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Posts for: March, 2016

By Emily
March 30, 2016
Tags: diet   inflammation  

Inflammation plays a vital role in the human body's immune response - without it, we would not be able to heal. According to Medline Plus, the body's inflammatory response occurs when tissues are injured by bacteria, trauma, toxins, heat or any other cause. When your cells are in distress, they release chemicals to alert the immune system, which sends its first responders (inflammatory cells) to isolate the foreign substance or heal the tissue. As these events unfold, blood vessels leak fluid into the site of the injury, causing the telltale swelling, redness and pain.

However, when inflammation remains a constant physiological response, your body no longer has the ability to turn of the inflammatory response and it starts damaging healthy tissue in your body. Many major diseases that plague today's society - cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression and Alzheimer's - have been linked to chronic inflammation.

So, how can you stop this cascade of events before it even starts? It all begins with your gut health.

 

"Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to quell inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator." - Harvard Health Publications

One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation may be foods or beverages that include anti-inflammatory effects. Consider including fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and healthy oils in your diet. A more natural, less processed diet can have a noticeable effect on your physical and emotional health. Include the right foods in your diet and, not only are you reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but you are also improving your overall quality of life!

Stay tuned next week for what specific anti-inflammatory foods you can include in your diet for your best gut health!


By Dr. Doug Williams
March 24, 2016
Tags: anxiety   depression  
Today's post is personal to me and likely to many of you, as well, either for yourself or a family member. Anxiety and depression are rampant in today's society. The shear volume of information coming at us through computers, phones, television, radio and billboards is enough to max out anyone's patience and mental reserves.  Add to that the effects of the standard American diet, side effects of prescription and over-the-counter drugs and the shear pace that life moves, and it is no wonder our brains want to climb out of our heads and run away!

Anxiety and depression are multi-factor conditions that have been linked to low levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers produced in your brain that stimulate your "happy place." Now, you may be wondering why a chiropractor is talking about anxiety and depression - isn't that what prescription drugs are for? There is definitely a place for medications to manage these conditions. However, after working with a number of people over the years who have taken these prescriptions, many of them admit that, while the prescriptions helped, they just "didn't quite feel like themselves" when taking them. This led me to search out 3 keys to unlocking anxiety & depression for our patients.
 
Key #1: Movement
Several years ago, while I was attending a conference, one of the speakers talked about a book called Spark by John Ratey M.D. a clinical psychologist at Harvard Medical School. In his book, Dr. Ratey explores the relationship between exercise and brain chemistry. He found that exercise increases the effectiveness and production of neurotransmitters, and went on to describe how exercise actually improves anxiety, depression, addiction, ADHD and more! While the book does compare different types of exercise to effects on brain chemistry, the overarching theme is that MOVEMENT is key to unlocking the grip of bad brain chemistry and the subsequent conditions related to it. All of your joints and muscles are hard-wired to your brain, and activating them will stimulate your brain and all related chemistry. This is why many people often have a sense of relief and well-being after getting a spinal adjustment. Getting up and getting movement will give you the same effect. You can find more articles on optimizing your brain health here.

Bottom Line: Get up and move more, and do it often!

Key #2: Sun Light.
Exposure to sunlight often gets a bad reputation because of skin cancer. However, sunlight increases the body's production of Vitamin D, which is related to serotonin levels. If you've read this far, you know that serotonin is related to brain chemistry and depression! This article on Web MD focuses on the relationship between sunlight and depression, specifically regarding SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but the principle applies year-round. It has even been indicated that sunlight may be superior than medication, in some instances.
 
Bottom Line:  Aim for at least 20 minutes per day of sun exposure!

Key #3: Remember The Good Times
This one was a new one on me. Reflecting on good memories helps to increase the production of serotonin, while focusing on bad situations will actually decrease it. Recent breakthroughs in brain imaging (scans) has found that how and what we think about can actually alter our brain chemistry and, thus, our moods. While the science behind this is still very new, the wisdom has been around for a long time. The Bible in Colossians 3:2 encourages us to "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." Apparently, what is good for the soul is also good for the mind!
 
Bottom Line: When your thoughts are taking you down a dark road, reset and think about happier times and events!

In conclusion, anxiety and depression are complex and debilitating conditions, and may require medication and psychological management. But, for many of us who seem to cycle up and down without going down too deep, working on integrating the 3 keys listed above may help even out some of the bumps in the road. Like many of our recommendations, routinely working on these keys will have the best long-term benefit. So go ahead, take a walk outside and think about the good times!
 
Here's to your health!
Doug Williams, D.C.
Care Chiropractic, Lafayette

With spring right around the corner, we know you're eager to get your hands in the dirt and bring your garden bed back to life! But before you start digging, be sure to take these tips into consideration to keep your spine in tip-top shape.
  1. Stretch beforehand. This warms up your muscles and prepares them for the hard work you're about to put them through.
  2. Lift with your legs, not your back. To do this:
    1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
    2. Bend your knees and tighten your core.
    3. With your head in an upright position, use your legs to lift the object, keeping the object close to your body.
  3. Keep objects and work surfaces close to your body, while keeping a long, flat back. Avoid rounding and hunching your back.
  4. Avoid twisting your back. Turn by pivoting your feet, and keeping your shoulders, hips and feet moving in the same direction. When working in place, make sure your shoulders, hips and feet are all facing the object you are working with.
  5. Change positions often to avoid repetitive motion and to balance the muscles you're using.
  6. Pace yourself and remember to take breaks. Stay hydrated!

By Dr. Doug Williams
March 07, 2016
Who hasn't had a headache? It is not uncommon for people to have an occasional headache, or with obvious illnesses like the flu. However, if you have been dealing with headaches on a frequent basis (ie, weekly or daily), here are a few suggestions to help alleviate your headaches.

First, the Nasties: When evaluating a patient, clinicians look for what I call the Big Nasties - these are serious, life-threatening issues that need to be handled very carefully and often quickly. In the case of headaches, brain tumors or strokes are the two Big Nasties. Fortunately, they are rare and have specific signs.

Pain from brain tumors is often accompanied by vomiting, light sensitivity, dizziness, and vision problems, and it persists constantly. Strokes are usually accompanied by paralysis, difficulty speaking or swallowing, and may have a fairly sudden onset. If you think you may be dealing with a stroke or bain tumor, seek medical attention immediately.

Common Categories: After brain tumors or strokes have been ruled out, classifying headaches moves pretty fast. By far, the largest and most common categories of headaches are Migraines and Tension Headaches.

The pain-producing tissues of migraines are thought to be the nerves and blood vessels of the brain, while the tissues involved in tension headaches are thought to be the nerves and fibers of the muscles. Migraines and tension headaches may differ in how they present, but when it comes to triggers and causes, they have a lot in common. When working on solutions for pain, it makes the most sense to address the most common and easiest triggers first.

Below, you will find 5 of the most common triggers associated with both migraines and tension headaches, and some simple solutions. Don't miss the answers that are right in front of you!
 
 
  Trigger Solution


Too little sleep

  Shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep per day. Naps are okay.



Too little water

  Drink 8 8-oz glasses of water per day, or more if you     drink a lot of soda or other caffeinated drinks.

Too little movement or exercise

 
  Movement and exercise unlock joints and muscles,   increases blood flow to areas that have been tight         from repetitive postures, and turn on brain chemicals   that help the whole body relax. Vigorous exercise is       good, but a 10-minute brisk walk is often all it takes to   start feeling better.

Too long without eating

 
  This can vary with the individual, but if you are in the     habit of going a long time between eating, try                   snacking (nuts, lean meats, fruits, or veggies) every       few hours.

Not enough magnesium


  Magnesium has long been known to affect the nerve,     muscle, and vascular systems. It is used to treat blood   pressure, menstrual cramps, heart issues, post-               exercise soreness, anxiety, ADHD and a whole lot         more. Interactions with other medications are        
  uncommon and related to: bisphosphonates,   antibiotics, and some blood pressure medicine. You     can increase your magnesium intake by eating more     magnesium-rich foods. If you are dealing with
  headaches fairly frequently, try taking magnesium as
  a supplement. Most magnesium supplements are in
  100gm tablets - taking 2 in the morning and 2 in the
  evening would be ideal. If you are getting too much
  magnesium, you may have loose stools; if that is the
  case, reduce your intake by half.

 

What Makes the Most Sense: The solutions listed above aren't limited to just improving headaches - they can improve your overall health! Try incorporating the above solutions into your daily routine over the next 3 or 4 weeks and see how they affect the frequency and duration of your headaches. If you are still having trouble or are concerned that you may have some other cause for your headaches, don't hesitate to contact our office - we are here to help!