The natural treatment for pain that starts with your brain

Sci­en­tists agree: brain func­tion is cen­tral to the pain expe­ri­ence.

The brain cal­cu­lates and eval­u­ates all of the sig­nals that come from your body. The incom­ing sig­nals aren’t expe­ri­enced as painful until your brain decides they are.

That’s why opti­mal pain ther­a­py must mod­i­fy the way the brain process­es the sig­nals com­ing from your joints, mus­cles, and inter­nal organs.

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A favorite quote of Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster FullerYou nev­er change things by fight­ing the exist­ing real­i­ty.

To change some­thing, build a new mod­el that makes the exist­ing mod­el obso­lete.”

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Self-Care of the Low Back, Part 2

Putting the McKenzie principles to work for you

Impor­tant note: this arti­cle sug­gests some self-care strate­gies for low back pain. Many cas­es of low back pain can’t be effec­tive­ly addressed using self-care strate­gies. I’ve nev­er exam­ined you and I have no idea what the nature of your con­di­tion is. The infor­ma­tion I’m pro­vid­ing is for edu­ca­tion­al pur­pos­es only; com­mon sense dic­tates that the diag­no­sis or treat­ment of any con­di­tion should only be han­dled by your per­son­al health­care prac­ti­tion­er.

Please review Part 1 of this arti­cle before putting into prac­tice any of the strate­gies sug­gest­ed here.

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Questions and answers about joint cracking

What is happening when a chiropractor cracks your joints?

The sound of joint “crack­ing” occurs for near­ly the same rea­son that a cham­pagne cork pops.

Cham­pagne is a liq­uid that has a lot of gas dis­solved in it. The gas stays dis­solved in the liq­uid only because it’s bot­tled under pres­sure. Once the pres­sure is relieved by pulling the cork, a pop­ping noise occurs as the dis­solved gas­es pre­cip­i­tate out of solu­tion.

champagne bottle popping

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Did you see this article in the NY Times about chronic pain?

On June 22, 2016 the NY Times car­ried this arti­cle about the use of “alter­na­tive ther­a­pies” to alle­vi­ate chron­ic pain.

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The hidden side of fitness

When you think about exer­cise, you most like­ly think about your mus­cles. Your mus­cles gen­er­ate the force to push, pull, jump, lift, or pro­pel your­self through space. Along with your mus­cles, exer­cise also strength­ens your heart and lungs, which are need­ed to keep those mus­cles pump­ing.

But your mus­cles, heart, and lungs are only half the pic­ture. They’re use­less unless they’re enact­ing a coor­di­nat­ed action plan.

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Do You Get Wiser As You Get Older?

Along with oth­er body func­tions, your brain activ­i­ty slows down as you age. A sev­en­ty year old, even if she has a huge store­house of knowl­edge, has zero chance of beat­ing a 35 year old at Jeop­ardy, sim­ply because she won’t be able to process the infor­ma­tion in her brain and punch the buzzer quick­ly enough.

But is there a com­pen­sat­ing fac­tor for this slow­ing of pro­cess­ing speed in the brain? Do we gain wis­dom as we age?’ Con­tin­ue read­ing

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Chronic Pain and the Brain

Chron­ic pain is a sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic health prob­lem, affect­ing mil­lions of Amer­i­cans and incur­ring sub­stan­tial eco­nom­ic costs to soci­ety.”

That’s a quote from Karen B. DeSal­vo, MD, HHS act­ing assis­tant sec­re­tary for health at a recent sci­en­tif­ic con­fer­ence on pain.

The solu­tion to chron­ic pain can’t focus entire­ly on try­ing to fix the orig­i­nal source of pain – whether it be from an auto acci­dent, sports injury, a med­ical pro­ce­dure gone awry, or any­thing else.

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For Bone Density — Let Them Eat Prunes!

Researchers have yet to devel­op a real­ly good solu­tion to the epi­dem­ic of bone loss that plagues old­er Amer­i­cans.

Thin­ning bones are a major health issue. When bone loss is com­bined with a gen­er­al decline of bal­ance, mus­cle strength, and move­ment skill, seniors have an increased risk of falling and break­ing some­thing.

Adding extra cal­ci­um to your diet seems like good com­mon sense, along with extra vit­a­min D and oth­er trace min­er­als.  But unfor­tu­nate­ly there’s lit­tle research to show that these strate­gies help build a sig­nif­i­cant amount of bone.

Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal options have their lim­its, too, and intro­duce pos­si­ble side-effects.

That’s why I was sur­prised to encounter an arti­cle from 2011 that test­ed an entire­ly nov­el strat­e­gy to com­bat poten­tial bone loss — eat­ing 10 prunes each day.

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Do You Need Spinal Fusion Surgery?

The lat­est research from Swe­den eval­u­at­ed the use of dif­fer­ent types of surgery for patients with spinal steno­sis.  Some of the patients also had degen­er­a­tive spondy­lolis­the­sis.

One group of patients had decom­pres­sion surgery to alle­vi­ate the pres­sure on the spinal cord from the steno­sis.  The sec­ond group also had decom­pres­sion surgery, and in addi­tion had the affect­ed spinal seg­ments fused.

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