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Posted by on Oct 16, 2012 | 0 comments

Vitamins: What to Take, What to Skip

What you need, and how to get it

 

By Amanda Gardner

Vitamins and minerals are essential to any diet, and research suggests they may help prevent cancer and heart disease, not to mention other health problems. But reality check: Many studies have been conducted on vitamin-containing food, but not necessarily supplements.

In fact, if you eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fortified food, you’re probably getting all you need. But supplements do offer an easy, just-in-case form of health insurance.

Do you need them? Here’s a quick guide to beneficial nutrients and what they can do for you.

Beta-carotene

Found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and green peppers, among other foods, this antioxidant is converted in the body to vitamin A and is important for healthy vision, a functioning immune system, and good skin. But the evidence isn’t really there to recommend it for staving off cancer. In fact, a 2004 study found that supplements may actually raise the risk of lung cancer in smokers.

Bottom line: Skip the supplements if you’re a smoker, and try to get your beta-carotene from fruits and veggies, whether you smoke or not.

Calcium

Our bodies need calcium—mostly found in dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese—to maintain healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis.

Bottom line: Supplements aren’t a bad idea if you hate dairy (and can eat only so much kale and canned sardines), but you may want to skip them if you’re prone to kidney stones or are a female over 70. A 2010 report linked supplements to heart-attack risk in older postmenopausal women. If you decide to go with supplements, don’t take more than 500 milligrams at a time, and pair them with vitamin D to improve calcium absorption.

Folic acid

Folic acid, which prevents neural tube defects such as spina bifida in babies, is found in fortified breakfast cereal, dark green vegetables, legumes, citrus fruit juice, bread, and pasta.

Bottom line: Getting 400 micrograms a day of this B vitamin, and 600 if you are pregnant or lactating, is a no-brainer. That amount should come from food, supplements, or both, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The jury’s still out as to whether folate combats cancer, heart disease, or mental illness.

Iron

You may not love the foods highest in iron (liver and other organ meats), but the mineral is critical for the proper functioning of red blood cells and, therefore, the prevention of anemia.

Bottom line: Try to get iron from dietary sources, which also include lean meats, seafood, nuts, and green, leafy vegetables. However, you may need a supplement if you’re anemic, or your doctor might prescribe them before surgery, says Jessica Anderson, a registered dietitian with the Coastal Bend Health Education Center, at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, in Corpus Christi. Women, especially those who are pregnant or menstruating, might also benefit.

Multivitamin

There is limited evidence that multivitamins may help prevent breast cancer, and an NIH panel in 2006 wasn’t convinced that popping the pills was worth it. Neither is the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which said the only benefit could be to reduce cancer risk in people with poor nutrition. And a large 2009 study failed to find any beneficial effects of the vitamins for cancer or deaths among postmenopausal women.

Bottom line: Multivitamins aren’t a bad idea if “you’re on the go,” Anderson says. “But don’t expect major lifesaving benefits.”

Read the rest of this article at Health.com

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Posted by on Oct 9, 2012 | 0 comments

Renewing Summer Skin

With Labor Day behind us, trips to the beach and tanning session on the deck have become scarce. After a summer-long sun session, your skin might be looking bronzed, but a bit lackluster. Here are some tips to help getting your skin to glow (and I’m not talking a nice, red, sunburned glow).

Moisturize – Every minute that you spend out in the sun drys out your skin. A quality moisturizer will help restore the moisture you lost from all that time in the sun. To ensure that your skin stays clear of pimples, look for non-comedogenic to the bottle, which won’t block your pores.

Exfoliate– Using scrubs or masks will remove the dead, sun-damaged skin. It can also help brighten your complexion and help with hyperpigmentation or darkening.

Nourish– You’ve hear it before. Increasing your water intake can help making your skin look more hydrated – which equals more luminous. Eating a good variety of fruits and veggies, plus keeping up with your supplements, can help you glow from the inside out.

Read the rest of this article at MeccaMedical

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Posted by on Oct 9, 2012 | 0 comments

Can Stress or Emotions Cause Pain?

By Dr. Gray

I received a great question from a patient recently: She had read somewhere that stress and emotions were the cause of back pain, and wondered if I agreed or if it was true. Here is the majority of my answer.

While not the only cause of pain, the relationship between mental/emotional complaints or stress and how they lead to various physical conditions has long been known. The technical term for it is “psychosomatic,” or “psychogenic,” and refers to physical complaints being caused by mental/emotional problems. As our world has gotten busier and busier, and we have gotten away from stress-reducing activities in our daily life, these psychosomatic conditions have become much more widespread. Unfortunately, addressing psychosomatic conditions is difficult for several reasons.

First, psychosomatic complaints can be varied in their expression. Some people experience headaches when stressed, while others will develop back pain. Still others will suffer from indigestion… or high blood pressure… or neuropathy… or constipation… panic attacks… etc. Because of this highly variable presentation, it is difficult to determine exactly when our conditions are psychogenic in nature or when there is a true underlying disease process. In addition, there are no real tests that can be performed or evaluated to definitively diagnose psychosomatic conditions. Therefore, we are often in a position where we must run a multitude of tests and evaluations to rule out more serious complications or underlying disease processes. When these tests, inevitably, show no evidence of other causes, by exclusion the only plausible remaining diagnosis is “psychosomatic.” However, the very process of so many tests, the costs associated with these tests, and the continual disappointment of another test without an answer… only adds to the stress that is ultimately the underlying cause!

Second, when we have confirmed that stress is either the primary underlying cause or just a complicating factor, it is extremely difficult to get patients to comply with our recommendations on how to reduce that stress. Regardless of whether a physician is involved or not, a person who recognizes that stress is the culprit will often be unwilling (or unable) to take the necessary steps to correct their situation. How many of us can change occupations at will? Which of us can rapidly make money problems disappear? Who among us chooses when to deal with a dying parent? Which of us set our own work hours? And on and on… However, there are a great many things that we can do, but are often unwilling. For example: How many of us turn the television off and read a book in the evening? How many of us go to bed early with some soft, soothing music? How many of us choose nutritious snacks instead of sugary, carbohydrate-rich junk? Who do you know that closes their eyes and rests for fifteen minutes at lunch instead of checking in on Facebook? How many of us go for a walk in the evening instead of watching American Idol? Stress is largely a direct effect of the choices we make, our response to the consequences of those choices, and our willingness or ability to change those choices.

Read the rest of this article at Dr. Gray’s Straight Talk

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Posted by on Oct 4, 2012 | 0 comments

Flu Shot or Not?


 

It’s back. Flu season is here and everywhere you go, signs hang from store windows – “Flu Shots available” “Get your Flu shot here”.

During the 2010-2011 seasons, nearly half of all Americans received a flu vaccination. But the question and the controversy remains, is the flu shot really protecting us? Or is it really just a shot in the dark?

Advocates insist that the flu vaccine will protect the weak and keep the population primed for the dreaded day when we may be threatened by a true pandemic. However, critics argue that the vaccine is practically no better than a placebo, and in fact, there may be many safety concerns in getting a shot.

Over the years, scientists have become better at isolating specific influenza strains and producing updated vaccines. But it is still an inherently inexact science. We are simply unable to keep up with the speed at which viruses can morph and spread. So are we even aiming at the right target?  In even healthy populations, typical vaccines only protect against 3 or 4 strains, not the multiple strains that are constantly mutating.

But it is fear that keeps the population coming back for more – new shots each year to protect us. But do we really need to be so afraid in the first place? Experts explain that the incidence of influenza is greatly inflated because of an incredibly common confusion between the deadly influenza viruses and simple “influenza-like illnesses” (commonly miscalled the “flu”) that are more frequently attributed to other viral and bacterial agents.

Experts estimate that only about 7% of people with “influenza-like illnesses” actually have influenza.

The CDC has the media portraying influenza as a deadly threat, but data suggest that seasonal influenza is actually relatively rare and benign, with an incidence of less than 1% in the general population during autumn and winter months.

On average, experts estimate that perhaps 1 adult out of 100 vaccinated will get influenza versus a whooping 2 out of 100 for those who do not. So is the possible gain worth the risk?

While there are still certainly plenty of experts that highly endorse the influenza vaccine, take a look at what is in your shot:

Thimerosal  a mercury-based preservative removed from other vaccines in 2001

Polysorbate 80 – a chemical linked to infertility

Formaldehyde – a major human carcinogen

Octoxinol-10 – a chemical commonly used as a vaginal spermicide

THE GOOD NEWS? There are other ways to stay healthy this Flu season!

 

Natural Prevention

-Avoid contact with sick people

-When you are sick, stay home!

-Wash your hands frequently

-Keep your (germy!) hands away from your face

-Support your immune system with plenty of sleep and exercise

-Get plenty of sunshine (soak up that vitamin D)

Avoid antibiotics. Surprised? Antibiotics can weaken your natural defense system. By avoiding chemical antibacterial agents, you’re immune system will get smarter and work harder.

Get adjusted! What better way to support your immune system than a strong base. Use regular chiropractic adjustments keep your spine in line and your body healthy.

 

 

Yours In Health,
John J. Koc, D.C.
16429 N. Tatum Blvd., Suite 200
Phoenix, AZ. 85032

 

 
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Posted by on Oct 2, 2012 | 0 comments

TED Back Pain Exercise

We’ve heard a lot lately about the risks of Yoga.

Often people take parts of Tai chi or Yoga, reconfigure a few things and then offer it as their own: Tai chi chin is an example. It can be a way of offering a small piece of the discipline; it can either be done well or not.

Here is a great example of doing it well from the world of Yoga. As it relates to back pain, it doesn’t get much better. Take a look.

(Foreword by The Everette Chiropractic Center)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZcZenvWBlg&w=560&h=315]

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Posted by on Sep 27, 2012 | 0 comments

Brachial Plexus Stingers (also known as stingers or burners)


 

A Burner or Stinger is an intensely painful nerve injury which most often occurs in contact or collision sports like football, wrestling, and snow skiing. A stinger or burner is actually an injury to a group of nerves known as the brachial plexus that include the nerve roots extending from spinal vertebrae C5 and continuing through T1.  These nerve roots originate from the spinal cord and branch out from the spinal cord at the levels of the various vertebrae.  The injury is named for the “stinging” or “burning” pain that radiates (spreads) from the shoulder to the hand. This can feel like an electric shock or “lightening bolt” down the arm, and may be accompanied by a warm sensation.  Many of our patients at Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic(Augusta, GA) that come in with burner or stinger complaints are often athletes in high-contact sports.

What is a brachial plexus stinger?

A brachial plexus stinger is an injury to the nerve bundle that results in transient paralysis and paresthesia (loss of sensation) of the entire arm.  Although frightening for the athlete, the transient paralysis and paresthesia usually resolves quickly within minutes.  However, more serious brachial plexus stingers can result in damage to the nerve itself with neurological deficits lasting up to one year.

What are the symptoms?

Burners and Stingers are neck injuries that cause acute pain that feels like a burning, pinching, or shock running from the base of the skull to the shoulder or along the neck. Usually this pain is quite intense, but subsides quickly. In addition to an acute pain and shock from the shoulder down into the arm and fingers, there may be numbness, burning, or weakness in the arm, hand, and fingers.

What are the causes?

Although brachial plexus stingers have several mechanisms of injury, the most common is when the brachial plexus is stretched when the head is forced to one side while the opposite shoulder is depressed.  This “stretch” is enough to cause a temporary injury to the plexus resulting in transient symptoms of the shoulder, arm, and hand.

Read the rest of this article at GeorgiaChiropractic

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Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 | 0 comments

The Toxic Home

By Claudia Anrig, DC

No one can deny that industrialization has created quite a few conveniences. But with these modern-day conveniences have come modern-day health hazards – the worst being those that are potentially toxic to ourselves and our children.

Let’s learn more about the toxic dangers in your home and a few common household items that may be putting you and your family at risk.

Off-Gassing

This word was first used in 1966 to describe the release of gaseous chemicals from a solid. For instance,
the Construction Dictionary defines “off-gassing” as the release of airborne particulates, often from installed construction materials such as carpeting, cabinetry, or paint that can cause allergic reactions and other health problems in building occupants. Off-gassing, while commonly attributed to carpeting, can be caused by several unexpected sources. [1]

The top 10 sources of off-gassing in order of concern include common household items/products:
mattresses, stains and varnishes, carpet, insulation, flooring materials (vinyl, glues, finishes, adhesives), countertops, cabinets, particle board, paint strippers and cleaning supplies. [2]

The Environmental Protection Agency defines “off-gassing” as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. The typical symptoms of exposure to VOCs include eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, and/or worsening of asthma symptoms. For those who have long-term exposure to VOCs there is an increased risk of cancer, liver and kidney damage or central nervous system damage.

The elderly and very young, or anyone with a history of asthma, allergies or lung problems, will generally be more susceptible to the effects of off-gassing. With regards to the off-gassing of carpeting, flooring or other building materials, infants, toddlers and even pets may be more quickly affected due to prolonged, close proximity to the materials that are off-gassing.

Mattresses

Petroleum-based chemicals are used in some foam mattresses, and synthetic fabrics are treated with chemical fire retardants. Mattresses and bedding made using these particular chemicals can potentially cause reactions in people with chemical sensitivities. The majority of these chemicals have not been tested on young children and have rarely been tested for long-term exposure.

Dr. Jim Sprott, a New Zealand scientist and chemist, has studied the possibility of a relationship between off-gassing baby mattresses and SIDS. [3] Chemical compounds containing phosphorus, arsenic and antimony have been added to mattresses as fire retardants and for other purposes since the early 1950s.

For the concerned consumer, there are actually many good choices for non-off-gassing mattresses, but it’s important to research for a knowledgeable retailer. One should not assume that the average salesperson has been trained appropriately or has optional products to offer. For those without a latex allergy, many memory foam mattresses made with latex are gas and chemical free; however, it should be specified that they are chemical free. Not all memory foam mattresses are the same.

Others might consider a 100 percent organic cotton mattress that are made intentionally without chemicals and are not treated with chemicals at the factory. For those concerned about the firmness of a typical cotton mattress, consider a pure wool or rubber mattress topper. [4-5]

“Green” Light Bulbs

Highly efficient fluorescent light bulbs are supposedly environmentally friendly, but this is one of those times when “going green” comes with a caution. These bulbs contain mercury and are not supposed to be disposed of in the garbage, but instead at an approved recycling facility or a toxic waste dump. If these bulbs are going to be thrown in the trash (because approved facilities are rare and may not be available in your community), they are to be sealed and double-wrapped in plastic bags.

References:

  1. Volatile Organic Compounds in Your Home.
    Minnesota Department of Health.
  2. 20 Off-Gassing Culprits
    (CalFinder.com, online post)
  3. Sprott TJ.
    Cot Death – Cause and Prevention. Experiences in New Zealand 1995-2004 (special report).
    J Nutr Envir Med, Sept 2004;14(3):221-32.
  4. Chamberlin C. 10 Steps to an Organic Bedroom.
    TheCleanBedroom.com (originally published on Organic.com, January 2006).
  5. Prevent Toxic Off-Gassing When You Can’t Afford to Buy an Organic Mattress.
    Published on HealthyChild.com.

Read the rest of the article at Chiro.org

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Posted by on Sep 20, 2012 | 0 comments

Do YOU like to play?

Whether you just like to toss a ball around on the weekend or are professional athlete, there are a few things that all players have in common. We all want to perform our best in a game, and that means that we are all also capable of enduring some pretty bad injuries.
Injuries happen, pure and simple. The way in which you treat your injuries determines how fast you can recover and how quickly you can get back on the field (pool, rink, court, etc.).
Chiropractic offers a balanced approach to the treatment and the healing of sports injuries. By using chiropractic adjustments to return spinal segments to their normal mobility and physical therapy to help the supportive tissues (muscles, tendons, & ligaments), chiropractic care can help the injured areas return to their normal function faster.
But can’t we just avoid injury in the first place?
Not likely.  It is possible that you can have a mechanical problems within the body without even being aware of any symptoms. If that is the case, then not only will you be prone to injury when pushing your body with athletics, but on a day-to-day basis you will not be functioning correctly.  This means that you cannot perform at your maximum capability while at rest or play. While no injury is completely avoidable, regular chiropractic care can help keep your body in tip-top shape and help to prevent and minimize the damage from injuries.
So next time you get out the football or pick up a bat, think it over.  Do you want to preform your best and keep your body strong?
Stay safe and have fun! 
Call us at (480) 703-1834 to find out about our “Friday Night Lights” special for your school’s athletes and booster club.
Yours In Health,
John J. Koc, D.C.
16429 N. Tatum Blvd., Suite 200
Phoenix, AZ. 85032

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Posted by on Sep 13, 2012 | 0 comments

Getting Treated for Torticollis (Twisted Neck)


Torticollis is a term used to describe a handful of conditions affecting the neck.  They look similar but have different causes.  Torticollis typically involves a tilt of the head, reduced range of motion and sharp pain in the back of the neck.  Often the patient can turn their head one way, with limitation and have restricted lateral flexion as well.

What Is Torticollis?

Torticollis is a form of dystonia (prolonged muscle contractions) in which the neck muscles contract involuntarily causing the head to turn. Torticollis may occur without known cause (idiopathic), be genetic (inherited), or be acquired secondary to damage to the nervous system or muscles. It may develop in childhood or adulthood.

Congenital torticollis (present at birth) may be caused by malpositioning of the head in the uterus, or be prenatal injury of the muscles or blood supply in the neck. Torticollis is a condition that may cause mild neck discomfort in infants and affects approximately 2% of newborns. There is no way to prevent this condition, it is a result of the position of the baby in-utero, too little amniotic fluid, trauma at birth or lack of space while in-utero. An infant will exhibit symptoms that include the head and neck tilted to one side. Although it looks uncomfortable, torticollis produces no severe pain. Generally, torticollis will not be noticed immediately as a newborn will have a typically wobbly head. Within the first week to the first few months, however, the condition will become more noticeable and may be diagnosed by a pediatrician.

What Causes Congenital Torticollis?

Torticollis is not a diagnosis but rather a sign of some other underlying disorder. Leading obstetric and pediatric medical journals states that most torticollis seen in new babies is due to birth trauma. Torticollis following birth stress will typically appear at birth or within the first several weeks following birth. Congenital torticollis is usually due to misalignment (subluxation) of the first few bones in the neck and/or injury to neck muscles resulting in a “knot or spasm” in one of the neck muscles. Birthing trauma is the most common cause of torticollis. These traumas are commonly found in a breech delivery and the use of forceps and/or vacuum extraction aids in the delivery process. Additionally, a prolonged abnormal position in the womb during pregnancy (intra-uterine constraint) can cause injury resulting in torticollis at birth or shortly thereafter. According to recent medical research, misalignment of spinal bones in the neck, known as subluxation, is responsible for up to 50% of congenital torticollis. The subluxation irritates nearby nerve structures and causes the muscle spasm and postural changes characteristic of torticollis.

Read the rest of this article at Georgia Chiropractic

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Posted by on Sep 11, 2012 | 0 comments

Top 5 Chiropractic Myths Busted [Infographic]

 

There are a lot of misconceptions about chiropractors floating around on the internet. Many of these misconceptions stem from misunderstandings of what chiropractor do and why they do it. This infographic was created to sort out a few of the rumors.

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