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Chiropractic Adjustments and Neck Pain

A recent study released in 2017 had some very interesting results.  Inami et al looked at the brain and the neck (via PET scans) before and after a cervical (neck) adjustment. While, unfortunately it was a small sample size (21 males) the results do show there is definitely an influence on the brain in regards to outcomes after an adjustment. 

Significant findings of this study include:

  • Decrease in Muscle Tension in the neck 
  • Increase of neck range of motion
  • Changes in the Cerebellum - where affective processing (sensory), pain modulation and sensorimotor processing occurs - possibly explaining a decrease of pain sensation
  • Changes to the prefrontal cortex - possibly explaining an increase in relaxation

Glucose Metabolic Changes in the Brain and Muscles of Patients with Nonspecific Neck Pain Treated by Spinal Manipulation Therapy: A [18F]FDG PET Study.  Evidence Based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. 2017. 4345703. Akie Inami, 1 Takeshi Ogura, 1 , 2 Shoichi Watanuki, 1 Md. Mehedi Masud, 1 , 3 Katsuhiko Shibuya, 4 Masayasu Miyake, 1 Rin Matsuda, 1 Kotaro Hiraoka, 1 Masatoshi Itoh, 4 Arlan W. Fuhr, 5 Kazuhiko Yanai, 1 , 6 and  Manabu Tashiro 1 , 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5267084/

Mindful Breathing and Meditation

Mindfullness and Meditation

This is a how to post.  The brief why to is that these simple mindful breathing techniques can reduce pain, anxiety and depression, improve posture, improve cognitive function, increase gray matter in your brain.  This stuff sounds pretty good to me. 

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Practice laying on back or seated with one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest.  Inhale deeply through your nose*.  As you inhale the belly expands and chest does not move.  Exhale through pursed lips, squeezing you core, bringing your belly button towards your spine.

Tactical Breathing

This is a great way to stay cool in a stressful situation.  Using diaphragmatic breathing inhale for 4 count; Exhale for 6 count; as soon as exhale is complete begin inhale.

Box Breathing

This is a great way to learn to control your breath.  This is best practiced in a calm environment and allows you to more easily drop into tactical breathing in stressful situations.  Using diaphragmatic breathing inhale for 4 count; hold breath for 4 count; exhale for 6 count; hold breath for 4 count; and repeat.

Vipassana Meditation

Mindful breathing is focusing on your breathing in order to be present and interrupt the flow of random thoughts in the brain. Observe the breath. Notice if the breath is long or short.  When your mind wanders, gently return it to the sensation of breathing.  As you focus on the breath, you will notice that other perceptions and sensations continue to appear: sounds, feelings in the body, emotions, etc.  Simply notice this, and then return to the sensation of breathing.  The point is not to be good at it.  The point is to do it.  Through observing the breath, mind, and body, you can gain insight into the true nature of the reality and impermanence.  Like box breathing, this sets us up to be able to interrupt negative thought patterns throughout our day.  Start with 5 minutes in the morning upon waking or in the evening before bed.

Mindfulness

Single task, focus on what you are doing presently.  When you eat, just eat.  Don’t read or watch TV.  Pay attention and take your time.  When you exercise focus on your breathing and your body.  Daily routines like washing the dishes, taking a shower, and mowing the lawn can become calming.

*Breathing in through your nose calms your brain and activates your parasympathetic nervous system aka "rest-and-digest" pathway.

 

Chemical Stress and Your Health

Chemical Stress and Health

Stress can be good or bad.  Stressors can have positive or negative impact on cell function.  They may be physical, chemical, and psychological.  Good stress like exercise, or setting challenges builds stress resistance that is beneficial.  Bad stress such as poor nutrition, anxiety and worry can become overwhelming and is considered chronic stress.  Our focus today is on chemical stressors.

Chemical stressors on our body include alcohol, tobacco, drugs, environmental toxins, and food additives and preservatives.  Food can either enhance or suppress the immune system.  Most foods today contain additives and preservatives that tax the immune system.  Excess grains, sugars, trans and hydrogenated fats, alcohol, caffeine, and salt weaken the stress response.  Grains, sugar, and hydrogenated oils cause inflammation.  Caffeine triggers the sympathetic nervous system.  Salt increases blood pressure.  Stress depletes the body’s essential nutrients.

Psychological stress only compounds the problem.  Emotional stress can create poor eating habits like over/under eating, excessive dieting, and over consuming alcohol, caffeine, sugar, salt, and bad fat.   

To combat chemical stress develop good habits around food:

·      Eat real food, mostly plants.

·      Avoid processed food.

·      Avoid food with additives and preservatives.

·      Don’t binge or eat late at night.

·      Enjoy meals with friends and family.

We also have to consider other toxins in our environment.  Air and water quality are compromised in many environments.  We spend a lot of time indoors breathing recycled air and in traffic breathing exhaust.  We drink and bath in polluted water, and wash our skin and home with harsh cleaning products.  For green cleaning recipes check out http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/queen-of-green/recipes/.