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.

Inflammation Decreases Recovery Potential

Inflammation is the roInflammationot of all evil. In fact, we know that it’s a part of every disease process known to man. The tricky thing is that it can be caused by many different things within the body and if it is present it dramatically hinders the body’s ability to perform properly and recover efficiently. Inflammation can come from overuse, trauma, gut dysfunctions, food sensitivities, improper eating patterns, hormone dysfunction, and many other things. The trick is to figure out if there is inflammation
present, what various things are causing it, and what strategies are needed to eliminate it.

Unfortunately, most people only think of inflammation in situations where they can see visible swelling. A sprained ankle, for instance, creates obvious swelling and the damage is apparent. If the ankle were to stay swollen for many months it would make you concerned and wonder why it wasn’t healing. You would probably then take appropriate steps to seek medical advice in order to determine why the swelling remains and what to do to eliminate it. However, inflammation can be present in your body and causing damage without any obvious signs. This can be the worst kind because it goes for months, sometimes years, undetected and causes continual irritation and destruction. One of the most common causes of systemic inflammation is gut dysbiosis. This is basically just a dysfunction or imbalance of the gut environment. There are many things that can cause this, but all of them cause gut irritation and increased levels of inflammation. Some common things that cause gut inflammation are chronic medication use, food sensitivities, chronic constipation, viruses, excessive bacterial growth, infections, inefficient enzyme production, alterations in acid production, as well as many others. What’s concerning about this list is that many of these are very common. Most people don’t consider GI symptoms like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, etc., to be anything serious. The reality is that these symptoms are telling you that something is wrong! And if these are causing inflammation then your ability to recover from workouts and the stressors of life is drastically reduced.

Another common situation that we see in our office is the dysfunction of the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland is responsibly for many hormones, but most notoriously for cortisol, known as our ‘stress’ hormone. When cortisol is dysfunctional it can not only promote inflammation, but it can also cause problems with sex hormone function and your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar effectively. These things can further lead to promotion of inflammation. Since our collective stress levels have never been higher in the history of mankind, this is an important area to normalize in the body. Especially for athletes, whose use of cortisol is increased due to the stress of training on the body. Training, by nature, creates inflammation on its own, so it is important to know if your ability to handle and recover from that stress is diminished. In summary, we all know that inflammation is a problem when it is allowed to continue excessively in our bodies. What we need to realize is that there are many things that can cause inflammation that don’t signal us to a problem as clearly as a sprained ankle. Uncovering and eliminating other more subtle areas of inflammation allows your body to recover faster and more efficiently. After all, recover is simply the name of the game! Improve recovery ability and you can train harder and longer!

Heart-Attack or Rib Dysfunction?

heart attack, rib dysfunction, is my rib out

This blog article is a personal story, and thus a little long.  A couple months ago I was struck with severe pain in the right side of my chest.  There was no trauma or single incident that caused the pain.  It gradually began one day and became increasingly severe over the next couple of days.  Like many of my patients, the only thing that I could recall as potentially being the cause was some hard workouts the week prior to the pain beginning.  This not only caused severe chest pain, but it also began to cause other symptoms that most people would not correlate to a musculoskeletal injury.  I began to have acid reflux, heartburn, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.  Sleep became difficult and work became touch-and-go with pain increasing throughout each work day.  Luckily, because of my training and profession I was about 90% sure of the diagnosis.  However, there was a small part of me that gave some thought to the potential of the pain stemming from the heart.  While my pain was on the right side, all of the other symptoms made me question my diagnosis.  Had the pain been on the left side as well then I would have had more of a questions in my mind and the heart consideration would have been stronger.  However, I was pretty confident that my pain was due to a rib dysfunction on the front of my chest.  So, like a good chiropractor, I made an appointment with my chiropractor and mentor.  Although, because of a family history of heart conditions I also made an appointment with a trusted medical doctor for the following day, should the rib adjustment not prove to be the root of the pain and other symptoms. 

One visit to my chiropractor (some ART and adjustments to the ribs and spine) and the pain was 80% decreased and was isolated to just chest pain, instead of being accompanied by reflux, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.  More treatments and self-care were still needed to fully recover, but luckily my diagnosis was correct and the visit to my medical doctor was not necessary.

To this day, I still marvel at the fact that anyone else in this situation who was not a chiropractor would have probably went immediately to their medical doctor.  And this would have been the right decision as it is never wise to procrastinate on medical care if heart complications are suspected.  However, the unfortunate thing is that they would have went through extensive (and expensive) testing only to find that ‘everything looks good’.  Blood tests, an EKG, an x-ray, and maybe even a stress test would show that the heart is healthy.  They would be told they were fine and sent home with some prescription meds to mask the pain.  So, thousands of dollars later the patient would not be given much direction on how to solve the real problem and would be sent home to just let time heal everything.  Unfortunately, many times ribs do not just ‘fix themselves‘ over time and pain will last until the rib is corrected with a chiropractic adjustment.

I guess the point of this article is to show that there is a place for all health professionals in healthcare.  Medical professionals are fantastic at what they do.  In severe, acute-care situations, we have the best in the world.  However, when none of the serious conditions are confirmed with medical testing, the default treatment should not just be to pull out the prescription pad.  Especially in this situation, where relief of symptoms would not occur until a chiropractor correctly fixed the rib dysfunction.  No health professional knows everything, nor should they pretend to know everything.  In the event that the cause of a patient’s pain or symptoms is unknown, it is never OK to just dismiss their symptoms and assign the best known drug to mask all symptoms.  Just as I would expect any competent chiropractor to refer a patient out of his or her office should they need medical attention, so too do I expect a medical professional to refer to a competent chiropractor, or other therapist, should the root cause of the problem not be discovered with their knowledge base.  My rib dysfunction just reinforced this concept in my mind as this particular case would have cost a patient a significant amount of money and anxiety, and resulted in nothing but a recommendation to take harmful medications.  If your doctor will not be an advocate for your overall health, please take your health into your own hands and seek out a healthcare professional who cares enough to figure out the underlying cause of your symptoms.  While medications can be very helpful in many circumstances and can definitely help modify pain, it is up to the patient to not be satisfied with that as a treatment protocol or way to fix anything.  Having a team of health professionals that you trust is imperative, not only in the medical world, but also in the world of conservative care.  After all, the vast majority of symptoms that you will encounter in your lifetime will not necessitate true medical care. 

Supplements are a SCAM!

posted in: Nutrition | 0

nutritionist irvine, nutritional supplementation, supplements are a scamHopefully this article title got your attention, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.  It is true that the supplement industry is not regulated which allows everyone and their brother to make products that will sell.  So, yes, some (in fact many) of the products out there are a scam because they are made with cheap materials and may not even contain what they claim. 

However, it really frustrates me when I hear my patients say that their medical doctor told them that supplements are a scam and really ‘don’t do anything.’  This is just nonsense.  Especially coming from a health professional that knows little to nothing about nutrition.  This is not a slam on medical doctors, it just means that they were not trained at all in the topic of nutrition during their intense medical schooling.  They are extremely talented in their particular fields, but don’t have the knowledge base within the field of nutrition to make these suggestions. 

Just recently I had a patient tell me that their doctor said supplements were useless and a waste of money, yet told the patient that he wanted him to continue to take his ‘prescribed’ Vitamin D and Vitamin B12.  Doesn’t that seem a bit odd?  In fact, since we now know how powerful supplementation can be with these two supplements, there are now prescribed versions.  Another silly notion since high quality versions of these supplements are very inexpensive. 

In my clinic we use a very potent Vitamin D liquid supplement that costs about $20 for a 6 month supply!  Why on earth do we need a prescription for this?  Strictly because there is money to be made so the insurance and pharmaceutical machines wants a piece of the profit.    

The real truth is that high quality supplements can have a very powerful and potent effect on health.  The trick is knowing which ones to use, at what dosage, and for what duration.  The goal is not to be on endless amounts of supplements forever, but rather to use targeted supplementation to correct dysfunctions within the body and help your systems to return to normal function.  If this is done correctly you can then remove these nutritional aids and keep the body healthy with proper nutrition and lifestyle alterations. 

However, knowing the benefits of many supplements doesn’t mean that you should run out and just start taking the latest and greatest supplements.  Just because we know the vast benefits of things like Vitamin B12, Turmeric, Omega-3, etc, doesn’t mean that everyone should just start taking all of these for the rest of their life.  Some supplements can be beneficial as a daily addition to a proper diet, but many others can be eliminated as long as a proper diet is followed.  Supplements are just that, a supplement to a diet that should be full of all the major macro and micro nutrients that we need for a healthy life.  Sometimes our intake of proper foods fail or become inadequate and this is when supplements can be very helpful.  We also must understand that the nutrient value of foods today is much less than foods even just 15-20 years ago.  Many studies show that unless you buy organic foods you may be losing up to 25% of the nutrients found in food!  This on top of the herbicides and pesticides that are used on non-organic products can make it difficult to reap all the health benefits from some foods.

There are a few ways that you can see what supplements may be right for you:

  1. See if you feel better when a supplement is added.
  2. Use proper lab testing to determine which supplements may improve your health.
  3. Understand why/when you take a certain supplement and only use it when your diet is lacking.

Just know that using supplements can be a very effective way to improve your health.  I have seen many patients show significant improvements once we introduced some targeted nutrition and supplementation advice to their daily routines.  So, supplements can most definitely be a scam, but only if you buy cheap versions.  High-quality supplements, used with proper timing and dosage, can be very powerful additions that just might make that difference in your health!

Want to learn more?  Contact us today at 949-387-0060.

Tom Brady GETS IT

posted in: General Health, Nutrition | 0

tom brady healthy eating, tom brady food interview, nutritionist irvineIf you won’t take my word for it, maybe you will listen to Tom Brady. 

As a guy trying to etch his name in the ‘Best Quarterback to Ever Live’ category, he must know a thing or too about health, right?  Well, whether he does or not, his comments and views on the garbage that our food industry produces is SPOT ON!! 

Take a listen to this audio link of Tom Brady being interviewed on a radio station and see one of the reasons he has become such a dominate force in football.  Not only does he lash out at the food industry for ‘poisoning’ our children, but he also claims that his ability to return to football after a devastating injury was due solely to his decision to ignore the thoughts of the medical doctors and turn to holistic health to get him healthy. 

This is the second major quarterback in the NFL (first one being Aaaron Rodgers – read the article) to speak out and state that the major reason for the ability to play at a high level was mostly due to eating a very clean diet and paying attention to wellness principles. 

It is NOT because of the performance enhancing drugs.  

It is NOT because of the best surgeons in the world.

It is NOT because of the best medications in the world. 

It is, in fact, achieved by simply taking care of your body with the right foods, the correct amount of rest, and avoiding things that we know trash our bodies. 

Can eating whole, organic foods actually provide that much health and performance benefit??  The answer is ABSOLUTELY YES!!!  In fact, Tom Brady has received lots of press lately for saying that he wants to play another 10 years and ‘dominate‘ football until 2025! 

Listen here:  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/11/03/tom-brady-fights-junk-food-industry.aspx

Off Season is Peak Training Season

As the year is winding down, so has the triathlon season.  While this brings a much needed rest period it is also the best time to optimize your health and prep for a new season of training. 

training in off-season, how to get stronger in off-season, sports therapy irvine

Getting your overall health in peak shape can pay huge dividends when training resumes for the next season.  It is not only important to stay strong and maintain base mileage, but it is also crucial to make improvements in the vitality of your immune system, adrenal system, and gastrointestinal system. 

During the season these systems get beaten down by the sheer volume of training and without proper attention these deficits can linger on into the next season and make peak training near impossible. 

If you really want to get better next year you need to pay attention to what you do in the off-season.  This means strength training, but more importantly getting as healthy as possible!

Strength Training

Strength training is always something that is highly neglected, in the endurance athlete world especially, but always pays huge dividends in performance.  Having sufficient strength to hold proper postures is very important for every sport, but in endurance sports it becomes more of an issue since that posture needs to be held for long periods of time. 

If these postures cannot be obtained or held for any duration then energy is significantly wasted and power output will drop significantly.  So, while practicing the particular skill of the sport is very important, your potential to convert those training hours into the most power output using the least energy is always the goal. 

Proper strength training is the only way to maximize that equation.  While many people don’t take this very seriously, at least they realize that it is something that would probably help performance if done correctly. 

Getting Healthy

However, the biggest bang for your buck can many times be just getting as healthy as possible.  You must remember that your ability to train hard rests solely on your ability to recover from the previous workout.  This recovery potential not only determines your ability to train hard, but it also determines much of your injury prevention.  

Most injuries occur because of overuse which means that use of an area overwhelms its ability to heal and recover.  While this seems pretty obvious to most people, what they fail to realize is that your overall health greatly influences your ability to recover. 

This means making sure you are eating right, sleeping well, your hormone levels are in normal ranges, your GI system is not dysfunctional, and your inflammation levels are low.  Difficult and long seasons tend to exhaust our systems and create dysfunctional hormone levels and high levels of inflammation.  Having the proper testing, like blood, saliva, and stool testing, allows you to know what systems need to be addressed and gives a great roadmap for how to address those systems quickly and effectively before the next season begins. 

If done properly, this rejuvenation of your internal systems will allow you to feel better, recover quicker, train harder, and ultimately get faster and stronger.  This can be the missing link for many people and can be the difference between a season of success and a season of battling injuries.

If you are interested in improving performance through health, now is the time!  Contact our office today at 949-387-0060 to find out about our programs designed to optimize your health.

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.

GMO Labeling Would ‘Deliver Many Benefits’

The term “GMO” has become a hot topic in recent times. 

There is a huge push to get all GMO products labeled so that consumers have the choice to purchase them or not.  However, the food industry is pushing back hard to prevent the mandatory labeling of these items. 

GMO Labeling benefits, problems with GMO foods, nutritionist IrvineAs always occurs, money and powerful lobby interests seem to push the direction of lawmaking in favor of corporations instead of the people.  The argument against GMO labeling, however, is also very popular and states that GMO products are completely safe and the public has nothing to worry about.  In my opinion, most people on both sides of the argument, just don’t have all the information to decide on the matter. 

In a very recent publication, Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., published a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine.  For those who are unaware, this journal is probably the most respected journal in the medical world.  So, research articles and commentaries do not appear in this journal unless there is some serious science to support them.

In this commentary, Dr. Landrigan and Dr. Benbrook quickly and simply explain the reasons why GMO foods should be labeled and the FDA should reconsider how we grow these crops.  They state that the studies used by the Environmental Protection Agency to deem safe the herbicides used on GMO crops were ‘flawed’ and completely contravened ‘federal pesticide law’.

It goes on to show that the chemical compounds found in these herbicides has been proven already to be a ‘probably human carcinogen’ and that detailed study and assessment of these compounds linked them to increases in malignant tumors. 

Not only are the authors greatly concerned with the human health effects of the GMO foods themselves, but they clearly show how the herbicides used specifically on these GMO crops pose a grave threat to human health.

The final recommendation by Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D, is that laws on GMO labeling need to be completely revisited with all the evidence and that GMO labeling ‘will deliver many benefits’.

Please take the time to read this very quick commentary and learn about some of the real concerns involving GMO foods.  These laws are all being discussed right now and it is important that we voice our opinions. 

Read this quick informative commentary at the following link:

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1505660

When Does Training Hurt You?

One of the most overlooked pieces of any training schedule are the days and times where you are supposed to do NOTHING. 

While most competitive athletes consider these days as a waste they are probably the most important days.  In fact, many times I see that athletes are not building enough of these into their training schedule. 

Your body only gets stronger when you are resting.  Training is used to tear the body apart so that it can grow back stronger.  This increase in strength (or speed or endurance) can only fully be realized if the body is given enough time to recover.  If not, the next day of exercise stress will occur to a body that is beginning the day at a sub-optimal level. 

Now, the body can handle this routine for quite a while, but at some point it will become overwhelmed and not only will injury occur, but continued training will provide no benefits.  As you can see in the graph below, increasing exercise intensity improves your health to a certain point.  However, there is a time where continued exercise drives a person into metabolic overtraining syndrome.  This is not a good place to be as an athlete.

When Does Training Hurt You, overtraining, how to avoid overtraining

When athletes reach this stage not only are their training hours being wasted since increased performance is no longer a result of training, but their injury-risk goes through the roof!  And not only are injuries a concern, but overall health also diminishes.  This leaves an athlete open for things such as fatigue, sickness, decreased mental function, elevated heart rate, irritability, lack of motivation, and many other symptoms.

This is really why rest days are so crucial.  Rest days allow the body to fully recover from the multiple bouts of training stress to the body.  This allows athletes to start the next day at 100% which allows for much better training sessions and less chance of injury.  It is the same reason why endurance athletes have a taper period at the end of the training schedule just before the race. This is to allow the body to fully recover so that you are feeling 100% for race day.  Nobody thinks twice about allowing this increased rest into their schedule, but they many times have a difficult time taking time off throughout the earlier portion of training plan.    

I’m sure many of you have had times where you were unexpectedly forced to miss some training sessions due to work or home life.  I’m also confident that you have also at some time noticed that some of your best training sessions were just after taking this extended time off.  This is probably because you were headed into metabolic overtraining syndrome and the extra time off allowed you to fully recover.  That was not a fluke! 

Understanding this concept of metabolic overtraining syndrome can help you appreciate and enjoy the days off from training.  Don’t consider yourself lazy or unproductive when you are not training.  You are actually both improving your health and your performance on those days!

Want to learn more about how to properly train?  Give us a call at 949-387-0060.

“Healthy” Foods are NOT Always Healthy

posted in: blog post, Nutrition | 0

People are often misled into thinking that just because a food is healthy that they can have it anytime they want and in large quantities. 

learn to love healthy food, healthy food study, nutrition lake forestThis is just not the case and many times this thinking can get people into trouble.  Many foods have tremendous health benefits, but can also be troublesome.  One really great example are fruit juices.  I’m not talking about the ones that are just part fruit juice and mostly added sugar, as those things are no different than drinking a Coke.  I mean even the ones that are 100% fruit juice. 

Let’s use orange juice as an example since this is a very popular breakfast drink.  It takes on average about 2 oranges to make 8 ounces of juice.  While oranges are very good for you, when you just drink the juice without consuming the actual fruit, you are not getting any of the fiber.   Fiber is not only great for your digestion and overall health, but it is crucial to help slow the absorption of sugar into your blood.  This is very important because having recurrent, rapid spikes in blood sugar is not good for overall energy levels and health.  So not only are you having 2 oranges with every glass, but the fiberless sugar hits your blood stream almost immediately which causes your body to counteract that with immediate high doses of insulin.  This morning routine can start your body on a blood sugar roller coaster that can sometimes be difficult to get off of for the rest of the day.

Another example would be protein shakes.  While protein is definitely important, most protein shakes on the market are loaded with added sugars.  This completely undermines a persons attempt to be healthy by having a protein shake, as many times they are unknowingly drinking a protein milk shake.  While they may ‘taste better’ than other clean proteins, that is simply because they are made with sugar to make you love it, not to be a healthy alternative to a meal.  Understanding the ingredients of these protein mixes is very important so that you are again not drinking a glass full of sugar.   

For those who are blending up their protein shakes it is always important to also monitor what you put in the blender.  Take for example someone who makes a protein shake using a clean, sugarless protein, sweetened almond milk, frozen blueberries, a banana, and some fresh strawberries.  While these ingredients seem fairly benign and individually ‘healthy’, the combination of these in a shake is just like having a bowl of sugary cereal.   First of all, the sweetened almond milk already has sugar in it to make it sweet.  The protein powder was a good choice, but adding three different types of fruit to the mix just negated the choice of picking a sugarless protein powder.  Most people would not have an entire plate of fruit for a meal, so why do we think it is OK to consume that in a shake, which we drink fairly rapidly? 

While many people hear that we should just not eat much fruit, this is really not the point.  Fruit is a very healthy food and provides many benefits to our health.  Avoiding it altogether would be silly.  However, we must understand that foods such as these cannot be consumed in large quantities if we are truly trying to achieve a healthy nutritional balance.  So, just because a certain food is considered ‘healthy’ don’t think that this gives you full reign to eat at will.

If you have more questions about nutrition and eating healthy, call us at 949-387-0060.

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