Does a Chiropractor Only Adjust People?

posted in: blog post, Chiropractic | 0

Most people think of a chiropractor as someone who adjusts you and then sends you on your way. Whether that’s the result of an experience they have had or just a perception, they believe there isn’t much more to it than that. While adjusting is important, we believe it’s only a small piece of the puzzle. There are many other aspects that we address with every client.

Chiropractor

We look at soft tissue health and function, how the nervous system is functioning, and whether your muscles are firing properly and in the right order. We also address functional movement as well as analyze posture with a digital program to see how it may affect activity, movement and basic core support structure. Nutritional and hormone health is also very important, and we have many tools to address these needs as well.

Ultimately, we optimize the entire system, and don’t just focus on one thing.

The reason we are able to do this is because I have expertise in multiple areas and not just in spine health.

I started my career as a strength trainer. This allowed me to focus on training the body to perform better and focus on physical health. I then received my doctorate from chiropractic school, which taught me about joint movement, nervous system functions, nutritional health, disease processes, and overall human health. During and after chiropractic school I spent many years training in Active Release Therapy, which focuses on treating the soft tissue of the body – which is essentially everything that’s not bone.

I’ve also completed studies in functional movement training which focuses on identifying dysfunctional movement patterns and how to address them. This also included looking at muscle firing patterns and how dysfunctional patterns can cause major problems.

More recent post-grad specialized training has been in functional nutrition, functional endocrinology, and sports medicine. This knowledge allows me to analyze a client’s complete health through comprehensive lab testing and create customized programs to make sure the body is working from the inside out.

When you take a look at our practice, it includes all of these elements. Each is important for your overall health. Although adjusting the spine is an important piece, it’s only a small piece. Our goal is to take a holistic view of your health and help you improve it.

If you are interested in learning more, please give us a call at 949-387-0060.

14 Medications to Zero

pillsA few weeks ago I heard a great story about a lady’s return to health that made me both happy and frustrated all at the same time. While checking out at Nordstrom’s the woman that was assisting me took down my email address and noticed that ‘Dr.’ was in the spelling. She continued to ask what kind of doctor I was and when I told her I was a chiropractor her face lit up as she told me how her chiropractor was the absolute best and was the only doctor she currently uses. This, of course, makes me smile, but also begs me to get more information. The explanation of her return to health was really summed up in one sentence. She said, “Two years ago I was on 14 medications and now I am on none!”. 14 MEDICATIONS!!!!! It is almost difficult to believe that someone can continue to be handed prescriptions at a rate so high. She said that she finally sought out this chiropractor because she was not satisfied with the direction of her healthcare and didn’t feel right taking that many medications every day. This particular chiropractor took control of her care and in two years she lost 50 pounds and was able to eliminate 14 medications from her life! That is just plain awesome. Can you imagine the negative side effects that 14 medications have on your system? Not only each individual one, but there also must be some negative interactions between these meds. Now, this story is really not to say how chiropractors are the best thing in the world. This could have been any other healthcare professional, like a dietician, a naturopath, an acupuncturist, or even another medical professional. The point is that she was able to turn her life around so drastically and truly control her own health.
This really made me smile as I walked out of the store, but this satisfaction was quickly joined by a feeling of frustration. Clearing 14 medications from the system and returning the body to a healthy state is a massive victory, but it begs the question of how someone can possibly be instructed to take all these medications in the first place. Was this really the direction that her previous healthcare provider(s) thought was in her best interest?? Surely there were multiple medical professionals who each lent a hand in boosting her prescription numbers. And maybe even 3 or 4 of these medications were given temporarily and not meant for long term use. However, this would still leave the patient with at least 10 daily medications and potentially no planned date for ending their use. Unfortunately, this has become a common scenario in today’s healthcare system; partly because multiple doctors are used to control a patient’s health and partly because many medical professionals rely on medications as their primary tool for ‘health’. Luckily, this patient decided to seek out advice from another health professional whose goal would be to fix things without using a prescription pad. My hope is not that we eliminate the use of all medications as there are extremely useful and necessary in many instances. My hope is that we use them only when other methods fail to provide solutions or if the body just cannot sustain health without them. I’m sure there are many stories just like this, but probably even more people that COULD have stories like this if they decided to finally take control of their own health.

How We Get Bigger, Stronger, Faster

Athlete

Ultimately, the goal of any sport is to get either bigger, stronger, or faster, or a combination of these. While this seems obvious it is beneficial to take a careful look at just how we achieve this so that we can improve each stage. When simplified, there are really four basic steps to get these results:

Stage 1: Put the body through a training stress

Stage 2: Remove stress from the body

Stage 3: Allow the body to adapt and grow

Stage 4: Improved ability for your body to handle that specific training   stress

While this is a very simplistic version of how the process occurs, it is basically how we do it. Most people would look at this and say “No —-, sherlock!”. However, they never really take the time to dissect this. The old-school (and unfortunately still fairly prevalent) thought process is focused almost completely on Stage 1. You get better simply by training harder and longer. While training duration and intensity does play a key part in improvement, it is by no means the only factor. In fact, many times this ‘train harder’ mentality is what promotes injury and decreased athletic performance. Instead, athletes should be focusing more of their attention on Stage 2 and Stage 3 in order to really maximize the Stage 4 process of getting better at their sport. While on the surface this seems fairly easy, it actually becomes a very complex conversation when trying to analyze how to best remove all stressors from the body. You must remember that the body has to deal with all stressors, not just the loads from training intensity. So, the times that you are not actually training does not mean that you have completely removed all stress from your body. Stress comes in many forms and can be present in either physical, chemical, or emotional states. The physiological responses from the body are exactly the same whether you are running from a tiger or getting verbally slaughtered by your boss. Both put the body through stress and make growth much more difficult. For example, the Type A businessman (or woman) whose stress levels are constantly elevated everyday never allows his (her) hormonal system to calm down. The problem with this is that the body’s high-stress hormonal environments are designed to be catabolic (breakdown of the body) rather than anabolic (building up of the body). So, remaining in this high stress state never really allows the athlete to fully experience Stage 3. Not only does this stunt growth or improvement, but it actually puts the athlete at a high risk for overtraining, which is shockingly common. Let’s also say that this person does not sleep very much either, given the hectic work schedule and emotionally stressful position. If an athlete is not sleeping very many hours or is unable to sleep consistently through the night then his/her ability to recover from workouts is dramatically reduced. Sleep is really where our bodies are allowed to regenerate and grow. Growth (or getting bigger, stronger, faster) can only occur when the body is given the proper environment to do so. I could go on and on about various examples that hamper an athlete’s ability to really maximize Stage 2. However, to keep this article from becoming too lengthy I’ll just list some for you. Here are just of few of the other things to consider when trying to maximize stage 2 and your attempt to ultimately get bigger, stronger, faster:

  • Improve sleep quality and duration
  • Avoid all processed foods and added sugar
  • Normalize hormone levels to avoid catabolic (breakdown) environments
  • Eat enough foods and a wide variety of them
  • Ensure inflammation (external and internal) is minimized
  • Supplement the body with key ingredients to ensure growth is maximized
  • Utilize stress-management techniques
  • Avoid prescription medications if possible (consult your doctor first!)
  • Maximize physical recovery through self-practices and/or soft tissue therapy
  • Normalize functional movements to ensure training is not providing excess stress
  • Listen to your body! Know when rest is the proper answer for the day
  • Track resting heart rate or HRV to avoid overtraining
  • Include recovery practices WITHIN your training plan as if it’s part of your training

The reason that these, and others, are so crucial is that if not addressed they not only don’t allow Stage 3 to happen effectively, but they also begin to really limit how effective Stage 1 can be. We all know that you must train hard in order to get better. However, if not done properly the harder you train, the worse the potential injury! Train smarter, not harder. You’ll be surprised how big, strong, and fast you can become if you really pay attention to the ‘other stuff’.

How We Help You Optimize Your Health

Last week, we talked about the different types of people who we normally work with – those who are looking to be healthier in general, and those who have a particular problem they are trying to fix.

This week, I am diving in a little deeper on what our process is like to work with us when patients are looking to optimize their overall health.

Wellness

The first thing we encourage everyone to do is to attend one of our workshops. The way we approach health is often new or different than what most people have heard in the past. Sitting in on one of our talks will help you get pre-educated on our approach and philosophy. It will also help you get a better understanding of how our process works.

From there, if our patients are interested in the program, we like to set up a consultation. During this consultation, we work together to get a comprehensive picture of your health. This includes your medical history, goals, past failures at getting healthy, what has worked in the past, and what you are looking for.

We also complete metabolic assessment forms. These give us an idea of which systems in your body are performing well and which ones aren’t. Ultimately, it helps us customize a protocol specifically for each condition.

Lastly, we look at any lab work they might have had recently. This will allow us to look at a variety of things, including various hormone levels in your body.

After we have reviewed all of these metrics, we utilize all of that information to determine what would be an appropriate program to help them reach their goals.

When we are deciding which program is best, it’s not a one size fits all. Every person is unique and because of that, we customize our programs to each individual. We spend a lot of time up front figuring out what it is that you need so that we start each person off in the right direction. A well-rounded approach is an integral part of how we work with our patients.

These plans aren’t just about fitness and nutrition (although those are a big part of it). We also work on many other factors that might be affecting your health. One example is stress. You can be super fit and eat really well, but if you are experiencing high levels of stress, it’s going to have an impact on your health. By addressing the underlying factor, we can help you create a more balanced life that translates into better health.

Once we have decided on the program, we walk you through the entire process. Ultimately, we are here to help you reach your goals. If something in the plan isn’t working, we adjust accordingly and keep moving forward. We are here to hold your hand, cheer you on, and help you get back on track if you are struggling. However, the end game is to not only get you back to health, but to empower you with the knowledge to take care of your own health for the rest of your life!

If you are interested in learning more, please call us at 949-387-0060.

How Does Your Gut Measure Up?

Healthy Gut, immune system health, momentum sports therapyNo, we’re not talking about the size of your gut.  We’re talking about the health of your entire Gastrointestinal System (GI System).  All the newest, cutting-edge research in health and wellness points to the health of your GI system as an unbelievably important part of your total health. 

Poor gut health drastically reduces the health of your immune system as 70% of immune system function is housed in the GI System. 

Also, many of the bodies most important hormones, such as serotonin, are mostly made within the cells of the GI system, so poor gut health equals poor hormone function.  If the hormones are off and the immune system is not working efficiently how can you truly be healthy?   How can you expect to handle the constant bombardment of stressors in your lives if the gut is struggling to stay healthy?  The answer is, you can’t!! 

The immune system keeps us healthy and it doesn’t matter if the stress is from your work, your family, your injuries, or your training, your body responds exactly the same.  So, the only true way to maximize your ability to handle all of these stressors is to make sure that your GI System is healthy and fully functional. 

The really shocking thing is that symptoms associated with poor gut health are today seen as commonplace and many people just consider them ‘normal’.  Some of these include bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, acid reflux, skin rashes, chronic skin outbreaks, low energy, upset stomach, and food intolerances just to name a few. 

We have spent far too long trying to mask or deal with these symptoms, rather than trying to figure out why they are occurring.  None of these symptoms are normal and should never be occurring, contrary to popular belief.  Most people consider GI symptoms as just a nuisance and something that they can handle, but the truth is these are a signal from your body just like pain is a signal.  These signals mean that the system is not performing correctly and something needs to be tuned up or habits need to be changed.  You can continue to drive with a flat tire, but doesn’t it seem like a better idea to figure out what caused the flat and fix it? 

This should be the same mentality we have with our bodies.  If we start paying to attention to symptoms as warning lights for our bodies, we can be proactive in making sure that our health is optimized.  On the other hand, if we wait until things drastically decline, we may be putting our overall health in danger and creating a much bigger problem than was necessary. 

With all the new research coming to light on the importance of the GI System to our overall health, it is smart to start looking at digestive problems with more of a critical eye. 

For more information on how you can assess and improve your gut health, contact our office today for your FREE consultation at (949)387-0060.

What is Neuromuscular Therapy?

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) is a specialized form of manual therapy. A therapist trained in NMT is educated in physiology of the nervous system and its effect on the muscular and skeletal system. It is a structurally integrative, comprehensive program of recovery from acute and chronic pain syndromes, which utilize specific manual techniques, stretching and breath work to eliminate the causes of most neuromuscular pain patterns. It can be used for prevention, injury recovery and general well being. 

massageBy definition, NMT is the utilization of static pressure on specific myofascial points to relieve pain. This technique manipulates the soft tissues of the body (muscles, tendons, and connective tissue) to balance the central nervous system. In a healthy individual, nerves transmit impulses (which are responsible for every movement) to the body very slowly. Injury, trauma, postural deficiencies or stress cause nerves to speed up their transmission, inhibiting equilibrium and making the body prone to pain and dysfunction.

This type of therapy often concentrates on painful spots within a tight muscle or its fascia, the strong connective tissue surrounding muscles, called trigger points. These tender sites can cause pain by shortening the muscle or causing referred pain patterns, which is a pain in a location other than the trigger point site. By releasing these adhesions and trigger points the nervous system is able to stabilize low levels of neurological activity to maintain normal function and overall health.

NMT treats the following elements to alleviate pain and dysfunction within the soft tissue:

Ischemia: is a decreased blood supply to the connective tissue. This is very common within tight muscles. This can lead to hypersensitivity at the site of pain. Ischemic compression can cause a rush of blood to the area. Pressure is then reapplied and released until pain is lessened.

Nerve Entrapment: is when soft tissue or bone applies pressure to a nerve. This can often lead to intense shooting pain along that nerve.

Postural & Biomechanical Distortion: is an imbalance of the muscular system resulting from improper movement patterns, stress or trauma. The movements of both the longitudinal and horizontal planes are faulty.

Poor nutrition and hydration: is an deficiency in the health and well-being of the body.  Food is our medicine and if we don’t take care of that area the body begins to be thrown out of balance and therefore pain begins.

Distorted Breath Patterns: One of the first signs of stress and anxiety is a constricted breathing. When the body starts to take shallow short breaths instead of breathing at a natural pace, it is near impossible for one to reach a relaxed state.

At Momentum Sports Therapy our NMT therapists not only eliminate the pain your having but educate you on ways to prevent the recurrence of your specific injury or distortion. We want you to be well! NMT fills a void left by traditional health care by analyzing soft tissue causes of pain.

According to research approximately 80% of pain systems are considered idiopathic, which means there is no known cause.

We believe that treating the body as a functional unit we are able to treat symptoms that have eluded other well qualified health professionals. Our training and experience is a way to unlock the hidden sources of pain.

To experience the skill of one of our Neuromuscular Therapists contact our office today at (949)387-0060.

How We Work with Patients

At Momentum Sports Therapy, our practice is built around functional health.  We don’t simply focus on your spine or muscles, we take many different factors into consideration when working with our patients. 

functional medicine, healthy without drugs, momentum sports therapyThere are five pillars of health that we focus on with our patients when we work with them:

Fitness – you can’t be healthy if you don’t exercise. Fitness is vital to being healthy.

Neuromuscular System – this includes your nervous, muscular, and skeletal systems.  If any of these are injured or not working, it will affect your overall health. 

Nutrition – simply put, your health is derived from what you eat.  If you don’t eat healthy, nutritious food, your overall health will suffer.

Hormones – there are over 600 hormones in your body and they control different functions.  If any of these are dysfunctional, it can throw off your health.   

Detox Pathways – your body naturally rids itself of the toxins it is exposed to every day.  If these pathways don’t function properly, it can be detrimental to your health.

When people come to meet with us, they usually fall into two groups – those who are looking for assistance due to pain and those who want to just improve their overall health. 

People who are looking for physical help are usually in some kind of pain.  We put together a plan to help them not only get out of pain, but also to fix the primary cause of the injury.  We focus these plans around the first and second pillars – fitness and neuromuscular health – but we also incorporate the other pillars into the plan as well.  Sometimes, we find that the other pillars can be contributing to the physical health of the patient as well.  For example, chronic dehydration or poor diet can be contributing to poor muscular health and excessive inflammation in the body. 

The other major group of people are those who want to be healthier overall and are looking to progress to a healthy lifestyle.  Maybe they are suffering from chronic illness, looking to get off or avoid medications, or maybe they simply want to optimize their health.  We look at all five pillars and create a plan to help get them healthier.  This includes fitness tests, lab testing, detailed history, consultations, and functional movement tests, among other factors.  We compile what we find and then put together a plan for getting that person healthier.  However, the most important aspect of this is the desire of the patient to optimize their health.  If they aren’t 100% committed to the process, it won’t work the way it’s supposed to. 

If you feel that you fall into one of these two groups and are looking for help, I encourage you to call us and set up a consultation.  The first meeting is free and we can discuss what options you have. 

In the end, our number one goal is to get all of our patients as healthy as we can.  By looking at these five pillars, it gives us a holistic view of a persons health, which allows us to not just manage pain, but achieve optimal health.

Banned in the European Union, but “Safe” for You?

We are all bombarded with chemicals each and everyday.  From our foods to our cleaning products, it is impossible to avoid all chemicals in our environment.  However, it is wise to be aware of those that create havoc and destruction in our bodies. 

One such chemical is Propyl Paraben.  Used as a preservative in our foods, this chemical has been shown in studies to disrupt the body’s endocrine system, and more specifically, affect the reproductive process in humans.  These numerous, convincing studies caused the European Union to ban the use of this preservative in foods in 2006, almost a decade ago. 

Propyl Paraben banned by EU, Nutrition Orange County

However, the FDA continues to list this chemical as “Generally Recognized as Safe.”  So, why this massive disconnect?  If research was conclusive enough to cause the European Union to take drastic steps, then why aren’t we even being warned?  

Further research into Propyl Paraben was shown is has definite effects on hormone signaling and gene expression.  According to the article titled Propyl Paraben: Are You Eating an Endocrine Disruptor?, written by the EWG (Environmental Working Group), “Proper endocrine signaling is particularly important during critical windows of development—while in the womb and during childhood and adolescence. Chemicals that disrupt hormone signaling can lead to adverse effects on development, reproduction, and the neurological and immune systems.” 

In fact, research and opposition became so evident with this chemical, that in 2012 Johnson and Johnson “voluntarily” decided to remove this chemical from all of its baby products.  It seems that if a company as large as Johnson and Johnson can spend millions to remove this from its product then it must not be good for human consumption or use. 

Yet, many products continue to use it and the general public is mostly unaware of what it is and what are the potential ramifications of its use.  Furthermore, in “2010 research led by Antonia Calafat, Ph.D., a respected chemist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported that 92.7 percent of Americans tested had propyl paraben in their urine (Calafat 2010).” 

We obviously cannot understand all of the potential side effects of chemicals and additives that we use in food.  However, we should feel secure that when studies show harmful effects to humans, and many countries and large corporations have taken action steps against a proven-harmful substance, that our FDA will follow suite.  Sadly, this is not the case. 

Instead, we need to all be our own advocates for health.  While we cannot know everything in the world of nutrition and health, which is constantly changing, we can take steps to learn each day.  To learn more about Propyl Paraben, its harmful effects, and the foods which still contain the chemical read more on the Environmental Working Groups website.  Better yet, subscribe to their newsletter to learn about their mission to keep our foods healthy and safe.

GMO Apples Approved by USDA and FDA

posted in: blog post, Nutrition | 0

Recently, the USDA approved a GMO apple to be safe for the ecosystem in which it is grown.  This apple is genetically modified simply so that it doesn’t turn brown after you cut it.

usda approves gmo apples, consequences of gmo apples, nutritionist orange county

Even more recently than that, the FDA has approved it to be sold in stores, restaurants, and institutions without the need for it to be labeled.  Because the FDA review was a voluntary review, they only made a suggestion that it should be labeled, but there are currently no guidelines for doing so.

Even more surprising than all of that is there have been no tests or studies on what this genetically modified piece of fruit will do to humans.  All of this has happened despite the many petitions and protests by people and organizations that are trying to protect the general public from being unknowingly subject to GMO foods. 

Ultimately, this is just a small battle in a larger war.  Food isn’t being labeled in such a way that consumers know what they are eating.  Most labels confuse people or trick them into thinking something is healthier than it actually is.  In this case, there will be no labels on a piece of food that is genetically modified, giving the consumer no real choice in the matter.

The problem with all of this is that if we, as consumers, don’t know if we are eating a genetically modified piece of food, how can we protect ourselves against the potential danger it imposes?  A genetically modified piece of food has the potential to negatively impact our health over time.  If we are introducing food that our body doesn’t recognize, it can cause our immune system to kick in and start attacking it.  If our body is exposed to this over time, it can have a dramatic affect on our health. 

Beyond all of this, why are we even trying to modify the apple like this?  Is it really that big of a deal if an apple turns brown?  Can’t we just eat it in one sitting?  Did we really need to alter it so that it looks just as pretty 30 minutes after we cut it?  The idea of introducing GMO food simply for cosmetic reasons seems very unnecessary and silly, especially considering the health risks that are possible. 

If you want to avoid unhealthy foods, the best thing you can do is eat as much whole food as possible and avoid anything packaged.  Preparing your meals only using fresh ingredients will help improve your nutrition tremendously.  And when you buy your food, purchase as much organic and/or locally grown food as possible.  There are literally farmers markets every day of the week in Orange County, so getting fresh local food is very accessible. This also helps you eat foods that are in season, which means more nutrients and less preservatives than purchasing food that is out of season and had to be shipped from another country. 

With all of this going on, it’s more important than ever to be educated about what you eat.  There is a lot of research you can do online to learn about eating healthy.  Additionally, talking to someone who specializes in health and nutrition to educate you can be extremely valuable.  After all, what you learn you will use three times a day for the rest of your life. 

If you are interested in learning more about how to improve your health and learn more about nutrition, please give us a call at 949-387-0060.  We offer a free consultation to new patients to assess their needs. 

The Benefits of High Intensity Exercise

Most people understand that exercise is good.  Even beyond the physical benefits, there are a lot of other benefits that come from exercise.

One of the biggest benefits of exercise is that, if done right, it is an effective catalyst of hormone production – growth hormones, testosterone, nitric oxide and many others.  These hormones are crucial for allowing our body to heal and thrive.  And the good news is that you don’t have to workout very long to get these benefits.  You just have to workout the right way – by doing high intensity exercise.    

benefits of high intensity workouts, high intensity interval training, orange county chiropractor

High intensity workouts are becoming very popular right now.  It’s the basis for a lot of new, popular gyms.  Their philosophy is wrapped around the fact that your body benefits the most from high-intensity exercise and it doesn’t have to take and hour 6 days a week. 

Lets give an example of a high intensity exercise you can do to help the production of these beneficial hormones. 

A lot of people go to the gym and will get on the treadmill and run at a medium pace for 30-40 minutes.  While this is certainly good for you, it doesn’t do as good of a job of producing these hormones as if you do a high intensity exercise.  Even just 3-5 minutes on the treadmill at a high intensity can give you more benefits than 30-40 minutes at a medium pace. 

Defining high intensity looks a little different for everyone, but a high intensity workout should get your heart rate to 85% or higher of your max heart rate.  This means that you are working out just about as hard as you can for 3-5 minutes.  A rule of thumb for figuring out your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age.  If you are 35, your maximum heart rate would be 185.  An even easier way to monitor this is to do the ‘talk test’.  If you are working at high intensity you cannot speak at the same time.  If you can talk to someone while exercising you just aren’t going hard enough.

When you are just getting started with this, you might not be able to workout at a high intensity for 3-5 minutes.  If that is the case, do interval training and go 30 seconds as hard as you can followed up by 30 seconds of rest.  Do this for 3-5 minutes and just increase as you get better.  Best ways to do this is to increase the times you are going hard and decrease the times that you are resting.   

It’s important to note that this type of exercise shouldn’t necessarily replace your normal workouts.  If all you did was workout once per day 3-5 minutes at a high intensity, you wouldn’t be very strong or very fit.  However, you would be getting the hormonal benefits of working out.  This is not a replacement for your normal workouts, but a way to get your body to work better with as little time as possible.

The goal should be to build in high-intensity workouts into your normal routine.  By doing this, you can get better results and ensure you are getting the benefits of these hormones from your workouts. 

If you can train smarter, not harder, you can get the same benefits or more benefits from your workouts and even workout for a shorter amount of time. 

If you are interested in learning more about getting the most out of our workout and how we can help, please contact us at 949-916-9742.  We offer a free consultation to help you understand how we can help.

1 2 3