Posts for: March, 2016
This past week, I've read all of Sarno's books. He is a medical doctor (was...he's retired and I think passed away by now) in New York. He states that most neck and back pain is caused from tension in the subconscious mind. As strange as that may sound at first, I think there's some valid points.
He states that most people that have neck and back pain think it's caused by an injury to something structural in their spine. Yet the MRI, CT scans, examination procedures never correlate with their pain. In many cases, I have found this to be true. I can't tell you how many patients have had pain in their backs radiating down into their LEFT leg and the MRI comes back as a herniated disc on the RIGHT...and it's not even near a nerve nor part of the spine that goes down the leg...yet they still have surgery. The surgery fails and they wonder why. Also, patients can't ever recall an injury that happened. This is a clue that not all pains are caused by something structural.
Another interesting part of these books is that he talks about how the doctors' treatment determines the diagnosis rather than the other way around. I know, I know, people in Camarillo think that every doctor diagnoses you first and then you get the appropriate treatment for that diagnosis...but for neck and back pain, I'm sorry to tell you that if you go to a MD (Sarno was an MD), the treatment is already planned out. You're going to get an x-ray, told it was a muscle spasm and get muscle relaxers, pain killers and anti-inflammatories. Done. It's just the way it is. It's not the way it should be, but it is.
Lastly, I thought it was interesting regarding the success rates he proclaims. The side note of this is that he feels that only 10-20% of people with the diagnosis are willing to accept his diagnosis. I thought this was fascinating because even the best doctors can diagnose you correctly, but it's the patients that have to be willing to accept the doctors' recommendations to get better. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink. True.
I've been a chiropractor in Camarillo for over 20 years and have found that when there's a structural cause of a person's pain, structural treatments need to be employed. Many people I feel do have emotional components to their pain and for those people, they would benefit from reading his books.
A Controversial Treatment for Migraine Headaches – Chiropractic Approach
I have been a chiropractor in Camarillo for over 20 years. Migraine headaches are probably the most difficult problem I see patients having. Rather than writing a summary of stuff you can find on the internet, I will just jump into a treatment approach that I have seen work wonders for many patients.
Adjustments help, Cold Laser Therapy helps, myofascial muscular therapy and trigger point therapy helps.
But in some patients, their blood chemistry is off. The only way to know it is to have them check their blood sugar after every meal (45 minutes after). What you find is that their blood sugar goes up. We’re not talking diabetic type of blood sugar that requires medical treatment, but an increase that is temporary.
The best way to stop this from happening is to eat a 1:1 ration of protein to carbohydrates. Some diets like the zone diet recommend a 3:4 ratio. Some diets recommend hardly any carbohydrates, whereas some allow you to eat anything you want, as long as you portion control.
In the case of migraines, you have to learn about food and for the migraines’ purposes, you want to just learn to read labels. You’ll only concern yourself with the grams of protein and the grams of carbohydrate.
For most people this results in having to cut down the carbohydrates and increase protein intake.
A typical day would look like this:
Breakfast – two eggs, ½ apple
Snack – two ounces of cheese, the other ½ of the apple
Lunch – Chicken and a side green salad
Snack – Greek yogurt
Dinner – Chilli, Meat, Soup, etc
If you suffer from migraine headaches, this is only an example, but I would encourage you to come into our chiropractic office in Camarillo and seek help with this. My experience has been that people need help figuring out how to do this. Once I teach this to you, it’s something you’ll do automatically and can do for the rest of your life.
Most people think that they are exercising their core, but they're doing themselves a disservice. Sit ups, leg lifts, twisting and rotational motions all have been PROVEN to cause disc disease. Yet people keep doing them. Why?
- "I've always done it that way"
- "I saw it on youtube"
- "I learned it in high school"
- "My trainer told me to do it"
- "Rocky Balboa did it"
- "This person in the gym was doing it and she's in great shape"
- "There's this machine in the gym, and it looks like it's for your back"
All of these seem reasonable at first, but the research has shown that over time, the spinal discs will wear out at a faster rate if you do exercises that strain them. I've been a chiropractor in Camarillo for over 20 years and just when you've seen it all, another infomercial seems to reinvent exercises that make people worse.
So what's a good workout for the core?
Here's the list, then I'll explain why:
- Isometric contractions of the abdomen while maintaining the natural curve in the back. This includes the Mcgill curl, planks, stir-the-pot and hanging swings.
- Side planks, farmer walks, kettlebell walks.
- Bird dogs/pointer dogs.
- Palloff presses in front, above head.
- Pull ups/pulldowns
A good and safe core routine involves keeping the spine stable and strong while NOT MOVING it. This could literally mean that any time your lower spine is moving, whether it's forward, backwards, to the side or (gasp) twisting, it's a bad core routine. This is largely true. The purpose of your core muscles is to RESIST motion, not create it. If you go through the list that I have mentioned, you'll see that the lower spine performs NO MOTION during any of those exercises, yet they are a challenge to the muscles, nevertheless.
Ask me how to do this as a routine and try it for a month. I know that you'll feel much better and be surprised how much better your lower back will feel.
I'm going to talk about something very controversial...I think you should stop stretching the way you're stretching.
Ever stretch really good only to find the next day you're tight again? You just keep repeating the same thing and you never achieve flexibility? Why?
I'll tell you...you're trying to become flexible and that almost never works. You should be aiming to become more mobile. What's the difference?
Flexibility is the ability to stretch out in a relaxed way to the extreme range you can get.
Mobility is the ability to use your own muscles to the extreme range you can get using your own strength.
Flexibility would be trying to touch your toes and holding it there while you're relaxed. Mobility would be able to be in that position and be strong.
Most people think that if they stretch their hamstrings, that they'll be more "loose" and the muscle will be "longer."
The reality is that when you do stretching, the results are TEMPORARY and the structure of the muscle DOES NOT get longer, but rather your brain will allow the body to be more flexible. Without that new flexibility also having strength in the muscle at that new length, the results will be short lived. Reciprocal inhibition stretching known as PNF stretching has the same results.
The new theory of stretching that seems to work with longer lasting results is based upon that stretching is really a neural (brain) adaptation. In simple terms, by stretching repeatedly, your central nervous system “allows” the ROM to occur. So this is why you have to stretch a lot, everyday. If the brain thinks that a certain joint motion or a certain amount of flexibility is dangerous to the joint, IT WILL NOT ALLOW THIS RANGE FOR THE LONG TERM.
Is there a better way?
As our range of motion increases, we need to have STRENGTH in those ranges of motion. Flexibility without strength is the definition of instability. We don't want joints to be unstable. We want strong, stable joints.
So how we do this is with isometric contractions in BOTH directions. We use maximal isometric contractions rather than sub maximal so taht we can increase the muscle’s ability to function at the end range. Issometric contractions have been shown to increase strength at that specific angle +/- 10 deg.
You have to use specific and safe positions to do these stretches. Standing and bending forward is not a safe position. It requires demonstration, but just know that it feels like a workout.
When you do this, all those isometric contractions are going to teach the BRAIN that this is a safe range of motion that can feel STABLE. The brain likes that. It then allows this to occur.
Two places I love to go are Somis Market and Eggs & Things in Camarillo. Breakfast burritos are a zone lover's dream. The perfect amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. When I eat these I have the greatest amount of energy afterwards. I've been following the zone diet as best I can for the last 17 years (I had to think about when I first started). I have energy, I have clear thinking and I don't get hungry 4 hours later.
If I eat too many carbohydrates relative to protein, I seem to have less energy and get hungry quicker. It's worth a try trying to get the protein and carbohydrate ratio to 1:1. That means equal number of grams for each. This has worked for me.