Request an Appointment

Oakland Spine News

Weekly Health Update: Lowering Blood Pressure

Chiropractic: Lowering Blood Pressure.
Chiropractic adjustments to the upper neck were shown to lower high blood pressure. Researchers found a 14 mm Hg greater drop in systolic blood pressure, and 8 mm Hg greater drop in diastolic blood pressure following a cervical adjustment. This effect was greater than would result from two blood pressure medications given in combination, and it was adverse-event free.
Journal of Human Hypertension, March 2007

Mental Attitude: A Later Life Crisis?
32% of males and 33% of females ages 60-69 have experienced a so-called “later life crisis”. The most common stimuli for these episodes were bereavement, sickness, injury to themselves or to others, and caring for a sick or disabled loved one. The stressful life event can make the individual aware of their own frailty and death. Some people react with resilience and set new goals, while others focus more on the present, trying to enjoy life more than they did before.
British Psychological Society, April 2013

Health Alert: Hip/Knee Replacement?
Joint damage from osteoarthritis is responsible for 80% of hip replacements and 90% of knee surgeries. Only 50% of individuals with arthritis who had a hip or knee replacement reported a significant improvement in pain and mobility after surgery. 25% of patients who get a single joint replacement will have another within two years.
Arthritis & Rheumatism, April 2013

Diet: Unleaded Please!
Levels of lead in rice imported into the United States (US) ranged from 6-12 mg/kg. For adults, the daily exposure levels from eating imported rice are 20-40 times higher than the Food and Drug Administration’s accepted levels. For infants and children, the daily exposure levels are 30-60 times higher. Lead is a neurotoxin that can damage the brain, and in young children whose brains are still growing, it can seriously diminish their capacity to learn and develop. It can disrupt children’s behavior, such as make them more aggressive, impulsive, and hyperactive. Lead increases blood pressure and causes cardiovascular diseases in adults.
American Chemical Society, April 2013

Exercise: Walking vs. Running.
Brisk walking can reduce a person’s risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol just as much as running can. The risk for first-time hypertension was notably reduced 4.2% by running and 7.2% by walking. The risk for first-time high cholesterol was reduced 4.3% by running and 7% by walking. The risk for first-time diabetes was lowered 12.1% by running and 12.3% by walking. The risk for coronary heart disease was lowered 4.5% by running and 9.3% by walking.
Journal of Adolescent Health, April 2013

Wellness/Prevention: Vitamin D.
A hormone produced in the skin with exposure to sunlight, Vitamin D is also found in fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks. Muscle function and recovery from fatigue has been shown to improve with Vitamin D supplementation, which is thought to enhance the activity of the mitochondria – the power plants of the cell.
Newcastle University, April 2013

Weekly Health Update: Spinal Manipulation Therapy & Neck Pain Relief

Chiropractic: Neck Pain Relief!
75% of Americans deal with neck pain at some point in their lives. In a study comparing spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) and prescription medication as treatment options, researches concluded that SMT was more effective both in the short and long-term. At the end of 12 weeks, 57% of participants in the SMT group reported at least a 75% reduction in pain, while only 33% of the medication group had similar results. One year later, patients in the chiropractic group were still experiencing benefits, as 53% still saw at least a 75% reduction in pain.
Annals of Internal Medicine, January 2012

Mental Attitude: Teenaged Smoking, Depression, and Osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a costly health problem. Although it is primarily evident in postmenopausal women, its roots can be traced to periods of growth, including adolescence. A recent study showed that smoking and depressive symptoms in adolescent girls had a negative impact on adolescent bone growth and may lead to future low bone mass or osteoporosis and higher fracture rates in postmenopausal years.
Journal of Adolescent Health, April 2013

Health Alert: World’s Population To Stop Growing?
A research team predicts that the Earth’s population will stabilize by 2050. The world population in 2100 will be within a range of 15.8 billion people (according to the highest estimates with a high fertility variant) and 6.2 billion (according to the lowest estimates with a low fertility variant). The lowest estimate is actually lower than the current world population of 7 billion. In fact, the world-wide fertility rate has already fallen by more than 40% since 1950.
United Nations, February 2013

Diet: Heart Disease and Red Meat.
Carnitine, a compound abundant in red meat and added as a supplement to popular energy drinks, has been found to promote atherosclerosis (hardening or clogging of arteries).
Nature Medicine, April 2013

Exercise: Walking and Smoking.
Teens who increased the amount of time they exercised by at least 20 minutes (equivalent to a short walk) were more likely than their peers to resist lighting up a cigarette.
Journal of Adolescent Health, April 2013

Wellness/Prevention: Kidney Disease and Being Overweight.
Being overweight in young adulthood may significantly increase individuals’ risks of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD) by the time they become seniors. Those who were overweight in their late 20s and early 30s were twice as likely to have CKD at age 60-64 years compared with those who first became overweight at age 60-64 years or never became overweight. Larger waist-to-hip ratios (“apple-shaped” bodies) at ages 43 and 53 years were also linked with CKD at age 60-64 years. Researchers estimate that 36% of CKD cases at age 60-64 in the United States population could be avoided if nobody became overweight until at least that age.
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, April 2013

The Most Common Type of Headache

At some point, everyone will have a headache, whether it’s from stress, lack of sleep, hormonal related or even self-induced after having way too much fun the night before! In fact, 9 out of 10 Americans suffer from headaches. But the most common form of headache is the tension-type headache.

Tension-type headaches (TTHA) are defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a diffuse, mild to moderate pain that’s often described as feeling like a tight band around your head.” Ironically, even though this is the most common form of headache, the causes of TTHA are not well understood. These are sometimes described as muscle contraction headaches but many experts no longer think muscle contractions are the cause. They now feel that “mixed signals” coming from nerve pathways to the brain are the cause and may be the result of “overactive pain receptors.”

Regardless of the cause, the triggers of tension headaches are well known and include stress, depression/anxiety, poor posture, faulty or awkward workstation set-ups, jaw clenching and many others. Risk factors for TTHA include being a woman (studies show that almost 90% of women experience tension headaches at some point in life) and being middle-aged (TTHA’s appear to peak in our 40s, though TTHA’s are not limited to any one age group). Complications associated with TTHA’s may include job productivity loss, family and social interaction disruption, and relationship strain. The diagnosis is typically made by excluding other dangerous causes of headaches and when all the test results return “normal,” the diagnosis of TTHA is made.

Treatment utilizing over-the-counter-medications are commonly used as long as side effects of stomach irritation and/or liver and kidney issues don’t arise. The use of heat and/or cold is often helpful as some prefer one over the other. Alternating between ice and heat is sometimes most effective. Controlling stress by trimming out less important duties or “…taking on less” can help. Yoga, meditation, biofeedback and relaxation therapy are also great! An “ergonomic” assessment of a workstation and how it “fits” the headache patient can also yield great results. Other highly effective therapies include acupuncture, massage therapy, behavior and/or cognitive therapy as well as chiropractic. Chiropractic is a good choice compared to standard medical care, especially when side effects to medications exist. This is because manipulation of the cervical spine addresses the cause of the headache and doesn’t just try to cover up the pain. In 2001, Duke University reported compelling evidence that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those with headaches that originate in the neck with significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief compared to commonly prescribed medication. Chiropractic treatment approaches can include spinal manipulation, trigger point therapy, mobilization techniques, exercise training, physical therapy modality use, dietary and supplementation education/advice, lifestyle coaching and ergonomic assessments.

Reprinted with permission from Think Teachers Magazine

Weekly Health Update: Bone Demineralization

Chiropractic: Bone Demineralization.
With lack of proper motion (joint immobilization), vertebral bone density will decrease if the vertebrae do not bear normal weight (think of osteoporosis). On the other hand, bone density will increase when coupled with lack of proper motion and the vertebrae bearing too much weight (think of degeneration and bone spurs).
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1992

Mental Attitude: Negativity Online.
Simply reading angry rants online can cause a negative mood shift within five minutes of doing so, even if you find them entertaining, interesting, or funny.
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, March 2013

Health Alert: Superbug Hits United States Hospitals!
Untreatable, antibiotic-resistant infections from a rare but life-threatening super bug are on the rise in United States hospitals. Early in 2012, close to 200 hospitals and long-term care facilities treated at least one person infected with bacteria from the Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) family, and 50% of patients who contract bloodstream CRE infections will die. These bacteria can spread among patients and on the hands of health care workers. This kind of transmission can produce new deadly infections for hospital patients, and potentially for normally healthy people as well. To date, nearly all CRE infections occur in people receiving medical care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, or nursing homes.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 2013

Diet: Olive Oil and Satiety.
Consuming olive oil as part of your normal diet may help increase satiety (the feeling of fullness) following a meal.
Technical University of Munich, March 2013

Exercise: More Reasons.
Exercise helps reduce and prevent the immediate symptoms of menopause (hot flashes, sleep disturbances, irritability) and decrease the long-term risks of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and obesity.
Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, 1996

Wellness/Prevention: Prevent Tobacco Deaths.
By the end of this century, tobacco smoking is projected to kill one billion people! To reduce the prevalence of smoking to less than 5% worldwide by 2048, world officials are attempting to implement plain packaging, high taxation, smoke-free public places, and educational non-smoking and stop smoking campaigns.
Governance of Tobacco in the 21st Century, March 2013

Weekly Health Update: Fibrin Deposits

Chiropractic: Bad Deposits!
Fibrin deposits (from lack of proper motion) form and build-up in and around joints and the surrounding soft tissue, resulting in chronic inflammatory conditions. This can cause chronic pain and associated dysfunction of the joint complex.
Spine, 1987

Mental Attitude: Cognitive Function and Exercise.
Regular exercise as a child can result in improved cognitive function at age 50. Exercise represents a key component of lifestyle interventions to prevent cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Even low levels of exercise can have a positive effect on cognitive function.
Psychological Medicine, March 2013

Health Alert: Insomnia and Heart Failure!
Compared to people with no insomnia symptoms, people who suffer from insomnia appear to have a three-fold increased risk of developing heart failure.
European Heart Journal, March 2013

Diet: Lack of Sleep and Your Diet.
People who are sleep deprived are more likely to choose both larger portion sizes and more calorie dense meals and snacks than they would after a normal night’s sleep.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, February 2013

Exercise: Stroke Survivors and Walks.
Taking regular brisk walks outdoors can help people recovering from a stroke to improve their physical fitness, enjoy a better quality of life, and increase their mobility. The walking group in this study reported a 16.7% improvement in health-related quality of life, and walked 17.6% further in a six-minute physical endurance test. They also had a 1.5% lower resting heart rate at the end of the study than they did at the beginning, while the non-walking groups resting heart rate went up 6.7%. The American Heart Association recommends stroke survivors do aerobic exercise for 20-60 minutes, 3-7 days a week, depending on fitness level.
Stroke, March 2013

Wellness/Prevention: Maternal Diet.
An important predictor of the severity of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants is what their mothers ate during pregnancy. The most serious cases of RSV correlate with mothers who ate a diet high in carbohydrates during gestation.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, March 2013

Weekly Health Update: Don’t Wait, Recover Faster

Chiropractic: Don’t Wait.
While patients with chronic (more than 3 months) low back pain generally report good outcomes following chiropractic care, patients with acute pain (less than 4 weeks) recover faster.
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, July 2012

Mental Attitude: Video Games and Happiness?
Older adults who play video games are more likely to be happier and have better emotional health. Those who played video games (even those who said they just played occasionally) reported a greater sense of well-being. The seniors who did not play video games reported more negative emotions and a likelihood toward increased levels of depression.
Computers in Human Behavior, March 2013

Health Alert: Dementia Death Rate Soars!
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have risen from the 24th leading cause of death in the United Kingdom to the 10th in the last 20 years. Dementia is now one of the top 10 (and fastest rising) causes of death. Not including the untold human cost, dementia costs the UK economy £23 billion a year.
The Lancet, March 2013

Diet: Heart Healthy Lifestyle Also Lowers Cancer Risk.
People who adhere to 6 out of the 7 factors from The American Heart Association’s “Life’s Simple 7 Steps” to reduce heart attack risk also reduced their risk of cancer by 51%. Those who followed at least four of the 7 factors decreased their cancer risk by 33%. The seven factors include: being physically active, keeping a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, keeping blood pressure down, regulating blood sugar levels, and not smoking.
American Heart Association March, 2013

Exercise: Exercise and Sleep.
Light, moderate, and vigorous exercisers are more likely to experience restful sleep than non-exercisers (67% vs. 39%). If you are inactive, taking a ten minute daily walk could improve your likelihood of a good night’s sleep.
National Sleep Foundation, March 2013

Wellness/Prevention: Prevent Visceral Fat.
Visceral fat (fat stored in the abdominal cavity) is directly linked to an increased risk for colon cancer. Loss of fat by surgery or a calorie restricted diet reduced the risk of developing intestinal tumors.
Cancer Prevention Research, March 2013

Still In Pain?

All teachers know their history.
When it comes to pain and wellness, here’s a lesson worth remembering: acupuncture is one of the oldest healing practices in the world and can be traced back thousands of years to ancient China. The practice is based on belief in keeping the body’s vital energy flow, or qi (pronounced chee) in balance. Qi flows through the body along 14 ‘pathways’ or meridians. When energy becomes stuck or blocked, pain and illness can occur. Today, many Western practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. This stimulation appears to boost the activity of your body’s natural painkillers and increase blood flow.

Many teachers suffer from painful sciatica, carpal tunnel and neck or low back pain due to repetitive motions and, often, stress. Acupuncture has been shown to help patients mange pain for these disorders, as well as many others, such as migraines and joint pain. The process of inserting very fine needles along specific points in the body can release natural pain-relieving chemicals, promote circulation and balance the nervous system.

Acupuncture has become an increasingly popular option for patients who suffer from chronic pain. In fact, the FDA estimates that Americans undergo between 9 and 12 million acupuncture treatments per year – a number that is bound to continue growing, thanks to its safety and effectiveness. The procedure itself involves the use of ultra-thin needles, made from silver and steel alloy. After a patient has been diagnosed and acupuncture has been deemed appropriate, a licensed acupuncturist will map out the points on the patient’s body where the therapeutic needles can be used to effectively restore the body’s natural energy flow. Patients generally feel only a brief sensation when the needles are inserted, and are often surprised at how painless the treatment actually is. In fact, many patients find acupuncture to be soothing and relaxing.

Acupuncture treatments have been shown to cause the release of endorphins, which are the natural pain relieving substances found in the brain and spinal cord. This natural reaction by the body may help to explain how acupuncture is helpful in relieving pain.

Why do teachers love acupuncture?
Because acupuncture is a non-surgical, drug-free technique that has been used to successfully treat not only pain in the back, neck, shoulders and extremities, but it may also be used to help with relaxation, losing weight, quitting smoking, or reducing anxiety.

Reprinted with permission from Think Teachers Magazine.

It’s All in the Wrist… and Hand… and Fingers…

The carpal tunnel is located at the base of the palm. It is made up of bones, tendons and a thick ligament, all of which encircle the median nerve. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) occurs when this nerve becomes pinched or inflamed, usually a result of repetitive motion from typing or any other sustained activity that overuses this area. An injury to the wrist or hand can also result in nerve damage to the carpal tunnel.

Symptoms range from numbness, tingling and pain to loss of muscle strength. Numbness is most prevalent in the thumb, index and middle fingers, and is often first noticed upon waking.

Who Gets Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
CTS is the most common nerve disorder of the hands, but the majority of cases occur in women between 40 and 55, and 60% of all work injuries are due to CTS. Common occupations at high risk for CTS are secretaries, carpenters, weightlifters and meat packers. Young women can also develop CTS during pregnancy because of hormonal effects upon ligaments and tendons.

Treatment of CTS
Traditional physicians often inject corticosteroids into the area, which will temporarily relieve pain and swelling, but this does not actively treat the problem. When CTS is severe, surgery is often recommended, but this should be a last resort, since surgery can result in scarring and weakening of the ligament, and symptoms can eventually recur.

Chiropractic manipulation has been proven effective in treating CTS because chiropractors are nervous system experts. After X-ray or electromyography studies, your chiropractor can determine the extent of injury and the exact mode of manipulation necessary to alleviate the problem. Adjunct treatment LCT 1000 Deep Tissue (Class IV) Laser may be the most advanced and effective way to alleviate pain and promote healing for CTS sufferers.

Wrist support is very helpful in resting the area and relieving symptoms, even during sleep. Patients with CTS are also encouraged to take breaks and vary their activities during the day to avoid overuse of the area, and to wear fingerless gloves to promote warmth and flexibility in the hands and wrists.

What if it Still Hurts?
Some people do not respond to typical treatment of the wrist because the painful nerve compression is occurring not only in the wrist, but also further along the nerve path to the neck or at multiple locations. The effects of the compression at the lower area is exaggerated by the other higher up compression. This is called Double Crush Syndrome and can be helped with chiropractic management that includes spinal manipulation and physical therapy.

Reprinted with permission from Think Teachers Magazine.