yet do not struggle with chronic headaches. It's sort of like trying to blame germs for disease. If germs were really the source of all disease, why won't everyone in a third grade classroom get sick when the flu makes the rounds? There are other factors at play. But I regress --- we are talking about ROM and headaches.
CHRONIC HEADACHES & FASCIA ADHESIONS
This has to do with the fact that so many Chronic Headache Patients are (unknowingly) struggling with FASCIAL ADHESIONS. Imagine for a moment what would happen if modern medical technology was unable to image the most pain-sensitive tissue in the body. Now imagine that this pain-sensitive tissue was found literally everywhere in the body --- one of the more abundant of the COLLAGEN-BASED CONNECTIVE TISSUES. This is exactly what is happening. The single most pain-sensitive tissue in the body (Fascia) cannot be imaged with current MRI technology. What does this mean for you? It means that when you go to the doctor(s) / specialist(s) to find out why you are having headaches, you will likely be told (after having gone through $25,000 worth of tests) that there is nothing really wrong with you --- other than, "Well Mrs. Smith, you just aren't as young as you used to be." Or, "Gee Mrs. Jones, no one really knows why some people get headaches and other people do not." Or the newest favorite, "You'll just have to blame your parents for those bad genes they passed on to you."
CERVICAL RANGES OF MOTION CAN BE DECEIVING
(A Case History)
For whatever reason (a hunch maybe; or maybe just experience), I checked her for Scar Tissue despite any real objective findings that would lead me in this direction. Needless to say, she had some of the most brutal Scar Tissue / Fascial Adhesions I have ever seen --- huge tears running one on top of the other from the very top of her neck clear down into the middle part of her back. After treating her, I rechecked Ranges of Motion. When she turned her head to the side, her nose was actually back behind her shoulder bilaterally. She felt an instant relief even though her Range of Motion was technically 'OK' to begin with (HERE). This is just another reminder that everyone is different as far as what a 'normal' range of motion is, and there are few hard and fast rules when it comes to treating patients (HERE).
ANOTHER PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME VIDEO
CHRONIC SHOULDER PROBLEM
FIXED AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT
By the way, in case you weren't aware, Steve and his wife Teresa run two homes for trafficked women and girls --- one in Houston and one in Mountain Grove. I suggest you take a look at the very cool work they are doing (HERE) and support them in any way you can!
TEN (10) YEARS OF CHRONIC NECK PAIN AND HEADACHES CLEARED UP IN A SINGLE TREATMENT WITH OUR
SCAR TISSUE REMODELING
SCAR TISSUE REMODELING
If you have ever sighted in a rifle, you know exactly what I am talking about. You look through your scope, take a shot, and then walk downrange or peer through a spotting scope to look and see if it hit the target --- and if so, where. You then adjust your scope your accordingly. My son is particularly good at this (the proof is a freezer full of DEER MEAT). Sometimes the rifle does not take much sighting in. Sometimes it takes a fair bit. You never know for sure until you put some lead downrange and then go and check your target.
When I break the FASCIAL ADHESIONS that cause of so many cases of PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME, CHRONIC NECK PAIN / HEADACHES, BURSITIS, and other common health problems, we will typically see the problem focalize (narrow down to a Bullseye) as it improves. A perfect example of this is a person I treated yesterday that we'll call "Joe".
About six years ago, Joe went through a botched hip replacement surgery. He then suffered through three more surgeries as doctors attempted to repair their original screw up. An active vibrant man; Joe soon found himself unable to do very much of anything without going through excruciating pain. As is the case of many people that I treat, it had ruined his life. I was the 20th (twentieth) doctor that Joe had seen in an attempt to find someone to help him with his problem. The cool thing is that "Joe" is dramatically better. But the thing that amazed me about his problem was the way that it so dramatically "Bullseyed". Although at his initial visit he had tremendous amounts of scar tissue on and around his SURGICAL SCAR, most of that was gone yesterday (his second treatment). What I found instead was a small area of restrictive adhesion accumulated around his FLEXOR TENDON that neither of us had any idea was there because all his pain was around the scar or in the area of the PIRIFORMIS (on his back side). We worked this Hip Flexor area that was now hurting him (on the front) and BAM! An instant and total relief of his pain.
In a way, it can be like peeling an onion --- particularly with severe cases. Sometimes when I treat people, the pain moves up or down or switches sides. You have to understand that it's not that the Scar Tissue itself moves when I treat you. It's when I break up one area (the outer layer of the onion), you might feel the pain in a place you've never felt it before (a deeper layer of the onion). Some of this is because even though I might spend 2-3 hours with you, I simply cannot check every inch of your body. Bottom line; don't panic because the pain moved after treatment. And by the way "Joe" ---- I sincerely hope your pain never returns!
STRENGTH & RESISTANCE OR CARDIO...
WHICH IS BEST?
- Which form of exercise is better for weight loss; Cardio or Strength Training?
- Which form of exercise will give me a better butt; Cardio or Strength Training?
- Which form of exercise will give be better abs / core strength; Cardio or Strength Training?
- Which form of exercise is better for toning up; Cardio or Strength Training?
- Which form of exercise will make me look better in a swim suit; Cardio or Strength Training?
- Which form of exercise is better for overall health; Cardio or Strength Training?
- Which form of exercise is best for my heart; Cardio or Strength Training?
- Which form of exercise will increase my life span; Cardio or Strength Training?
- Which form of exercise is better if I have extremely limited time: Cardio or Strength Training?
- Which form of exercise is better if I have no funds to join a gym; Cardio or Strength Training?
- Which form of exercise will prevent osteoporosis; Cardio or Strength Training?
- Which form of exercise is better if I am old (Geriatric); Cardio or Strength Training?
- Which form of exercise is better if I am young (Teenager); Cardio or Strength Training?
- Insert your own version of this question here ____________________?
In a post that is sure to trouble my readers who happen to be hardcore cardio enthusiasts (particularly serious runners), I am going to show you that while I am not necessarily trying to get you to completely give up your cardio training (that would be foolhardy on both our parts); Strength Training is the superior form of exercise ---- the best answer to every single one of the above questions. And no; it's not even close.
What gives me any degree of credibility to tackle this topic? I have nearly three decades of experience dealing with real-world patients. Not to mention, my undergraduate training included the Dual Degree Program at Kansas State University (Exercise Physiology / Nutrition). But probably the number one reason I can address this issue authoritatively is the fact that I practice what I preach. Although I cannot do the MASSIVELY HEAVY TRAINING anymore due to old injuries (multiple cases of basketball-induced avulsion fractures of my right ankle, leading to a low grade PIRIFORMIS ISSUE and chronic foot issues), I have been in the game personally for well over 30 years. I know what works and what doesn't work because I've lived it ---- and I am not into wasting needless time with exercise routines that do not produce fruit, and produce it quickly (HERE for example).
STRENGTH TRAINING OR BODYBUILDING?
Unfortunately, bodybuilding has moved away from FRANK ZANE'S CLASSIC LOOK (think a bit bigger version of Michelangelo's 'David' here), to today's comic book-like monstrosities that are almost ubiquitously built via mass quantities of steroids and GH-like hormones. Forget all the gimmicks. Just remember that if you train correctly and eat properly, the physique will take care of itself as you get stronger (with a great variation in everyone's genetic capacity for both size and strength). Today's post is going to delve into what constitutes "Resistance Training / Strength Training" and the reasons it's superior to hardcore Cardio Training (specifically long-distance running), in almost every objectively measurable category.
Despite the fact that I used to play basketball and other sports for hours on end, I will warn you up front that this blog post is being written from the perspective of someone who never found running for the sake of running, enjoyable. Despite the fact that I did it for a significant portion of my life, I never liked going out and pounding the pavement. In fact, I hated it. Runner's High? Can't even imagine it!
REASONS THAT STRAIGHT CARDIO IS INFERIOR TO STRENGTH TRAINING
I realize that today's column is going to upset the marathoners, the triathletes, and the bikers. I apologize in advance. Be aware, however, that my goal is not simply to give you my opinion. Although I have not included a bibliography (I am not writing a book or article for publication in a scientific journal), there is a tremendous amount of scientific research backing this column. But don't be fooled.
You have to understand that I think everyone should do some form of Cardio Training. It's just that I believe that it can be incorporated into your strength workouts in other ways, such as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or rapid circuit training. The bottom line is that if you want to optimize your time and energy as far as fast-acting, long-lasting results are concerned (remember the list of questions above?), Strength Training provides much more bang for the buck. And it provides it much quicker. My goal is to prove it to you in as many ways as I possibly can.
Does it burn energy (calories)?
Does it burn fat?
Does it raise the heart rate?
Does it increase cardiovascular health?
Does it build muscle?
Does it increase strength
Does it decrease or reverse Osteoporosis?
Does it increase Insulin's efficiency?
Does it cause muscles to burn more energy while at rest?
NO (can cause muscle loss)
MAYBE (it can also cause loss of both strength and muscle mass)
MAYBE / SLIGHTLY
MAYBE / SLIGHTLY
STRENGTH -vs- CARDIO
THE REASONS STRENGTH TRAINING IS SUPERIOR
- NO MATTER WHICH FORM OF EXERCISE YOU CHOSE, DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR DIET: No matter which form of exercise you choose to participate in (Cardio Training, Strength Training, or hopefully some sort of combination), the biggest reason your exercise program will either succeed or fail has to do with the foods you eat. In other words, your diet will make you or break you. If your biggest goal is losing weight, you have to remember that you cannot work out hard enough to overcome a cruddy diet. THIS POST will tell you why LOW CARB and PALEO are the way to go. Let me repeat myself in a different way. If you are still stuck in the HIGH CARB MINDSET of the 1980's (or you just don't care), you are headed for disaster. It may not happen today, and it may not happen tomorrow. But I promise you that if you do not consciously choose to eat in a healthy manner, you will one day be dealing with a diet-induced Endocrine System Tsunami. As I will soon show you, you'll burn your Pancreas trying to control your blood sugar, your ADRENAL GLANDS will follow suit, and your health will go to hell in a hand basket. Without serious intervention, maintaining a healthy weight will become almost impossible.
- PEOPLE WHO ARE SERIOUSLY INTO CARDIO ARE FREQUENTLY SERIOUSLY INTO THEIR CARBS: While this is an obvious over-generalization, it is true in far too many cases. It seems to me that most of the runners I know are really into their carbs (think 'carb loading' here). Furthermore, Cardio Training seems to increase one's appetite for carbs more than Resistance Training does. Tim Ferris of Four Hour Body, tends to avoid overly-strenuous Cardio Training for this very reason. And while it's true that carbs in the form of vegetables are a critical part of a healthy diet, just remember this; there are no "Essential Carbohydrates" (even though there are Essential Amino Acids (proteins) as well as Essential Fatty Acids). In other words, our bodies are perfectly capable of converting both protein and fat into blood sugar. Here are a few links for those having trouble with this concept (HERE and HERE). I also know a lot of runners who do not really worry about what they eat because they know that they are going to burn x number of calories on their next run. In my post called HEALTH PHARISEES, I tell how I used to use exercise as an excuse to eat crappy foods. This thought process is fueled by articles (think Cosmo or Men's Health) that provide 'educational' guidelines on how much exercise it will take to burn off that brownie or Big Mac Value Meal you just scarfed. Again; I am overgeneralizing, but when it comes to this particular issue, people who are into Cardio Training frequently have a completely different mindset than those who are into Strength Training.
- STRENGTH TRAINING IS JUST AS GOOD AS CARDIO FOR WEIGHT LOSS: Let me qualify this statement. While it is technically false, it is functionally true. Even though you will expend more energy (calories) during the average Cardio Session, there is a far greater weight loss benefit to Strength Training --- a benefit that will largely be seen over the long term (more on this shortly). Much of this has to do with the fact that an equal volume of muscle weighs significantly more than the same volume of fat. This means that a good Strength Training Program might actually cause you to gain weight (at least at first) ---- even though your goal may very well be weight loss. But, as you'll quickly learn, you need to change both your mindset and your fitness goal(s) in this area. All of this is why the scale might not be your best friend when you start your Resistance Training Program. It's also why for women in particular, strong is the new "skinny". Instead of worrying about your weight, take a picture. For some reason, scales and mirrors tend to lie to you much more than a picture will. Instead of simply thinking in terms of weight loss here, we all need to be thinking in terms of body composition.
- NO FORM OF EXERCISE COMES REMOTELY CLOSE TO RESISTANCE TRAINING AS FAR AS BODY COMPOSITION IS CONCERNED: When I speak of body composition, what I am really getting at is a person's "lean body mass" -vs- the amount of body fat they are carrying. Cardio Training inarguably helps people lose weight. But because it has a real tendency to break down muscle in the process (usually without building it back up ---- look at the pictures at the beginning), it can leave you skinny --- and in some cases rather soft. The only surefire way to increase lean body mass is to get involved in some sort of Resistance Training. Period. End of story. A 1999 issue of Medical Science Sports Exercise verified this fact. This study broke a group of overweight individuals into three different groups:
-The Diet-Only Group
-The Diet & Cardio Group
-The Diet & Cardio & Strength Training Group
In 12 weeks time training 3x / week for almost an hour per session, the Diet-Only group lost nearly 15 lbs, while The Cardio & Diet Group lost nearly 16 pounds --- one measley pound difference. But the Strength Training group lost over 21 pounds of fat over the course of the 12 weeks. Think about it. There is so little difference between dieting and dieting plus cardio, that it is virtually impossible to justify the extra effort it takes to lose that one extra pound. In other words, thirty-six cardio sessions lasting up to almost an hour added up to one extra pound lost (gulp). But throw in the Strength Training, and Whalah! The Strength group showed weight loss that was far superior to the other two groups. In a moment we'll delve into what happens when the Cardio Training is altogether abandoned in lieu of Strength Training. To truly see concept in action (losing 100 lbs in 100 days, and getting strong in the process), you need to take a peek at THIS SHORT POST.
- WEIGHT LIFTING CHANGES BODY SHAPE / APPEARANCE FAR MORE THAN CARDIO EVER WILL --- OR CAN: Although this goes along with Body Composition above, they are certainly not the same thing. And let's be really honest with each other for a moment. While it's very true that people exercise for a wide variety of health-related reasons, many (arguably most) people exercise because they want to look better. I could have titled this bullet point, "Strength Training Creates Better _______ (insert the body part of your choice here --- Abs, Butt, Legs, Chest, Arms, etc). Other than getting leaner, most Cardio Training does very little (many experts would argue 'nothing') as far as body sculpting is concerned.
- WEIGHT TRAINING PROVIDES A SHAPELY ADVANTAGE ---- ESPECIALLY FOR WOMEN: Unfortunately, most women fear the very thing they should be doing --- lifting heavier weights with greater intensity. If you are one of those, But-I'm-afrad-to-bulk-up-I-just-want-to-tone-up women, change your mindset and change it now! Listen up ladies. If you want to change how you look and change it rapidly, you had better get far more serious about Strength Training. I seriously cannot tell you how many women I have counseled because their 10-12 mile-a-day walking program (yeah, that's what I thought too) was no longer producing the results they wanted -- namely weight loss and toning. Unless there is a serious health problem that would prevent someone from doing so, my advice is virtually always the same. KETTLE BELL SWINGS, multiple-joint power movements (squats, deadlifts, etc --- longer list at end of the post), heavier weights, Low Carb or Paleo eating, and more protein more often. Bottom line; if you want to change the way you look without clothes on, lift weights. Doing rep after rep after rep after rep with one pound padded dumbbells is essentially another form of Cardio Training. It will probably give you a good case of TENDINOSIS, but do very little to change your body's shape! Rather than belabor this point, I will point you to a post by Nerd Fitness's, STEVE KAMB.
- RESISTANCE TRAINING REQUIRES A SIMILAR EXPENDITURE OF ENERGY INITIALLY, BUT RAISES METABOLISM MUCH MORE FOR A MUCH LONGER PERIOD OF TIME: Unless you are doing some serious, serious, long-distances; weightlifting is going to burn as much or almost as much energy (calories) as cardio. It is pure myth that Cardio Training burns significantly more calories than intense resistance training. Although your 10 mile run may very well burn more calories than my 20-40 minute Crossfit-like workout, the current scientific literature shows that the increased muscle mass creates a boosted metabolism for between 24-48 hours post-exercise (38 hours is a number frequently bantered around). In other words, the increased lean body mass you create via Strength Training burns more calories at rest ---- way more. For whatever reason, this phenomenon is not seen in Cardio Training. Remember; Cardio Training will not only not increase lean body mass, in many cases it will actually decrease it! Quit concentrating on the number of calories you supposedly burn during your exercise session (as if any method of counting calories is really trustworthy and accurate). It is the calories you burn during the rest of the day that matter the most. In other words, stop focusing on how many calories you burn inside the gym and instead focus on how your body expends energy outside the gym.
- CALORIES DON'T REALLY MEAN JACK: A Calorie, by definition, is the amount of heat energy it takes to raise one cubic centimeter of water, one degree Celsius. If you want to know why your ENDOCRINE SYSTEM (and particularly Insulin) has a much bigger effect on your body composition than the number of calories you eat, READ THIS. Again, do not get hung up on calories. The number of calories you eat has little to do with the amount of weight you gain or lose. It is all about controlling your blood insulin levels by controlling your blood sugar. To understand this better, check out my 'self-experimentation' at the end of the post.
- WHEN IT COMES TO WEIGHT LOSS, INTERVAL TRAINING IS SUPERIOR TO STRAIGHT CARDIO TRAINING: The University of New South Wales looked at 45 overweight women over the course of a 15-week period. The study's subjects were divided into two groups: Group One did continuous bicycling, while Group Two performed mixed routines called "Intervals" (lots of sprints with regular cycling between the sprints). The interval (“sprint”) cycling group performed twenty minutes of exercise, while the continuous group exercised for 40 minutes. At the end of the study, the women in the interval group had lost three times as much body fat as the women in the continuous exercise group --- mostly from the legs and butt. Stop and re-read that sentence if your jaw is not on the floor right now! Interval Training (repeated sprints or extremely intense bursts of exercise ---- Burpees for instance ----- sandwiched between your normal exercise) is all about making your body adapt to change. This is always a good thing, no matter what kind of exercise we are talking about. The current scientific research says that Interval Training is far superior to standard Cardio Training in virtually every measurable category --- including fat loss. Be aware that programs like P-90X and "Insanity" are incorporating what amounts to Interval Training into their Strength Training. Despite Interval Training's superiority to Cardio Training................. (HERE)
- WEIGHT LIFTING IS SUPERIOR TO INTERVAL TRAINING: Although I have done a bit of it during my lifetime, make no mistake about it ---- I do not like to run for the sake of running. I would rather play racquetball, basketball, soccer, walk, KAYAK UPSTREAM, hike in the woods (HERE), or whatever else a person could possibly do to avoid running. Rather than belabor the superiority of Resistance Training compared to both Intervals and Cardio, I will leave you with Jason Ferruggia interviewing world renowned fitness expert, Alwyn Cosgrove, on the subject.
- CARDIO IS TYPICALLY HARDER ON YOUR BODY THAN STRENGTH TRAINING: While injuries can occur in all forms of exercise, I see far more chronic injuries (TENDINOSIS, FASCIAL ADHESIONS, PLANTAR FASCIITIS, SHIN SPLINTS, BURISITIS, PATELLAR TRACKING PROBLEMS, ITB SYNDROME, PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME, etc, etc) in people who are seriously into their cardio --- particularly runners. The intense and repetitive impact seen in running is a huge problem over time, frequently leading to DEGENERATIVE OSTEOARTHRITIS of the knees and hips (orthopedic surgeons absolutely love runners). And the repetitive motion patterns seen in running as well as other supposed 'low impact' Cardio Training methods such as biking, rowing, swimming, stair climbing, etc, frequently contribute to muscle imbalances and joint problems as well. Can you hurt yourself lifting weights? Absolutely! I have done it myself too many times to count. I am still trying to reprogram my pea brain. It can be a difficult thing for a Type A male to shed the more-is-always-better mindset.
- STRENGTH TRAINING IS FAR SUPERIOR AS FAR AS CORE STRENGTHENING IS CONCERNED: Core Strength is critical for overall health and fitness --- not to mention Spinal Health. It is also important if one of your goals is to live a pain-free life. One of the really cool things about Strength Training is that it automatically works your core (CORE STRENGTHENING PAGE). Unless you are doing some sort of hybrid training method (Zumba, P-90X, Kickboxing, etc) your Cardio Training will provide little benefit as far as strengthening The Core is concerned. For you hardcore cardio enthusiasts, kill two birds with one stone. Cut back a little bit on the cardio and add some dumbell work done on an Exercise Ball (HERE) and watch what happens.
- WEIGHTLIFTING INCREASES SELF CONFIDENCE MORE THAN CARDIO: I have believed for a very long time that a healthy body / body image helps to give people self confidence. It seems that the scientific community agrees with me. Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis of Ontario's McMaster University specializes in the field of exercise's effects on body image and self confidence. In a 2006 study, she looked at women's perceptions about themselves and their bodies both before and after 12 weeks of Strength Training. Not surprisingly, she showed that Strength Training made significant improvements in this area.
- ONLY STRENGTH TRAINING CAN REVERSE OR INHIBIT THE PROGRESSION OF OSTEOPOROSIS: Only "Weight Bearing Exercise" can positively affect OSTEOPOROSIS. Even though I myself would characterize walking or running as 'weight bearing', the scientific community does not see it that way. When it comes to Osteoporosis, 'weight bearing' exercise means you have to work your muscles against resistance of some sort. Unfortunately, walking and / or running do not cut it. Bottom line: stronger bones are created by strengthening the muscles that attach to those bones. What strengthens muscles? You already know the answer --- Strength Training!
- STRENGTH TRAINING CREATES A FAR BETTER HORMONAL ENVIRONMENT WITHIN THE BODY: One of the things that has really come to the forefront lately about hardcore Cardio Training (most specifically, running or intense walking) is that it significantly and chronically raises Cortisol levels. Cortisol is the body's primary stress hormone and is made by the Adrenal Glands. Due to dietary stress, emotional stress, or physical stress (i.e. running), the Adrenal Glands release Cortisol. In a worst-case-scenario; overstressed Adrenal Glands cannot keep up with the stress demand, and people end up with ADRENAL FATIGUE / FIBROMYALGIA. Unfortunately, one of the chief metabolic activities of Cortisol is to promote the loss of muscle (lean body mass), as well as causing fat accumulation --- particularly BELLY FAT. And once people begin having problems with one part of their Endocrine System, other Endocrine Problems begin to show their ugly heads as the whole thing begins to head South. This leads to a cascade of problems that almost always involve some form of Insulin Resistance (Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes). If you search the scientific literature, this scenario is beginning to get a lot of play right now, and is a good reason to either dump intense Cardio Training altogether, or at the very least, scale it way back. Conversely, if you look at the research on Strength Training being used to modulate the Endocrine System, it is very promising.
- IF YOU ARE GOING TO DO CARDIO TRAINING, YOU MAY WANT TO DO IT IN THE FORM OF A SPORT: For instance, MMA and Soccer are both sports that my son has been involved in for many years. When you get down to it, sports like these, as well as others like racquetball or basketball are really forms of Interval Training (fairly continuous exercise with intermittent bursts of super intensity / speed). They are not boring. They are not repetitive. They provide great cardiovascular benefits. Granted, you cannot simply put your running shoes on and go do these sports. The drawback with sports is the potential for injury. However, a number of Strength / Cardio / Interval Training Programs have come to the forefront over the past several years. Like I mentioned earlier, people are getting great results with training videos such as P-90X, Insanity, and a wide variety of the like. A QUICK NOTE ON BIKING / SPINNING: Biking has gained in popularity because when done properly, it is a true combination of Strength Training, Interval Training, and Cardio Training. See our testimonial from a three time world champion triathlete (HERE).
- I AM NOW CONVINCED THAT STRENGTH TRAINING IS SUPERIOR. HOW DO I ADD STRENGTH TRAINING TO MY CARDIO PROGRAM? This is not difficult. For those of you who are not currently performing some sort of exercise, this post will give you enough information to get started. For those of you who are training either exclusively training cardio, it will be tougher. What it will most-entail from you is a mindset change. If you are a hardcore runner, you will have to do some serious soul searching concerning some of the things you have read in this post. The most difficult thing for you (at least at first) will be to realize that cutting back on your Cardio Training is really OK. Unless you want your body to become a 'Cortisol Dump', DO NOT simply add Strength Training to a hardcore Cardio Training program. As always, I would strongly suggest that you never listen blindly to anything that anyone (self included) tells you, without first doing your own research into the matter.
- WHAT KINDS OF STRENGTH EXERCISES SHOULD I BE DOING? OK; you're convinced that Strength Training is superior to Cardio Training. The next question is what kind of exercises should you be doing? This is fairly simple to answer. Rather than wasting your time with lots and lots of individual exercises for each individual body part (bodybuilding), you need to be doing exercises that use as many large muscle groups as possible (squats, deadlifts, lunges, kettlebell swings, squat thrusts / burpees, inverted rows / pull ups, push ups, medicine ball slams, powerclean to press, etc, etc, etc, ---- there are lists all over the internet). By doing these sorts of exercises one after the other in a rapid circuit (or by substituting with the hundreds of similar exercises as taught by CrossFit or other similar groups), you'll build lean body mass (muscle), lose fat (fat), and develop exceptional cardiovascular strength (heart and lung capacity). There are several places to start. I have mentioned CROSSFIT already. You can read blogs like NERD FITNESS, STRONGLIFTS, MARK'S DAILY APPLE, or any number of others. It is important to realize that a great Strength Training Workout can actually be accomplished in a short amount of time with little or no equipment; using things you can either BUILD YOURSELF, or scrounge up from around your house (some CrossFit workouts last less than 15 minutes). The never-ending variety of exercises means that you won't get bored. And the fact that you can see such dramatic results so immediately, makes Strength Training its own motivation. Cut back the Cardio, add some high intensity low duration Strength Training to your program, and watch what happens. You'll be amazed.
One of the first large-scale experiments on myself occurred back in the mid 90's. Even though it was about to kill me, I was hopelessly stuck in the Fat Free 80's. After reading The Zone by biochemist Barry Sears, as well as Dr. Atkin's original book, I decided it was time to go 'Mad Scientist' on myself, and one day finally said, "chuck it". Although I knew in my brain that what these authors were saying was biochemically correct and accurate, I could not get over the fact that for 10 years of studying nutrition, all I had ever heard from seemingly everyone in the industry was that dietary fat was the Great Satan --- the thing that made people fat (HERE). So what did I do? For several weeks, I essentially went carb-free (basically the Atkin's Diet's Induction Phase), living on things like bacon, fried eggs, sausage, cheese, and other similar fare --- things I had mostly eschewed for the past decade. Guess what happened? Even though I was not really 'fat' to begin with (but more so than I care to admit), I lost about 10 lbs of fat without any changes to my training regimen. Other than the occasional binge (yeah, at times I fall off the wagon ---- eggnog is the thing that is currently calling my name), I have been low carbing ever since.
For my most current experiment, I decided to pull a Tim Ferris and do virtually no cardio (because of old injuries, I cannot do as much as I would like to do anyway --- the weirdest is that I can no longer ride a bike and have not done so in over a decade). Other than the occasional hike or short Kayak excursion, my workouts have consisted of nothing other than Strength Training since we closed the pool back in October. Because I can have a tendency to over-consume eggnog around Christmas time, and because my friend Rick is on an absolute rampage with his new workout, I came up with the HOLIDAY CHALLENGE to give us both some accountability and motivation to get through the Christmas season unscathed.
BECAUSE MOST MANUFACTURERS
AREN'T DOING IT THEMSELVES!
I would go one better than that. Know about the companies who manufacture the nutritional products that you or your family are taking. We use mostly Standard Process / Medi Herb products here in our clinic for many different reasons. They are, after all, the oldest nutritional supplement company in the United States, having been around for 4/5 of the past century. Their products also happen to be made with food. In other words, their products come from plant or animal sources. The herbal products from Medi Herb are the best in the industry. Period. There is an abundance of information on each and every product in their line. How important is all of this as far as your health is concerned? If you are still taking Synthetic Vitamins (always labeled "Natural"), you could be doing more harm to your body than good. For more information on this specific topic, please read our WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION PAGE.
By the way, one part of the above quote really concerns me --- the part about "pharmacists" being called upon to disseminate nutritional information. While I would love to see more pharmacists who are up on what herbs can do, it begs the question of who will be allowed to carry and sell Nutritional Supplements. What do most medical professionals (pharmacists included) know about this subject? Truthfully; darn little. And despite the fact that the AMA has repeatedly tried to make herbal supplements, vitamins, minerals, and other Nutritional Supplements 'prescription only' their efforts have thus far failed.
NOT ALL THEY ARE TOUTED TO BE
SOLVING HEALTH PROBLEMS OR COVERING SYMPTOMS?
A few days ago, my Blog Post was on ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIETS. I was commenting on an incredible article by one of the world's foremost experts on the topic, Dr. David Seaman. In his article, he made an interesting observation. He stated that, "'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...." Although we may be able to infer the meaning, his quote begs the question. What are "monotherapies"?
By using the term 'monotherapies' Seaman is essentially saying that the this-drug-for-that-symptom way of practicing medicine is not working. And he is saying the same thing about supplements. This is because, as he says, the affects of a poor diet are cumulative and chronic. In other words, the old saying you learned in grade school ("You are what you eat" is not quite accurate. According to what we now know about nutrition, a more accurate way of saying this would be, "You are what you ate". Your weight and health problems that you are struggling with today are a combination of the things that you were doing / eating 1 year ago. 5 years ago. 10 years ago. 30 years ago. Not just last night.
The thing is, we are easily fooled. We look in the mirror and do not realize how much weight we have actually gained over the years. We continue to eat TRANS FATS not realizing that they are actually being incorporated into every cell in our body giving us 'stupid cell membranes' that cause all sorts of health problems, including Diabetes. We fail to understand that UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR is responsible for almost every disease process we can possibly imagine. We do not understand the physical / neurological toll that GLUTEN takes on our bodies (and brains) over time. And if and when the light ever comes on and we realize that something has to give, what do most of us really want? Most of us go looking for a monotherapy.
What do people really want when they tell me they are interested in something for their (insert any health problem you choose here)? They want the magic bullet --- a (cheap) supplement that they can take that will take away all their symptoms --- yet allow them to continue living and eating in the same manner that got them to this point in the first place. It is exactly what people want when they go to their medical doctor --- only they want that magic pill instead of the magic supplement.
This is the failed promise of medicine ---- the pipe dream that says that we can somehow change a person's health by covering / modulating their symptoms. Sorry; that's not health. Supplements should be used to fill in the blanks of a healthy diet; not in place of a healthy diet. Or to make up for a CRAPPY DIET. To have a basic idea of what constitutes a healthy diet, simply take a few minutes to read the links on this post (I personally prefer the PALEO DIET). Like I said, supplements are great --- I both take them and recommend them. But there is no time like today to begin changing the way you eat.
A RECENT EMAIL CONCERNING
The Flouroquinolone class of ANTIBIOTICS are valued by the medical community because they are considered to be 'broad spectrum' antibiotics. This means that they kill all bacteria --- including the good bacteria that make up 80% of your body's Immune System. Unbeknownst to many, this class of antibiotics is not new, having been around since the early 1980's. Although the first tendon-related side effects of the drug were reported almost immediately after its release in 1983, tendon problems are becoming almost ubiquitous with this class of drug (HERE or HERE). Interestingly enough, all antibiotic use is associated with Tendinopathy, but Cipro and other similar-class antibiotics doubles the risk to approximately 1 in every 250 people taking them --- an ASTOUNDING NUMBER when you consider the number of people regularly taking these drugs here in the US.
The thing that is so sad about all of this is that according to organizations like the Infectious Disease Society of America, the American College of Physicians, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the most common use of antibiotics is for illnesses that are almost always viral in nature (HERE). Although information continues to pour forth telling doctors to change their prescription habits (HERE), the most common reasons that doctors prescribe antibiotics continues to be Upper Respiratory Infections (URI's), SINUS INFECTIONS, Sore Throats and Bronchitis ---- health conditions that are caused by viruses approximately 9 times out of 10 (HERE).
The thing about Viral Infections (like the vast majority of bacterial infections) is that they are self-limiting. This means that in 'healthy' people, the body's Immune System takes care of these infections just fine without any outside help (excepting homemade chicken soup). Taking antibiotics for a viral infection will not only not help you get better faster, they will actually weaken (destroy might be a better word) your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to the next infection --- an infection that you will undoubtedly be prescribed antibiotics for. Do you see a viscous cycle beginning to spin? Sickness ----> Antibiotics -----> Weakened Immune System -----> More Sickness ----> More Antibiotics -----> A Further Weakened Immune System -----> Still More Sickness ----> Even More Antibiotics -----> An Incredibly Weak Immune System -----> Repeat Ad Infinitum.
HOW DANGEROUS ARE CIPRO AND OTHER FLOUROQUINOLONE ANTIBIOTICS?
For anyone who has been through a Cipro-induced nightmare, the prognosis is iffy to say the least. A recent study by Drs Khaliq and Zhanel published in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease says that although these tendon weaknesses / injuries occur in an average of 8 days exposure to the antibiotics, they take anywhere from 2 to 20 months to heal. But the truth is, if you rupture an Achilles Tendon (the most common site of antibiotic-induced tendon rupture), it may "heal" but it will never be the same. And as you may have already guessed, the Achilles is not the only place this sort of tendon damage is occurring. Antibiotic-induced tendon damage has also been shown to affect the Rotator Cuff, Hands / Fingers (including the thumb), as well as the Knees.
HOW COMMON IS THIS PROBLEM OF ANTIBIOTIC-INDUCED TENDON DAMAGE?
In doing the research for this Blog Post, I came across a POST by Dr. Matt Mintz. Mintz's column was published in response to him finding out about the "Black Box" warnings that were to required by the FDA for drugs like Cipro. He essentially poo pooed the whole thing, saying that, "these problems are not life threatening" and then referred to the number of people injured as, "a ridiculously low number if one considers the millions and millions of prescriptions that have been written for quinolone antibiotics such as Cipro". The interesting thing about his post, however, was the rabid backlash he received from the general public. As I write this, there are 144 comments at the end of his blog post --- most of them from people who would like to have a firm face-to-face with the good doctor over his idea that tendon-based side effects are neither widespread nor serious.
If your doctor prescribes you Cipro or one of the other similar antibiotics, think twice about having that prescription filled (truthfully, run like the wind). Otherwise you may be sending me a letter similar to Randy's. As you may have noticed from our VIDEO TESTIMONIALS on Tendinosis, I successfully help lots of people with various TENDINOPATHIES. However, I really do not quite know where to start as far as helping people who have been damaged by Cipro. If you have a good solution, post it. For more information on this topic, visit CIPRO IS POISON.
WE KNOW IT HELPS PEOPLE WITH DEPRESSION
BUT WHY IS EXERCISE SUCH A HUGE PREVENTATIVE
STEP AGAINST VARIOUS FORMS OF DEMENTIA?
Study leader, Dr. Denise Head of Washington University in St. Louis looked at 200 healthy individuals (ages 44 to 88) with a family history of Alzheimer's, but no cognitive symptoms of their own. The doctors then did PET Scans to look for Amyloid Plaques (the tell-tale sign of Alzheimer's) inside the subject's brains. After looking at genetic tendencies, they looked at the Exercise Habits of the individuals in the study over the past decade. As amazing as it sounds, the genetically predisposed part of the group (they are 15 times more likely to come down with Alzheimer's), were able to bring their chances of developing Alzheimer's down dramatically with regular exercise. How dramatically? Listen to the study's conclusion. "physically active lifestyle may allow e4 carriers [those genetically predisposed] to experience brain amyloid levels equivalent to e4-negative individuals". In other words, exercise leveled the playing field, wiping out the 1,500% increase in genetically induced Alzheimer's ---- living proof that sickness and disease is much more related to EPIGENETICS than it is to genetics.
But not surprisingly, what else did the authors conclude? They realized from the questionnaires that hardly anyone was exercising enough to actually lower the Amyloid Plaques. This is not surprising and I do not want to dwell on it. Instead, let's discuss for a few moments the reason(s) that exercise can prevent Dementia.
ALZHEIMER'S AND PROPRIOCEPTIVE LOSS
The brain's center for deciphering the Proprioceptive Messages are in the CEREBELLUM via the Spinocerebellar Tract -- see above picture). Although the cerebellum was, up until recently, thought of as the "Lower Brain" (because it seemed to perform less-advanced functions in the body), we now know that this is far from true. Although the Cerebellum has some very specific functions related to what we call "lower functions", a healthy Cerebellum is critical to overall neurological health.
WHAT SORT OF SPECIFIC EXERCISES SHOULD
WE BE DOING TO DIMINISH CHANCES OF ALZHEIMER'S?
- INCREASED PROPRIOCEPTION
- INCREASED CEREBELLAR FUNCTION
If you understand what these two things are and what they do, it is not difficult to grasp some of the reasons we may want to stimulate them. And as cool as it may sound, increasing Proprioception is automatically going to increase Cerebellar Function. The big thing we want to do is to exercise in ways that forces us to develop our sense of balance (proprioception). Although most people think of balance as having to do mostly with the inner ear, this is not really true. Balance mostly has to do with Proprioception. Just remember that Proprioception is the number one input into the brain. When you move or perform coordinated functions, you are heavily stimulating the brain. Here is a list of simple exercises (and non-exercise related activities) that will help stimulate proprioceptive function.
- STRETCHING: Increases Proprioception via increasing Ranges of Motion. Firing off more proprioceptors / mechanoreceptors is typically a good thing --- a very good thing. Just be aware that if you are trying to stretch against Scar Tissue such as FASCIAL ADHESIONS, you can make yourself worse (HERE). When you stretch in yoga-lime combinations that involve balance, this is particularly beneficial.
- ANY EXERCISES (RESISTANCE-TRAINING INCLUDED) DONE ON AN EXERCISE BALL: Increases both balance and Ranges of Motion (HERE).
- WOBBLE BOARDS / BALANCE BOARDS / TRAMPOLINES: There are others, and they all work in similar fashion to the Exercise Ball to increase balance.
- WORKING OUT WITH FREE WEIGHTS INSTEAD OF MACHINES: This increases both balance and Range of Motion --- especially using dumbells with an Exercise Ball. HERE are some great examples.
- SCAR TISSUE REMODELING: Yes; the dramatic increases in Range of Motion can actually work just like exercise. This happens via two different pathways. First, it happens because releasing FASCIAL ADHESIONS causes a potentially huge increase in ROM, which in turn increases proprioception (it fires off many more mechanoreceptors). Secondly, by diminishing CHRONIC PAIN, we know we can help prevent (or possibly reverse) Alzheimer's-like Dementia. Click the links to understand why.
- NEW ACTIVITIES: Although I am speaking of physical activities here (one of my Functional Neuro Professors recently taught himself to play the banjo and speak German), we could be speaking of mental activities as well. Anything new is going to stimulate your brain. Remember the old adage 'Use it or Lose it'? It is as true for the brain as it is for the body.
- THINK TWICE ABOUT FLU SHOTS: We have known for decades that Flu Shots cause (or at the very least contribute to) Alzheimer's Disease (HERE).
- CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR: Critical to understand if you want to keep your cognitive ability into old age (HERE).
- WHOLE BODY VIBRATION: This hot modality is being touted as a 'cure all' for a wide variety of health problems. Why? Because your body's vibration centers are located in the Cerebellum. Stimulate the Cerebellum, and stimulate the body's ability to do all sorts of beneficial things --- including strengthening the control centers for the spinal postural muscles. More information on WHOLE BODY VIBRATION
MORE VIDEO TESTIMONIALS
A DAY IN THE LIFE AT SCHIERLING CHIROPRACTIC, LLC
I told Tracy on Friday that we were going to try and get a couple Video Testimonials for a blog post I wanted to do. Although we were crazy busy, she managed to get several. This is why practice is so much fun. All of these but Shelina's were shot last Friday during the course of a regular working day. Shelina's was shot yesterday.
MIKE CURTIS FOR HARLEY CURTIS
$150,000 NIGHTMARE TAKEN CARE OF
Mike brought his fifteen year old son Harley in for the first time, two weeks ago. Three years earlier, a horse that Harley had been riding rared up and went over backwards, ramming his back into the wall of a building and half crushing him. He immediately started having back pain that was exacerbated by a football injury one year later. About this time, he started having abdominal pain and digestive issues. $150,000 dollars, a cancer scare, and more doctors than you can shake a stick at later, Harley is 70% better (the pain and the digestive issues) ---- after just one single treatment.
SHELINA HELT -- CHRONIC NECK PAIN / BACK PAIN / HEADACHES
Several years ago, Shelina had a 4-Wheeler accident. Her injuries caused her enough pain that she was seeing a chiropractor (not me) 3x / week --- for three years. She said it was the only thing that would bring her any relief at all, albeit temporary. After treating Shelina over two years ago with SCAR TISSUE REMODELING, I had not seen her for two years until she came in with her husband and did this video.
STEVEN WILLIAMS -- LONG TERM PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME
Steven came to me a couple different times over the past few months complaining of severe but vague SI pain, low back pain, and sciatica. I adjusted him. He told me that these adjustments had not really helped, and that he wanted to try the Scar Tissue Remodeling I had suggested last visit. Instant huge change! Steven was at a place where seven years of pain had left him talking about shooting himself. This is the nature of PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME.
GIDGET BANKS -- CHRONIC HEADACHES
Gidget struggled with over a decade's worth of CHRONIC HEADACHES. After breaking scar tissue on her several years ago, she saw miraculous results --- immediately!
RICHARD SHOCKLEY -- KNEE / HIP / SHOULDER PAIN
Richard is a heck of a soft ball player (we used to play on the same team). Over the past dozen or so years, I have used Scar Tissue Remodeling to fix several different problems he has had.
TOM FISKE -- CHRONIC ELBOW ISSUE
Tom is one of my favorite patients. I call him "The Throwback". He is a John Walton like man who works hard (owns a logging outfit) and puts family first. Tom had been a patient for a number of years when I asked him why his arm would not straighten out (it was bent at about a 25 degree angle). Tom said it was due to a logging accident and nothing he had tried thus far had helped it. Here is a no-nonsense testimonial from a no-nonsense man. One treatment --- 10 or 12 years ago --- and Tom has no more elbow problems.
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