Monday, June 24, 2019

The Perils of Plowing---Who Knew??


     Since the beginning of agriculture, there have been progressive loss & degradation of soils all around the globe.
“Humanity is losing 0.3 percent of our global food production each year to soil erosion and degradation and 30 percent every 100 years,” according to a United Nations report on soil. 
Loss & degradation of soils have even played a part in the decline of civilizations--for example, Mesopotamia, classical Greece, and ancient Rome.
   “It also caused the downfall of the Piedmont region of the southeastern United States as a leading agricultural producer, which it had been in colonial America.” 
It turns out that the PLOW is the villain!
What?!?!
That’s right---plowing exposes soil to erosion; disturbing the soil degrades organic matter, the natural biology of the soil. Farmers have to keep feeding the degraded soil more and more fertilizer.
The answer lies in not plowing (“no till”), keeping soils covered year round using cover crops, and rotating diverse crops in the fields. 
These are the principles of Regenerative Agriculture,  which “stimulates soil microbial activity, the “soil food web,” ....”to build fertile soils, which in turn produce healthy plants.”

Monday, June 17, 2019

Facet Syndrome

       On each side of our vertebrae, toward the back, are bony projections called the “facets.” The facets of each vertebra articulate---or form a joint---with those of the vertebra above. These are synovial joints, similar to other joints in our body.
      These articulations are the only normal points of osseous (bone) contact between our vertebrae, which are separated by the flexible “pads” of our discs. They lend stability to the spine, while allowing movement and flexibility.
      Pain in a facet joint can be due to arthritic changes of aging, or just “wear & tear,” perhaps due to overuse or overexertion, that causes irritation and inflammation. Gentle Activator adjustments, rest,  ice, and stretches help ease the pain. 
      Another common cause of facet pain is restriction; the joint(s) becomes “jammed,” and the area, including adjacent soft tissue, becomes tight. Think of a clenched fist. I see this quite often in my practice, and I use precise, directional adjustments with the Activator instrument to release the tension and relieve the pain. Alternating heat & ice, stretches, and staying mobile are good adjuncts.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Summer is Coming - Who's Minding the Kids?




SUMMER IS COMING---WHO'S MINDING THE KIDS?

"Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Cruz County is working hard to make sure that that no child goes without care this summer by providing affordable, convenient, and impactful summer programs and safe places to come during the summer."

Summer offerings at Boys & Girls Clubs include:

     Day Camp
     Summer Meals and Snacks
     Open Swim & Swim Lessons at the Downtown Club
     Field Trips
 Sports
     Creative Arts,
     Chill Out Time
     "Walking Bus" to Junior Guards
     Computer Activities
     Academic Learning With the Watershed Rangers        

Monday, June 3, 2019

Floating Ribs

  Ribs at the lower ( T12, T11) and upper (T1) regions of the spine typically extend from joints on both sides of the spinal vertebrae at these levels, but unlike the other ribs, do not reach around and attach in front of the chest at the sternum.
Thus they are called “floating” ribs.
This “floating” characteristic is usually inconsequential, except in the upper spine at the T1 level, where these smaller ribs, as they curve around toward the collarbone, may cause an impingement of nerves exiting the neck (called the brachial plexus) and going down into the arms.
The nerves of the brachial plexus pass down through the region where the T1 “floating” ribs come close to the collarbones. The “floating” T1 ribs may press or abrade the nerves against the collarbone(s) (aka clavicle(s) on one or both sides.
This nerve impingement is a condition called “thoracic outlet syndrome,” and can manifest as numbness, tingling, or pain in the arm and hand.
My treatment includes gently separating contact between the T1 “floating” rib and the collarbone with the Activator, teaching specific stretches, and counseling about upper body postures that exacerbate the problem.

Monday, May 27, 2019

"The Biggest Little Farm"--Don't Miss This Movie!



     This is the true story of John & Molly Chester, who "traded city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with Nature."
    John and Molly's farm became a heartwarming adventure of pigs, plants, and perseverance, of discovery and wonder, hard work, and learning the magic of Nature's balance. 
   Their story, the microcosm of their farm, is a model for restoring damaged & depleted ecosystems everywhere, for returning to growing food in equilibrium with the natural world.
   Take the kids and the grandkids! Don't miss this wonderful story!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Stomach Sleeping

  Oh, the deliciousness of being able to sleep on one’s stomach! We may fondly remember doing it, with no negative repercussions, as a kid.
Some adults habitually sleep on their stomach, but often have unpleasant cervical and upper extremity symptoms as a result.
Torquing of the head when stomach sleeping causes aberrant strain on the cervical joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. One may wake up with neck pain or tension, pain or numbness & tingling in the arms or hands, and sometimes headaches.
If this is happening to you, it will benefit you to make an effort to change your sleeping position.  A body pillow can discourage rolling over onto one’s stomach during sleep. 
As you change your sleeping habit, it is a good idea to have your spine and upper body balanced and aligned. I am happy to provide this with my Activator Chiropractic Method of full-body balancing.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Sinus Adjustments

  One of the most valuable new adjustments I learned at my most recent annual Activator Chiropractic update training is one for sinus congestion.
It is done with the Activator on the lowest force setting, contacting the face over the right and left frontal and maxillary sinuses, and applying a gentle impact at each contact.
Patients are reporting significant results---draining of their clogged sinuses, increased ease of breathing, feelings of opening of blocked nasal passages, etc.
I am impressed with the positive results of this new adjustment.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Tale of A Wayward Kneecap

  A common cause of knee pain is when the kneecap “tracks” too far toward the lateral side of the leg. This causes abnormal friction, and if not corrected, can lead to a form of arthritis called chondromalacia patella
Why does this aberrant tracking of the kneecap happen?
Every time you activate your quads (quadriceps)--the muscles in the front of your thigh--the kneecap moves up & down, because the kneecap lies embedded in the tendon of the quadriceps muscles. With contraction / relaxation of the quads, the kneecap “tracks” in a groove on the tibia, underneath it.
The outer (lateral) parts of the quadriceps often become dominant, pulling the kneecap laterally, causing it to rub abnormally against the tibial groove. Pain and eventual arthritis are the results.
I correct this with specific adjustments with the Activator instrument, and give the patient exercises to balance the quadriceps & eliminate the abnormal dominance.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Three Anatomical / Geometric Planes

  As an Advanced Proficiency Rated ACTIVATOR Chiropractor, I am trained to evaluate and adjust joints of the body in three anatomical / geometric planes.
For example, the “ball and socket” hip joint may become misaligned laterally (in the sagittal plane, which divides the body left / right), superiorly or inferiorly (in the axial, or horizontal, plane, which divides the body up / down), or backwards or forwards (in the coronal or frontal plane, which divides the body into back / front). 
The precision of this geometric assessment, with accompanying corrections, contributes significantly to the effectiveness of Activator Chiropractic Method, and helps patients heal and return to normal functioning in a quicker, more lasting way.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Compression in the Carpal Tunnel

  I frequently find that patients have compression in the carpal tunnel at their wrist(s), especially if their activities involve a lot of use of their hands.
This compression can develop slowly over time, prior to full-blown Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).
The carpal tunnel is a passageway through bones in the wrist. The median nerve goes through this passageway. With repetitive motion / overuse of the hand & wrist, this nerve can become impinged or irritated due to pressure on, or abrasion of, the nerve inside the tunnel. The irritated, inflamed nerve may swell, further complicating the situation.
Unrelieved, the end result can be the painful, and often difficult to resolve, condition of CTS.
When I find the aforementioned compression, I gently relieve it with the Activator instrument. In patients whom I know may be prone to this condition, I make it a habit to monitor their wrists.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Ouch!!--Pain at the Base of the Thumb

  Pain and soreness at the base of the thumb may be De Quervain’s tendonitis. Tendons at the bottom of the thumb are irritated, inflammed, and constricted.
There may be swelling, tenderness to touch, and moving or using the thumb is painful. Turning the wrist or gripping something will hurt.
This is called De Quervain’s tendonitis, and it is often caused by repetitive motions or overuse of the hand, wrist & thumb. Tendons attach muscles to bone; repetitive uses of the hand / wrist / thumb, such as gripping, twisting, wringing, chopping, etc., irritates the tendons & causes the inflammation.  
As with other inflammatory conditions, ice is your friend. Protecting the inflammed tendons is key, so limit usage to allow healing. Application of anti-inflammatories such as arnica, as well as ice, is helpful.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare recipients have an option of buying private insurance outside of Medicare, often called “Advantage” plans. These plans are offered by private companies that contract with Medicare, and often include benefits not provided by regular Medicare, such as vision, dental, etc.
This type of private insurance plan must conform to the rules of Medicare--such as limiting charges for certain services--but is administered by Blue Cross, United Health, or other private companies. Patients still have the rights and protections provided under original Medicare.

Monday, April 1, 2019

6 Facts You May Not Know About Carrots

Orange carrots contain beta carotene, but purple carrots have more antioxidants & potentially more health benefits.
Some vegetables are as nutritious frozen as they are fresh, but not carrots. Peeling, processing, freezing, & thawing destroys much of their antioxidants.
Though convenient, baby carrots, pretrimmed & scrubbed, are actually misshapen mature carrots that have been whittled down to smaller, more uniform size. The part that’s thrown away, the outer skin & what’s just beneath it, is much more nutritious. As much as 1/3 of phytonutrients are lost by rimming away the outer parts.
Carrots are better for you when cooked. Cooking breaks down their tough cell walls, making their nutrients more bioavailable. And it matters how you cook them--boiling allows their water-soluble nutrients to leach into the cooking water. Steam or saute them instead. Also, cooking them whole instead of sliced or chopped retains more of their food value and natural sweetness. Cook first; then slice. 
Eating carrots that have been cooked whole may even reduce cancer risks. Carrots contain falcarinol, a cancer-fighting compound. Whole cooked carrots have 25% more of it than those that have been cut before cooking.
Lastly, carrots are best eaten with a healthy fat or oil, because some of their best nutrients are fat-soluble.
     
       (Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health, by Jo Robinson. Little, Brown & Co., 2018)


Monday, March 25, 2019

The Secret is the SOIL!


   Plants absorb carbon and put it back into the soil. 
“All the farmers of the world can contribute to mitigate climate change.” Soil organic carbon “is our bank, it is our fertility, it is the source of everything that we have and what we have to build.”
The 4p1000 Initiative is an international climate agreement that puts agriculture and agroforestry at the center of how we deal with climate change. 
    It "calls for countries to draw down more carbon than they emit, and to store it in the soil. How? By scaling up regenerative farming, grazing and land-use practices. These practices lead to an increase in photosynthesis—nature’s own system for pulling excess carbon out of the air and sequestering it in the soil. They also produce more drought-resistant and resilient crops, and more nutrient-dense food."
Watch this video about restoring and using HEALTHY SOIL for healthy people and a healthy environment:


Monday, March 18, 2019

Bunions

Bunions are the troublesome result of the body’s response to abnormal stresses in the foot.
      When the arch of the toot begins to drop, or when one has “flat feet,” the inside of the foot is stressed downward toward the floor; this is called pronation. 
A fallen arch / pronated foot creates abnormal stress in the joint at the base of the big toe, and the body responds by forming a bunion at that site. 
As an ACTIVATOR Chiropractor, I check the status of the arch, assess for pronation, check & adjust all the joints of the foot, then advise the patient about orthotics, exercises, and how to relieve the stresses that caused the bunion.
This treatment plan has been personally successful for me, as well as for many of my patients.

Monday, March 11, 2019

When the "Sit Bones" Are Skewed

  The bones on both sides of the pelvis where you feel your body weight when you sit, often referred to as the “sit bones,” are technically called the “ischial tuberosities.”
They are weight-bearing parts of the pelvic girdle in a sitting position. If the pelvis becomes distorted, or out of alignment, the distribution of your body weight on these bones when sitting will be skewed, or uneven.
Sitting will be uncomfortable, as may other activities as well---walking, sleeping, etc.
This is correctable with precise, directional, adjustments with the Activator adjusting instrument. As an Advanced Proficiency Rated ACTIVATOR Chiropractor, I correct this when I balance the pelvis, without pain or discomfort to the patient.

Monday, March 4, 2019

4 Reasons Some Oils Are Dangerous & Unhealthy


 1. They are toxic products of OXIDATION
            Vegetable and nut oils (canola, soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower, peanut, sesame, walnut, flax seed, etc.) are polyunsaturated, and as such, are subject to degradation into extremely toxic oxidation products when heated.
            "Polyunsaturated" means they have carbon-to-carbon double bonds that are vulnerable to oxidation---oxygen readily attaches across these bonds in the chemical process called "oxidation." Even at room temperatures, these chemically “unsaturated” oils will oxidize slowly over time into toxic byproducts.
        2. They are OUT OF OMEGA-6 / OMEGA 3 BALANCE
       Vegetable oils are concentrated sources of Omege-6 lineoleic acid. Too much Omega-6 causes an imbalance with healthy, anti-inflammatory Omega-3’s.
        3. They are CONTAMINATED WITH GLYPHOSATE  
            Corn and soy oils, in particular, as well as others, are produced with genetic engineering, which includes major exposures to glyphosate (aka "Roundup").
        4. They are HIGHLY PROCESSED WITH HEAT & / OR CHEMICALS
    Some vegetable oils, especially canola, grapeseed, and rice bran oil, are highly processed, which may include extracting with heat or solvents, and bleaching and degumming with chemicals.

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Secret Life of Beavers



 Yes, those chubby, “paddle-tailed, bucktoothed, dam-building” rodents who chew off young trees and drag them into streams to build dams, slowing water flow, and effectively engineering whole wilderness landscapes----those critters. 
Who knew that beavers are masters of ecological restoration? Their dams, in slowing stream flows, allow water to seep into the land, helping to recharge aquifers, reducing erosion and flooding, and restoring marshes and wetlands. 
Their ponds become habitat for myriad other critters---birds, fish, insects, etc.---a diversity of life in “a lush, soggy paradise.”




Monday, February 18, 2019

A Painful, Sore Spot on the Scalp

A persistent sore spot on the head, painful to pressure, may be a “trigger point" in the scalp muscle.  It may feel like a spot of irritation, and when pressed, pain may seem to spread out from it. This is called “referred” pain, and is a characteristic of trigger points, which can appear in any muscle.
The spot may feel taught, tight, like a nodule or a tiny muscle spasm. The patient will not describe having had an injury or blow to the head, or any kind of spider or insect bite, so the source of the pain may seem mysterious. In addition, the spot may have been sore for quite some time.
Dr. Janet Travell, M.D., an American physician who did extensive research on trigger points and produced two extensive textbooks on the subject, defined predictable patterns of referred pain from trigger points in muscles throughout the body.
Her detailed “maps” of referred pain caused by trigger points serve as guides for doctors in distinguishing the causes of muscular pain. 
Dr. Travell’s recommended treatment included injections of pain relieving medication, as well as application of hypercoolant sprays. 
I recommend application of ice to the sore spot, 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off, repeating until the trigger point is relieved. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Head-Forward Postures---a NO-NO!

 Any position of the body in which the head is forward of the body’s center of gravity is a potential troublemaker---causing neck, upper back, and shoulder tension and discomfort.
Watch out for any of these postures or positions:
----bending the head forward, whether sitting or standing,
----straining the chin / head forward ("leading with your 
              chin"), such as when using a computer, 
----pivoting forward from the hips when sitting.
In all of these positions, the head is forward of the body’s center of gravity, forcing posterior cervical muscles to work overtime to support the weight of the head.
This results in muscle fatigue, tension, chronic reduction of blood flow into contracted muscles, build-up of cellular toxic wastes / inability of cells to rid cellular metabolic wastes because of impeded blood circulation, and pain.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Temporal Arteritis

When a patient comes in with headache and / or jaw pain, especially if the pain is on just one side of the head, it is important to rule out inflammation in the blood vessels, also called “vasculitis.”
Vasculitis in the temporal arteries, which are in the areas of the temples on each side of the head, is known as temporal arteritis, and it should be recognized, because it is serious. A Chiropractor who suspects this should immediately refer the patient to an M.D.
This condition can have serious consequences, such as inflammation spreading to blood vessels of the eyes, possibly causing blindness.
The inflamed vessels are swollen, painful, and may be constricted, or narrowed. The temple area(s) may be tender to touch, the patient may say their jaw hurts after chewing, and there may be diffuse muscle aches and fatigue. These symptoms, as well as fever and a throbbing headache, are “red flags” for temporal arteritis.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Patient Feedback--Essential to Medicare

    As a doctor serving Medicare patients, it is incumbent upon me to make sure I have careful, complete documentation for every patient visit. This includes detailing the patient’s response to the treatment plan.
Medicare wants to know whether the treatment plan is working, or not, and they want the patient to report whether they feel better, whether their pain is less or worse or unchanged, and what daily activities of their life they can do better, or still can’t do, as treatment progresses.
At every office visit, my Medicare patients fill out a brief form reporting all this.

Monday, January 21, 2019

What is Regenerative Agriculture?


Just transitioning 10 percent of agricultural production to best practice regenerative systems will sequester enough CO2 to reverse climate change 
and restore the global climate.” 

Regenerative Agriculture uses farming and grazing methods that rebuild the soil’s organic matter, restore soil biodiversity (organisms and microorganisms), sequester more carbon in soil, and increase the amount of water the soil can hold.
It’s done by:
---disturbing the soil as little as possible; aka “no-till” farming. No plowing, which disturbs healthy soil fungi & microorganisms & increases erosion,
---cover crops, composting, & crop rotations to feed nutrients into soil,
---managed grazing to stimulate plant growth & increase soil fertility. 











Monday, January 14, 2019

Nerve Impingement

Something that “impinges” a nerve is something that---usually negatively---affects the nerve. Common results of nerve impingement are numbness, tingling, pain, hyperesthesia (excessive, or pronounced, sensation), or hypesthesia (diminished sensation). 
Often nerve impingement is conceptualized as pressure on a nerve, but there are also other kinds of mechanical impingement. Abrasion, stretching, twisting are some examples. Temperature changes or chemical impingement are also possible.
In my practice, the goal of relieving pain usually involves relieving mechanical nerve impingement, accomplished by careful, gentle, precise adjustments with the Activator instrument.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Managing Scoliosis

  For scoliosis (a lateral spinal curvature), one of the best self-care techniques is a special yoga designed by Elise Miller, a Palo Alto, CA yoga teacher who herself has a severe scoliotic curve in her spine  https://yogaforscoliosis.com. Elise developed this yoga as a way to manage her own discomfort, and now teaches it, as well as training other yoga instructors how to do this work. 
Santa Cruz is fortunate to have a local teacher who is certified in Yoga for Scoliosis, Karyn Bristol at Yoga Within  www.yogawithkaryn.net 
On March 30, 2019, Elise will be at Karyn’s Aptos studio www.yogawithin.com/events  and there will be an afternoon session of Yoga for Scoliosis.
In my practice, with scoliosis patients, balancing their pelvis and spine is an important first step, and then regular, intermittent full-body balancing to encourage stabilization.  As an adjunct to my chiropractic care, I then refer these patients for Yoga for Scoliosis.