Monday, December 30, 2019

The Pubic Symphysis

 An often overlooked or forgotten joint in the pelvis is the pubic symphysis. It is a small, movable, flexible joint in the front of the pelvic "girdle" (the bones and articulations that make up the pelvis in the human skeleton).
      There is a disc in this joint, similar to the discs in our spine. In women, the joint is able to expand during childbirth. 
     The pubic symphysis is an essential joint because it is integrally involved in motion of the pelvis during our gait cycle (walking), and in stability and equilibrium of the pelvic girdle. 
     I often find this joint misaligned when the patient’s pelvis is distorted, especially when the distortion is severe. A patient who complains of groin symptoms will often exhibit an aberrant alignment of the pubic symphysis, and correcting it will bring relief.
      I make precise, directional corrections to the pubic symphysis with the ACTIVATOR instrument to relieve groin & pelvic pain and help the pelvis to stabilize. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Kneecap Troubles

      If the kneecap is misaligned, there is resulting abnormal wear-&-tear underneath it, which can eventually lead to arthritis of the knee.
     The kneecap, or patella, is imbedded in the tendon of the quadriceps (quads) muscles. Whenever the quads are activated by bending the knee, the kneecap moves with the tendon, sliding up and down in a groove on the front and lower end of the femur (the bone of the upper leg).
     As long as the kneecap slides smoothly and evenly in this groove, all is well. But if the kneecap begins to rub unevenly against the side(s) of the groove, trouble---abnormal wear & tear---and eventual development of arthritis---will result.  
     A misaligned patella easy to correct with ACTIVATOR Chiropractic, once a careful and precise assessment of the knee is done. I evaluate and then correct the misalignment, and I give the patient special exercises help the correction to hold.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Got (Cranial) Rhythms?

      Got cranial rhythms?  Yes, in fact we all do. 
      The "cranial rhythms" are very subtle, predictable rhythmical motions of the bones in the head. These motions are so subtle that it often takes a long time and a lot of practice to learn to discern them.
     To detect them, I place my hands gently on the patient's head, then wait. Depending on which movements I'm checking, I "listen" with my hands for the tactile sensations of movement. 
     The bones in the head move in these rhythms in pairs---the temporal bones have a characteristic rhythm, as do the parietal bones, the occiput, etc. We know what normal is, and feel for it. 
     Sometimes the rhythmical motions get "stuck" or out of synch. Then I gently encourage them back to normal. This is particularly good for headaches, and often helps with vertigo, sinus congestion, and sometimes tinnitus. 
     Cranial balancing is part of every treatment in my office. 

Monday, December 9, 2019

Tennis Elbow

      Pain and tenderness just below and near the outside of the elbow is commonly due to inflammation of the tendon of the wrist extensor muscles in the forearm (the muscles that bend your hand backward). It is a form of extensor tendonitis. 
     Called "tennis elbow" because it's common in tennis players, it is an overuse or improper use syndrome. Chronic or excessive contraction of he wrist extensor muscles causes inflammation of the tendon attaching these muscles at the elbow. Every time the muscles are activated, it causes pain in the tendon and at the tendon attachment.  
     The wrist extensor muscles in the forearm should be massaged, then iced and rested. The inflamed tendon must be protected so it can heal; this is done by a compression band worn just below the tendonous attachment to relieve stress on the tendon. 
     As an ACTIVATOR Chiropractor, I find tennis elbow is associated with particular misalignments of the bones in the forearm, the ulna and radius, and often of the carpal bones in the wrist. Correcting these misalignments is an essential part of my treatment plan.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Loss of Cervical Curve

  Often after an injury such as whiplash, there is a “straightening” of the normally forward-facing curve in the neck. This can happen in absence of injury, and may be unexplained. 
Sometimes called “military neck,” it can have various consequences. 
The altered curve changes biomechanical function in the cervical spine, affects posture, and may result in chronic discomfort. 
The cervical vertebrae should be gently and precisely aligned, and appropriate exercises and stretches prescribed. Traction is often part of my treatment plan for this.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Magnificent Magnesium

          Magnesium is important to our health in multiple ways. It is required for functioning of over 300 enzyme systems, important for efficient energy production in our cells, and for heart health and cognition.
It is involved in the metabolism and activation of other nutrients, including Vit. D.
There is a link between magnesium and Type II diabetes; magnesium helps regulate blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity. Studies show that magnesium deficiency may be linked to an increased risk for diabetes.
Magnesium-rich foods include leafy greens, nuts, whole grains, avocados, and legumes.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Medicare Patients Welcome!

 If you have Medicare, you are welcome in my office---I enjoy serving Medicare patients in my practice. My low-force Activator Method is especially suitable for elders because it is gentle, comfortable, and safe.
My specialty is low-force, full-body balancing, and my adjustments are comfortable and gentle. My goal is to help you feel better, recover full functioning, and resume the activities that you enjoy.

Monday, November 11, 2019

"Just" a Head Bump?

      Bumping your head can be more than just an embarrassment or a temporary discomfort.  It can disturb the cranial rhythms, possibly setting you up for future headaches. 
      The cranial rhythms are subtle movement patterns of the cranial bones. These rhythms aren't synchronized with our pulse or respiration. They are related to the circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid, which bathes our brain and our spinal cord.
     Disturbance of these movement patterns is frequently associated with headaches, and sometimes with vertigo.
     Balancing the cranial rhythms and restoring them to normal is part of every full-body treatment that I do. If you bump your head, or if you suffer from headaches, I will be happy to help.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Fire Safe Santa Cruz County


    I am proud to be a  Community Partner 
Fire Safe Council of Santa Cruz County

A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Corporation
Whose Mission is to Educate and Mobilize the People of Santa Cruz County
to Protect Their Community, Homes, and Environment from Wildfires 

Learn how your tax deductible contribution to 
become a Community Partner can help at:


Monday, October 28, 2019

"Pelvic Distortion"--Is That a Rock Band?

      Actually, no, although it may sound like it. 
      Pelvic distortion is a very real, fairly common condition of the pelvis that causes, among other problems, a person to have one leg shorter than the other. 
      It also creates a tilted pelvis, making an unstable foundation for the spine and the rest of the body above. 
      Don't go through life with a pelvic condition that may sound like a rock band; come see me; I will adjust and balance your pelvis with low-force, comfortable ACTIVATOR Chiropractic.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Foot, Ankle, Knee, Hip

 An aberrant condition in the foot often affects the related ankle, knee, and hip. This is known as a “kinematic chain.” Vice-versa, a hip or knee problem can reverberate downward and affect the ankle and foot.
For example, pronation in the foot causes ankle destabilization and results in rotation of the knee. This is easy to demonstrate in someone who pronates by having them stand barefooted, without support for the arch of the foot.
Abnormal rotation at the knee causes stress in the joint, leads to abnormal wear-and-tear, and contributes to degenerative breakdown of the joint tissues.
In turn, this aberrance at the knee reverberates upward and creates abnormal stress in the hip joint.
When patients present in my office with foot pronation, I check and balance their pelvis and entire lower extremities, and prescribe orthotics to support the foot and correct pronation.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Unrelieved Rib Pain

 Pain along a rib that has no preceeding trauma, is unresponsive to chiropractic adjustments, and persistently worsens may be the first stage of an outbreak of shingles. 
Anyone who has had chicken pox carries the herpes zoster virus in the nerve ganglia alongside their spine. The virus is dormant until conditions such as hyperthermia or stress trigger an outbreak.
A shingles viral outbreak follows the path of the related sensory nerve, called a “dermatome.” Dermatomes wrapping around from the thoracic spine resemble the paths of our ribs, so initial symptoms of shingles are often misinterpreted as rib pain.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Nature's "Pest Control Experts"

      Owls are Nature's "pest control experts"---they feed on rats, mice, and gophers.
      Rat poisons can sicken and kill wildlife and pets, because after rodents eat the poison, they go back into the wild and can take more than a week to die. Any animal that preys on them also becomes poisoned. 
     "Using poison to kill rodents has the long-term effect of actually increasing the rodent population, since the poison kills off the rodents’ natural predators, allowing the rodents to breed unchecked."
    Owls are one of the best non-toxic methods of rodent control. Attract owls to your property by putting up nest boxes; one owl can devour 1400+ rodents per year!

Monday, September 30, 2019

What Does Medicare Cover?

  For Chiropractic care, Medicare currently covers only treatment of the spine. So shoulder, knee, ankle, wrist, etc., problems aren’t covered. 
The Chiropractic profession is working on changing this---on getting Medicare coverage for the whole body---and hopefully, it will happen soon.
In the meantime, when I see Medicare patients, I make careful documentation of their spinal symptoms and treatment, and report these to Medicare on the required forms and according to the specific Medicare coding system. Medicare patients in my office pay my fee at the time of service. 
Typical allowances for Chiropractic patients in Santa Cruz County are between about $48.00 and $33.00 per visit, depending on the patient’s complaints and the concomitant treatment. 
        Of these allowances, Medicare will reimburse the patient 80%, and the typical Medicare supplement policy will cover the other 20%.  Allowances do change annually, but often by only a few cents.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Nerve Impingement in the Neck

 “Impingement” of a nerve simply means the nerve is somehow negatively affected. It might be pressure, abrasion, stretching, or other constriction, causing symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, burning, hyper- or hypoesthesia.
In the neck, nerves exit the spine and travel out into the shoulders and down both arms & hands. These nerves are called the “brachial plexus.” Impingement of the brachial plexus is called “thoracic outlet syndrome." 
There are several common sites of impingement of the brachial plexus, including between muscles on either side of the neck, and between the clavicle and the first rib. The patient may complain of pain or numbness or tingling in the arm(s) or hand(s).
This can be due to, among other causes, poor posture, trauma such as whiplash, over-exercising or imbalanced exercising, stress, or unaccustomed activities--often some kind of work with the arms over the head.
Once I identify the site(s) of impingement, I make precise, directional adjustments with the Activator instrument and give the patient ergonomic and home care counseling and appropriate stretches.

Monday, September 16, 2019

A "Winged" Scapula

  A common cause of discomfort and restriction in the upper back and shoulder is an outwardly rotated, or “winged” scapula.
When this occurs, symptoms can present around or underneath the shoulder blade itself, or in the involved shoulder and arm. Muscles may be in reactive contraction; the range of motion of the shoulder and arm is often restricted.
I reposition the scapula to its normal orientation, using the Activator instrument. It is also necessary to adjust the humerus, the upper bone in the arm which articulates with the scapula, as well as the radius or ulna in the forearm, and some of the bones in the wrist, because the “winging” of the scapula reverberates all the way into the shoulder and down the arm.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Ouch! Pain in the Toes

  Recurring pain in a toe or toes, which may feel like a cramp, can be related to an aberrant gait cycle. When a patient presents with this complaint, I watch them walk. 
Commonly, during toe-off, when the weight-bearing foot is rolling forward as the heel of the opposite foot takes the body’s weight, the toes on the “rolling” foot are "pushing." This not only assists in balance, but helps propel the walker forward.
If this action of the toes is unnecessarily strong, toe pain, either from stress on the joints or overly-contracted muscles, can be the result. This is common with vigorous walkers or “power” walkers.
Shoes that are too stiff can also be part of the problem. The walker must work harder during the gait cycle to overcome a stiff shoe. 
When a patient has this toe pain, I adjust the lower extremities, with careful attention to the feet and toes. then advise about proper walking shoes. I show the patient how to moderate their gait to help this condition resolve.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Lateral Ankle Pain

  Pain on the outside (lateral side) of the ankle can be due to a misaligned lower fibula. 
The lower end of the fibula, the smaller bone in the lower leg, forms the “bump” on the outside of the ankle. It is attached to the lower end of the larger bone, the tibia, by ligaments. Even a mild sprain of these ligaments can bring on pain.
Aside from a ligamentous sprain, however, the lower fibula may become stressed, or misaligned, in multiple directions, which results in pain, An inferior misalignment is quite common, as is a posterior misalignment. 
I correct these misalignments with the Activator instrument, precisely and comfortably for the patient, bringing relief.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Tension Headache

  Possibly the most common type of headache, tension headache, manifests as dull, aching pain and feelings of tension, tightness, and / or pressure in the head.
The sufferer may also have tender spots on their scalp and in the muscles of their neck, upper back, and shoulders.
With patients presenting in my office with this type of headache, I frequently find hypertonicity (abnormal tightness) or spasms in the suboccipital muscles at the base of the skull, in the muscles of the jaw, and in the muscles of the neck, upper back, and shoulders.
Sound familiar?
My treatment includes adjustments with the Activator to correct misalignments in the neck and upper body, and I use the Activator to relieve the hypertonicity in affected muscles.
Since these headaches are often posture - related, I counsel the patient about stressful postures which may be causing them, teach patients how to avoid these tension-producing postures, and give the patients stretches for the involved muscles.   

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Power of Purple

  Which fruits and vegetables pack the most powerful nutrition punch? The answer = the most intensely colorful ones, especially if they are purple, red, or reddish-brown. 
These colored foods are richer in phytonutrients called anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants. They make blueberries blue and strawberries red.
Anthocyanins “show great promise in fighting cancer, lowering blood pressure, slowing age-related memory loss,” etc.
What foods can we begin to add more of in our diets? 
Think purple!---purple onions, purple cabbage, purple potatoes, purple carrots, purple broccoli, purple cauliflower, purple peas & beans, artichokes, and asparagus come to mind.
To learn more, see Jo Robinson’s 2013 book, Eating on the Wild Side:  The MIssing Link to Optimum Health

Monday, August 12, 2019

Yes--Medicare Covers Chiropractic!

  Attention Seniors:  Medicare covers Chiropractic. Although it only pays for spine care (not extremities), Medicare does reimburse for Chiropractic care.
Medicare patients are welcome in my practice. My focused Chiropractic care is excellent support for seniors’ health, wellness and vitality, and a solution to pain and discomfort. My Activator Chiropractic method is low-force and gentle; my goal is to help you feel better and recover fullness of activity and function.
  I am happy to discuss how this works, always pleased to help seniors, and to report to Medicare about my senior patients’ diagnoses and treatment.

Monday, August 5, 2019

One Hip Higher

  Patients frequently tell me that one of their hips feels “higher” than the other, or that someone has told them that one hip looks higher. They are usually, but not always, having discomfort in their pelvis or low back.
The person’s perception is exactly right---one hip IS higher in the most common pattern of pelvic distortion. 
This distortion pattern consists of one side of the pelvis, the ilium, being posterior-inferior, and the opposite ilium being anterior-superior. It’s as if the pelvis becomes twisted. The anterior-superior side is the side of the “higher hip.”
Distortion of this kind puts undue stress on the sacrioiliac ligaments, results in an unlevel pelvis, often affects the sacrum, and can cause spasms in the gluteal muscles, resulting in pain, and sometimes gait disturbances.
Checking and balancing the pelvis is a critical part of my care for every patient, because a balanced pelvis creates a stable foundation for the spine. I check the pelvis whether or not the patient is having discomfort, gently and comfortably correcting any distortion.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Pain at the End of the Collarbone

The outer end of the collarbone, near the front and top of the shoulder, articulates (makes a joint) with a bony projection from the shoulderblade. The bony projection is called the acromion process.
The clavicular part meets the acromion part, forming the “acromioclavicular, or AC, joint.
Curiously, these bones butt together with little efficient “fitting” surfaces, and are held together by ligaments surrounding and “cementing” their connection. 
On the plus side, this joint, one of several in the shoulder complex, contributes to the range of motion of the shoulder. But on the downside, this joint is particularly vulnerable to injury, including partial misalignment or complete dislocation. 
In my practice, patients with shoulder pain often have AC joint problems. The joint may be jammed, or exhibiting separation stress. I make gentle, precise adjustments with the Activator instrument to bring relief.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Grass-Fed & Finished, or Grain-Fed?

  Grains, soy, and corn are not natural food for cows---grass is their natural food. 
Even though all calves spend the first part of their lives on pasture, feeding on mother’s milk and grass, at around 7 months old, many of them will be transferred to industrial feedlots, to be quickly fattened with corn or soy. And given growth hormones & antibiotics to maximize profitability.
The corn / soy feeds are often supplemented with cheap filler products---stale candy, soda crackers, fish meal, peanut butter, breakfast cereal, ice cream sprinkles, cookies, hot chocolate mix, etc.---to reduce costs & accelerate fattening the animals.
Meat from these animals is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and lacking in nutrient value and quality. 
Grass-fed & grass-finished cows eat a natural diet; their meat is more nutritious, higher in healthy omega-3’s and lower in inflammatory omega-6‘s, and doesn’t have the toxic chemical by-products (hormones, antibiotics) found in industrially-raised meat.
The grass-finished designation is critically important. If not specified as grass-finished, although initially fed on grass, the cows may have been soy-corn-filler-feedlot-fattened for a period before processing.  

Monday, July 15, 2019

Patella-Femoral Joint

      The patella-femoral joint is the connection between the patella, or kneecap (which is embedded in the tendon of the quadriceps muscle) and the femur (the thigh bone). This joint is largely dependent on soft tissues (muscles and tendon) for stability. 
      On the back side of the patella are articulating surfaces that contact the matching surfaces (the femoral "groove") on the femur. As you move from full extension (your leg straightened) to flexion (the knee bending) the patella will contact / slide against the femur. Proper alignment for this movement is critical to maintaining a full, pain-free range of motion. 
     If the alignment of the movement is off, there will be abnormal wear and tear. Uncorrected, this can start to be painful, and a "crunching" or "grinding" may be audible when the knee is bent or straightened. This is the development of Patella-femoral Syndrome (pain during knee range of motion), or Chondromalacia Patella (an arthritic condition under the kneecap). 
     In my office, I assess the knee through ranges of motion, and make precise adjustments with the Activator instrument to correctly align the patella. I show the patient specific exercises to do at home to maintain alignment of the kneecap and prevent this condition.      

Monday, July 8, 2019

3 Secrets to Relieving Sciatica

  Many patients come in suffering the pain of sciatica---pain down the leg. Typically the pain goes down the back of the leg, but can be in the buttock or down the side or front of the leg as well.
Sciatica is caused by impingement of the sciatic nerve, which is composed of branches of the lumbar nerves that exit the spine between the lower vertebrae and travel through the buttocks and down the legs.
“Impingement” can be caused by abrasion, pressure, “pinching,” stretching, or other irritation. The resulting discomfort can be frustrating, difficult to tolerate, and often impacts patients’ ability to go about their daily activities.
Sciatica can originate where the nerves exit the spine, but it is commonly caused by impingement in the gluteal region---the part you sit on. Sitting too long on a hard surface can irritate the sciatic nerve, and chronically tight gluteal muscles can also be the problem.
The secrets? Don’t spend long times sitting; get up and move. Don’t sit on hard surfaces; use a cushion. Stretch; maintain flexibility and good circulation in your gluteals.

Monday, July 1, 2019

What If Medicare Covered Healthy Food?

Subsidizing fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods under Medicare and Medicaid could prevent millions of cases, as well as deaths from, cardiovascular disease, according to a new model. It would prevent hundreds of thousands of diabetes cases, as well, and save billions of dollars in healthcare costs.”
This would work by having doctors prescribe healthy foods---fruits, vegetables, etc.---and having insurers (Medicare & Medicaid) help pay for them.
A new study found that “subsidizing fruits and vegetables would prevent 1.93 million cardiovascular events, like heart attacks, and 350,000 deaths from the conditions. 
Subsidizing fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods would prevent 3.28 million cardiovascular events, 620,000 deaths, and 120,000 cases of diabetes. 
The fruits and vegetables program would save nearly $40 billion in healthcare costs, and the addition of other healthy foods would save over $100 billion."
Go here to learn more: 

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!
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?


"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
     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.