Posts Categorized as: About Chiropractic

Back Pain and Car Accidents

We manage many car accident cases in in our Portland office, and a common symptom we see in our patients is back pain. Chiropractic is an effective way to treat back pain. Let's look at how back pain is caused by a crash and how Chiropractic Healing Hands For You can help you.

During a rear-end car crash, your car and car seat are rapidly accelerated forward against your body. Since car seats don't perfectly align with the curve of your back, the car seat can put inconsistent pressure on your lower back. This can cause some of your spinal vertebrae to move in one direction while an adjacent vertebrae might move in another direction. This differential movement can sprain or strain the tissues that hold your spine together. This kind of injury can cause chronic back pain if not treated right away. Thankfully, chiropractic is one of the most effective ways to treat back pain.

Chiropractic Healing Hands For You is here in Portland to help you recover from back pain. We've been helping patients since 2005 and we can probably help you, too. Chiropractic Healing Hands For You will first determine what's causing your pain and then work to restore your body to its natural functioning. Give our office a call today at (503) 771-1974 to make an appointment.

 

Many people report back pain after a car crash.
 

Scientists confirm gluten sensitivity is a real thing

Portland, OR ChiropractorResearch has confirmed what many people have long known: Gluten sensitivity is a real thing.

A Columbia University Medical Center study found gluten sensitivity is not an imagined condition, as many seem to think these days, and that celiac disease or a wheat allergy are not required to react to gluten.

Although people with gluten sensitivity may not demonstrate classic symptoms or lab markers of celiac disease, gluten nevertheless causes an acute immune response in gluten sensitive people.

Symptoms of gluten sensitivity vary widely and often include fatigue, brain fog, memory problems, mood imbalances, joint pain, skin eruptions, respiratory issues, and worsening of existing health conditions.

Gluten sensitivity different than celiac disease

In celiac disease, the immune response to gluten happens primarily in the small intestine.

With gluten sensitivity, however, the immune response is systemic, meaning the inflammatory cells travel in the bloodstream throughout the body. This explains why symptoms vary so widely.

Researchers found that six months on a gluten-free diet normalized the immune response and significantly improved patient symptoms.

Gluten sensitivity awareness crucial for patients

Studies like this are important to help educate doctors that gluten sensitivity can cause chronic health problems.

Many doctors still believe that only celiac disease is to blame for a reaction to gluten. Because gluten sensitivity is largely dismissed and conventional testing for it is so inadequate, many patients unnecessarily suffer from undiagnosed gluten sensitivity.

Gluten linked to autoimmunity and brain disorders

What’s worse, gluten is linked to many autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the immune system attacks and destroys tissue in the body. Common autoimmune diseases include Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes.

However, the tissue most commonly attacked in response to gluten sensitivity is neurological tissue.

In other words, your undiagnosed gluten sensitivity could be destroying your brain. This is why gluten causes brain-based disorders in many people.

Gluten sensitivity more common than celiac

Celiac disease was long thought to affect about 1 percent of the population, but newer research shows rates have gone up 700 percent in the last 50 years.

Also, numbers are likely even higher because testing for celiac disease is extremely stringent and outdated. (Diagnostic criteria were developed in Europe, where a celiac diagnosis qualifies one for disability payments.)

Estimates for the rate of gluten sensitivity range from 6 percent of the population to considerably higher—a randomized population sample of 500 people conducted by immunologist Aristo Vojdani, PhD found one in three people had gluten sensitivity.

Proper testing and strict gluten-free diet are vital

Most testing for gluten sensitivity is inaccurate as people can react to at least 12 different compounds in gluten. Standard tests only screen for one, alpha gliadin.

Also, many people have cross reactions to gluten, meaning they respond to other foods they eat as if it were gluten. Dairy is one of the most common of these. It’s important to test for cross-reactive foods and remove them from the diet along with gluten.

It’s also vital to strictly adhere to a gluten-free diet as the occasional cheat can keep inflammation high and chances at symptom recovery low.

Ask my office for advice on the latest in testing for gluten sensitivity.

 

Do you need to take supplements if you eat a good diet?

Portland OR ChiropractorIt’s a common argument: “You don’t need to take supplements if you eat a good diet.” Although a good diet is foundational to good health, supplements play an instrumental role in various health conditions.

People who don’t understand the value of supplements think they exist only to profit off of “suckers for snake oil.” To be sure, those products exist.

Others view them as dangerous and unregulated compounds that should be taken off the market. Those products exist as well.

The United States is unique compared to the rest of the west in terms of of the freedom of our supplement market. Supplement availability in Europe and Canada is severely limited compared to the United States.

With this comes pros and cons.

How to be a smart supplement shopper

The key to understanding supplements is to understand the underlying causes of your condition.

For instance, ten different people can each have a different cause for leaky gut, insomnia, pain, depression, and so on. Buying a “depression supplement,” or an “insomnia supplement,” can result in failure and frustration.

Also, quality matters. Supplements from your local chain supermarket are not going to meet the same standards of quality, care, specificity, and educational support of supplements sold through a practitioner.

The good news about our supplement market is we have access to high quality supplements and education.

Why you may need supplements

Here are some reasons you may need supplements even if you eat a pristine whole foods diet.

Because you are aging. As we age certain functions start to diminish, such as digestion, brain function, recovery time, hormone balance, and more.

Digestive supplements support diminishing hydrochloric acid and pancreatic enzyme support. Brain nutrients help support oxygenation and activity of the brain (although they won’t compensate for poor diet and lifestyle). Various herbs support hormone balance and energy production.

Because we live in a stressful, toxic world. We are dealing with extreme levels of stress and toxic chemicals in our food and environment. This contributes to such conditions as chronic pain, inflammation, autoimmunity, and brain dysfunctions. Many supplements are designed to buffer the effects of the stressful and toxic burdens we deal with daily.

Because many of us grew up eating a crap diet. You may eat a good diet now, but if you grew up on junk food and a sedentary lifestyle, you may have sustained metabolic damage, such as unstable blood sugar, hormonal imbalance, poor stress handling, chronic inflammation, autoimmunity, and more. These don’t always reverse themselves through diet alone.

Supplements geared toward stabilizing blood sugar, supporting stress handling, and taming inflammation can super charge your whole foods diet.

Because our foods are compromised. Even if you eat the perfect diet, studies show our foods aren’t as nutrient dense as they were in the past. You still may benefit from at least a good multi-vitamin and multi-mineral supplement.

“Supplements” actually have a long history of use

This is a broad overview of ways supplements can help. Most supplements consist of herbs and other natural compounds that have sound scientific support and have been used throughout history around the globe. While pharmaceuticals have been a vital boon to medicine, they are also relative newcomers.

Ask my office for advice on how to supplement smartly.

 

Is your diabetes diet worsening your diabetes?

Portland OR ChiropractorIf you have diabetes, whether it’s type 1 or type 2, your doctor likely recommended a diet endorsed by the American Diabetes Association. But did you know the diabetic diet recommends foods that could be slowly worsening your diabetes condition?

Turns out there is more to a diabetic diet than grams of carbs and sugar, although those are vitally important.

For people with type 1 diabetes and for an estimated 20 percent of people with type 2 diabetes, diabetes is an autoimmune disease.

This means the immune system is attacking and destroying the parts of the pancreas involved in insulin production and regulation. Over time destruction is severe enough the body can no longer adequately regulate blood sugar.

Certain foods on the diabetic diet, such as gluten and dairy, have been shown to both trigger autoimmunity and make it worse.

Many type 2 diabetics have autoimmune diabetes

People with type 1 diabetes, which begins in childhood, understand diabetes is an autoimmune condition.

However, many people with type 2 diabetes can go for years without knowing there is an autoimmune component to their diabetes, which generally sets in during adulthood.
This type of diabetes is called type 1.5 diabetes, latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA), or even double diabetes.

Type 1.5 diabetes involves the lifestyle components of being overweight or obese and eating a diet that promotes high blood sugar, along with the autoimmune component that slowly destroys the insulin-producing abilities of the pancreas.

Where the diabetic diet fails

Although grams of carbs and sugars are vital considerations for people with all types of diabetes, what is overlooked is the immune reactivity of foods.

Research shows a link between certain foods and the triggering or exacerbating of autoimmune diseases such as type 1 and type 1.5 diabetes.

If you have an immune reaction to certain foods and consume them daily, they are going to keep the immune system in a constant state of inflammation and attacking body tissue. This makes blood sugar continually difficult to manage, despite careful consumptions of carbs and sugars.

Foods to avoid with autoimmune diabetes

The two top foods to avoid if you have autoimmune diabetes are gluten and dairy. Both have been linked to a number of autoimmune diseases, including diabetes.

Gluten has been shown to trigger an autoimmune attack against the GAD enzyme, which plays a role in insulin regulation and brain function. Casein, the protein in dairy products, has also been linked with autoimmune diabetes.

If you have a sensitivity to these foods or other common immune reactive foods, it is worth getting tested or doing an elimination diet. Knowing which foods are provoking an autoimmune attack can help you better manage your type 1 or type 1.5 diabetes.

Ask my office for more advice on ways to tame inflammation and manage your autoimmune diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes, it’s important to rule out autoimmunity.

 

Do Not Let Travel Derail Your Autoimmune Management

Portland OR ChiropractorManaging an autoimmune condition is hard enough. Throw in holiday travel, staying with relatives, meals out, and exhaustion, and autoimmune management goes to a new level of difficulty. However, failing to follow your plan can wreck the holidays with symptom flares or an energy crash.

What to do? First, take a deep breath and adopt a no-stress, can-do attitude. Just as at home, good autoimmune management simply requires some advance planning and strategic thinking.

By tending to some fundamentals, you can enjoy your holiday with friends and family, recover quickly back at home, and return to your routine.

Here are some tips to help you manage your autoimmune condition while traveling.

Map out meals and snacks so you don’t go hungry or trigger a flare. The functional medicine approach to managing an autoimmune disease requires following some variation of the autoimmune diet. This diet is usually a strict Paleo diet of ample produce and healthy meats and fats, and no grains, dairy, soy, sugar, or processed foods.

Google ahead of time to find out where you can eat at your destination. Look for the Whole Foods and other health food stores. Make sure you have a refrigerator in your hotel room or ask your hosts to make space for you in theirs. You can insulate and pack frozen meals to heat up in a mini crockpot, also stowed in your luggage. Some people even pack a hot plate and cookware. Bring a travel bag large enough for approved snack items to stave off hunger. Ideas include beef jerky, celery, sardines, olives, coconut meat, and other filling snacks.

Pack plenty of glutathione support. Traveling includes plenty of stressful events that can deplete your glutathione stores. Glutathione is the body’s most powerful antioxidant and vital to preventing and taming autoimmune flares. Early mornings, long days, new environments, crowded airplanes, Grandma’s fabric softener, and so on — these stressors can deplete glutathione so that inflammation is more likely.

Options include glutathione precursors such as N-acetyl-cysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, cordyceps, and milk thistle. You can also take s-acetyl-glutathione, or an oral liposomal glutathione. Note that taking straight glutathione is not effective.

Search ahead for hypoallergenic hotel rooms. Ever walk into a hotel and get blasted with that sickly perfume smell? Some hotels overdo it with the scented products. Others have feather pillows, and dusty, stale rooms. Look for hotels that offer scent-free, allergy-friendly rooms with hypoallergenic bedding, air purifiers, and windows that open.

Carry a mask to avoid pollution or toxic odors. There’s only so much you can do to control your environment while traveling. If the passenger next to you on the packed plane is doused in cologne, it helps to have a face mask handy so you can breathe easier. A good face mask is comfortable and allows you to breathe easily while protecting you from toxins in the air, thus keeping your immune system calmer. Some companies even make face masks  for children.

Don't let your vacation become work. Schedule in down time to nap, read, or go for peaceful walks. Stress is a powerful inflammatory toxin so it pays to make sure you enjoy your vacation with plenty of rest time.

 

Did childhood trauma play a role in your Autoimmunity?

Portland OR ChiropractorAutoimmune patients expend considerable effort finding the right diet, supplements, lifestyle, and practitioner to manage their autoimmunity.

But did you know your experiences from childhood could be provoking your autoimmunity as an adult?

Abuse, belittlement, insults, neglect, loss of loved ones, parental acrimony… the traumas children weather unfortunately become a lifelong “operating system” that has profound influences on immunological and neurological health. Traumas in childhood affect not only physical and cellular health, but also our DNA.

Early traumas make it hard to turn off stress

In a healthy situation, a child can respond to stress and recover from it, developing normal resiliency.

However, chronic and unpredictable stress in childhood constantly floods the body with stress hormones and keeps it in a hyper vigilant inflammatory state. In time, this interferes with the body’s ability to turn off or dampen the stress response.

In fact, research that compared the saliva of healthy, happy children with children who grew up with abuse and neglect found almost 3,000 genetic changes on their DNA. All of these changes regulated the response to stress and the ability to rebound from it.

This means that little, everyday occurrences that might momentarily irritate a healthier person can unleash a torrent of stress hormones and an accompanying inflammatory cascade that predisposes one for disease.

These are the people accused of overreacting and who are rattled by loud noises, bright lights, and crowds.

A disagreement with someone, a near miss on the highway, a restaurant that’s too loud, an unexpected bill — for the person who had a stressful childhood these minor but regular insults create a metabolic environment that fosters and perpetuates illness.

This can include autoimmune disease, chronic pain, heart disease, cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, digestive disorders, migraines, asthma, and obesity.

In fact, this research was inspired by one clinician’s observation that the majority of his obese patients endured sexual abuse as children.

Assessing chronic childhood stress

Researchers studied the effects of childhood stress on later health in the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, developing a short quiz to assess the relationship between childhood traumas and disease risk.

For instance, someone with a score of 4 (scale of 0–8) is at a significantly higher risk for chronic disease, suicide, and addiction.

Early trauma and autoimmune management

Although traumas during childhood and a higher ACE score can increase hardships and disease risk in adulthood, it doesn’t have to be a prison sentence —the brain and body are responsive to change.

Many therapies have been shown to help heal these traumas: meditation, mindfulness practices, neurofeedback, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), cognitive therapy, EFT (emotional freedom technique, or tapping), and more.

Be sure and include your emotional well-being and the health of your subconscious “operating system,” which was established in childhood, in your autoimmune management plan.

 

The mass extinction of species happening in your gut

Portland OR Chiropractic CareYou probably already know the planet is experiencing an extinction crisis; scientists estimate we’ll lose up to 50 percent of current species during the next 20 years. But did you know there’s also an extinction crisis of gut bacteria happening among civilized humans?

The modern diet, which is high in processed foods, meats and sugars but pitifully low in plant fiber appears to have killed off a rich diversity of gut bacteria on which our health depends. The result? Inflammation and chronic disease.

Low fiber kills bacteria and increases inflammation

To prove the point, one study changed the diets of African Americans, who have a high risk of colon cancer, and native Africans in South Africa. They put the African Americans on a native diet high in plant fiber and the native Africans on a typical American diet high in processed foods and meats.  

The researchers quickly saw a decrease in colon inflammation in the Americans eating increased fiber, and an increase in colon inflammation in the South Africans on a standard American diet.

In fact, studies of the few remaining indigenous cultures on the planet show humans once served as host to significantly more gut bacteria than is found in Westerners today. These cultures eat about 10 times more plant fiber than the average American. Those bacteria organize themselves in colonies to digest plant fiber, support immunity, and curb inflammation.

People around the world even have different strains of the same bacterium that is native to their area and genetics. Human migration over the years has wiped out some strains, increasing the risk of certain diseases as a result, such as gastric cancer.

How a diversity of gut bacteria protect your health

Just how do bacteria protect us from chronic disease?

For one thing, when they work at breaking down plant fibers, they create compounds called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that stimulate the anti-inflammatory arm of the immune system.

Although it’s possible to supplement with SCFAs, unfortunately they won’t be as beneficial as when your own gut bacteria produce them. This is because the bacteria colonize themselves with similar bacteria in an internal ecosystem that protects the lining of the gut.

Starved bacteria eat the gut lining

One startling revelation researchers found is that gut bacteria starved of the plant fiber they need for fuel instead appear to feed on the protective mucus layer that lines the intestines. Studies of mice fed high-fiber diets showed this mucosal layer was as twice as thick as that of mice on a low-fiber diet.

A too-thin layer of protective mucus allows dangerous bacteria, undigested foods, and other pathogens into the bloodstream, where they trigger system-wide inflammation. This is known as leaky gut.

How to beef up your own gut bacteria

It’s quite possible that many of us today lack the diversity of gut bacteria our ancestors had, and our health suffers as a result. Researchers believe those who grow up on farms, with animals, and exposed to other sources of more diverse bacteria may fare better in terms of microbial diversity.

Nevertheless, a diet high in plant fiber can increase the diversity and population of your gut bacteria, thus helping you balance digestion and tame inflammation. If you find it difficult to tolerate a high-fiber diet, you may have a severe imbalance in your gut bacteria that needs attention. Ask my office for more information.

 

Five Little-Known Things That Make Autoimmunity Worse

Portland OR Chiropractic CareIf you are managing your autoimmune disease through diet and lifestyle, then you probably know about the autoimmune diet, supplements, non-toxic home and body products, and getting enough rest.

But are you aware of hidden sources of stress that may be triggering autoimmune flares?

Common autoimmune diseases today include Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or pernicious anemia. However, there are many more.

Research increasingly shows the connection between autoimmune disease and food sensitivities (such as to gluten) and environmental toxins. Indeed, many people have successfully sent their autoimmunity into remission by following an autoimmune diet and “going green” with the products they use.

We also know stress is inflammatory and can trigger autoimmunity. But what many people may miss is the hidden sources of this inflammation-triggering stress.

Little known triggers of autoimmune disease

Following are little known sources of stress that could be triggering autoimmune disease flare-ups:

Stressful TV shows: Turning on the flat screen to relax could backfire if you’re watching people always on the run from zombies. Research shows watching others stress out can raise our own stress hormones. On top of that, many people feel like failures after they watch TV, which is stressful. Try a productively calming hobby, like practicing an instrument or working with your hands while listening to music to calm your nerves, and your immune system.

Social media: Research shows social media users are more stressed out than non-users.  Facebook and Twitter can make us feel like we always have to put on a happy face and that we’re not as successful as our friends. The addictive nature of social media is also stressful. As with all good things, practice moderation. And go see your friends in real life — socialization is a well-known stress buster and health booster that can help you better manage your autoimmune disease.

A bad relationship: We get so used to some relationships we don’t even realize they’re unhealthy. For instance, researchers have shown bad marriages are linked with more stress and inflammation. Bad bosses have also been shown to be bad for your health. Although it’s not so easy to just pop out of a bad relationship, being aware that it can trigger your autoimmune symptoms can help you start moving in a healthier direction.

A difficult childhood: Research shows links between a history of childhood adversities (neglect, disruption, trauma, abuse) and autoimmune disease. Chronic stress while the brain and central nervous system are still developing can create ongoing inflammation and set the stage for autoimmune disease to more easily trigger later in life.

Lack of self-love: How well you love and respect yourself influences your choice in relationships, your career, and how you handle problems. Do you talk to and treat yourself with the same kindness you would an adored child? Do you care for your needs the same way you do a pampered pet? If you bully yourself, you’re unwittingly triggering your autoimmunity. After all, autoimmune disease is the body attacking itself. Don’t foster that with self-attacking thoughts and behaviors. Commit to practicing small acts of self-love throughout your days.

When you look at issues like a bad childhood, a toxic relationship, or lack of self-love, it makes changing your diet and switching to natural body products suddenly look easy. But it’s not the whole picture. Autoimmune disease is a flag from the body that certain aspects of your life may need evaluating and evolving.

 

Studies Confirm that Chiropractic is Safe

Portland Chiropractic for familiesWe care for a large number of people in our Portland clinic, and Chiropractic Healing Hands For You has helped countless people manage a variety of health challenges. Even so, a frequent issue that seems to stop a lot of folks from getting treatment is whether or not chiropractic is safe. Luckily, according to three different studies (out of many on the issue), the answer to this concern is a clear: "Yes! Chiropractic is safe!"

Chiropractic is Safe, According to Australian Study

The first article(1) was published in Spine and involved 183 women and men between the ages of 20 and 85. Each test subject reported affected by spinal pain, and half of the people received actual chiropractic care visits while the remaining patients received two sham chiropractic treatments. Data was gathered after each real or fake adjustment to determine if any undesirable side effects were caused by the actual chiropractic treatments.

The doctors found that no one reported any serious adverse adverse reactions at all after receiving one or two sessions of chiropractic care. Some participants did state that they experienced a headache (9 percent) or muscle stiffness (about 1 out of 3) post-treatment, but the results were not of a serious nature.

National Survey Confirms that Chiropractic Adjustments are Safe

A second study(2), also released in the prestigious journal, Spine, was done in an attempt to establish the safety of chiropractic care. The test group was much larger -- 20,000 patients. Each participant received chiropractic adjustments of the cervical spine, with over 50,000 total adjustments for all patients.

Once again, the investigators found no serious negative side effects. The experts computed the risk of total adverse reactions to be about six out of every 10,000 consultations or every 100,000 treatment sessions. Plus, just as with the first study, some people did report non-serious, milder, side effects such as dizziness (about 1.6%) or a headache (4%), and this caused the researchers to conclude that "the risk of a serious adverse event, immediately or up to 7 days after treatment, was low to very low."

Chiropractic Is Safe for Kids

This third research paper(3) is different from the first two pieces of research, as it focuses on the safety of chiropractic care for children. In this case, the authors investigated data reported by both chiropractors and parents involving 816 children who participated in 7,173 chiropractic adjustments.

Out of 5,438 chiropractic appointments made for the kids, chiropractors answering the survey reported only three cases where there were adverse side effects. When parents were questioned, they indicated only two adverse side effects out of 1,735 visits. Additionally, both chiropractors and parents reported "a high rate of improvement with respect to the children's presenting complaints."

Based on studies like these, chiropractic care has been deemed safe and effective for everyone. To find out what chiropractic care can do for you, call our Portland clinic and make an appointment today at (503) 771-1974.

References

  1. Walker BF, Hebert JJ, Stomski NJ, Clarke BR, Bowden RS, Losco B, French SD. Outcomes of usual chiropractic. The OUCH randomized controlled trial of adverse events. Spine 2013;38(20):1723-9.
  2. Thiel HW1, Bolton JE, Docherty S, Portlock JC. Safety of chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine: a prospective national survey. Spine 2007;32(21):2375-8.
  3. Alcantara J, Ohm J, Kunz D. The safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic: a survey of chiropractors and parents in a practice-based research network. Explore NY 2009;5(5): 290-5.