About ten years ago I learned about a new treatment method for people with low back problems – lumbar decompression with the DRX-9000.
The DRX-9000 is a big fancy machine that was developed to give people an alternative to surgery for herniated lumbar discs. Now I have many grateful patients who are thankful for the technique.
But there are many different varieties of low back pain. Not everyone has a clear cut situation involving herniation of a lumbar disc. In my experience, there are two other groups of patients for whom lumbar decompression is helpful.
The calorie counts on food labels are all wrong.
The way we measure the calories in food goes back to the nineteenth century. Here’s the basic method that’s been used (with only minor modification) since then: you burn the food to a crisp and see how much chemical energy is released.
The problems with this oversimplified method were described in the September, 2013 issue of Scientific American. Based on the author’s analysis, the official calorie count of foods varies wildly from the number of calories actually absorbed into your body.
Growing, preparing, and eating food each involve many steps and each step introduces variables. Here are some of the reasons that calorie counts can vary:
I have been practicing chiropractic for more than 33 years.
In addition to my extensive clinical experience, I’ve deepened my knowledge by keeping up with the scientific literature as best as a single person can.
Here is what I’ve come to understand:
A full complement of restorative sleep is an essential health ingredient.
Without adequate sleep your mood gets nasty, you’re less productive at work, and you might even snap at your best friend. To make matters worse, you gain weight, stress your immune system, and increase your pain levels.
Poor sleep is just terrible in every way. That’s why I’ve incorporated the development of restful sleep as part of Step 7 of Dr. Lavine’s Ten Step Program to Conquer Chronic Illness.
Consult a physician before beginning any program of physical inactivity.
I stole this ironically-worded phrase from an article I just read “Sedentary Living is A Dangerous State of Being” by Martha Peterson in Pain Relief Through Movement.
The article does a refreshing job of expressing some of the themes I repeatedly stress with my patients, such as the need for a high level of physical activity and the sheer biological absurdity of the sedentary life.
I’ve long recommended working out your muscles eccentrically (doing negative work) in rehabbing from a muscle or tendon injury. Briefly, eccentric contraction means focusing on lowering the weight slowly instead of on lifting it. (Check out this article if you need a review.)
But eccentric loading of a muscle does create more stress on the tendon. Some experts worry that, if done injudiciously, eccentric exercise can lead to injury.
Once again, research proves that investing in your brain pays big (and long-lasting) dividends.
As reported in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, individuals who received a brief course of cognitive training continued to enjoy the benefits ten years later.
Dealing with stress is a universal fact of modern life. It comes at you from every direction – at work, when commuting, and from family and social relationships. Even when you try to sleep you’re battling the stress of noise and light pollution.
Handle stress effectively and life is enjoyable and exciting. Plus your health gets a big boost.
In contrast, an ineffective stress response leads to low mood, loss of zest for life, a suppressed immune system, and a host of other health woes.
Many experts believe that unrelenting stress is the major cause of today’s epidemic of chronic diseases – everything from heart disease to cancer to depression. That’s why health gurus from A to Z recommend “stress reduction” and “stress management” methods to dial down the stress volume.
Most of these methods are effective if you follow through with them. But not necessarily as effective as they could be. That’s because they’re not always based on understanding the fundamental physiology of the stress response.
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One of the major themes emerging in 21st century medicine is the master role your brain plays in health.
Each week we learn more about the intricate ways the brain integrates data about the immune, endocrine, and chemical balance of your body. And the signals it sends out to modify the activity of your heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, small intestine, and all the rest.
Because of the central role the nervous system plays, your state of health depends on the signals that flow into and out from the brain via the peripheral nerves. That’s why the diagnostic tests that doctors of chiropractic perform have a dual purpose: they chart your pain and body movement problems while also checking brain function.
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Researchers continue to explore the possible benefits of the forefoot-landing running style.
Here’s one of the latest findings: forefoot landing reduces the amount of stress on your knees and may help prevent running-related knee problems.