“I can take a deep breath, I feel my sinuses have finally opened up and feel more calm after an adjustment” states Pamela Peterson owner of I heart Pilates after her first NUCCA adjustment at Alpha Spine Center. Most patients often feel this calmness and ability to breathe more deeply after their adjustment. Ever wondered why that is?
The Scientific Explanation.
The central nervous system has a subsystem called the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is responsible for automatic or involuntary bodily functions that we do not need to perform consciously or actively, such as breathing. The ANS is responsible for controlling the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system response. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is responsible for the “Fight or Flight” response in which the body gets prepared for danger. It does so by dilating the lungs for rapid breathing causing the heart to beat faster and stronger, increases blood circulation to the muscles and increases the adrenaline rush in your body so it can either fight the danger or run away from the danger. Where as, the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is responsible for conserving and restoring energy through bodily functions like digestion.
Definition: Central Nervous system: Consists of the brain and spinal cord, which is the integrating and control center.
How does a NUCCA adjustment affect the Parasympathetic Nervous System?
The parasympathetic nervous system stems from the level of the brainstem (Upper cervical: C1 and C2) and sacral region of the spine and the sympathetic nervous system stems from the thoracic and lumbar region of the spine. Therefore, if the nerves in the brainstem and sacral region were activated then a parasympathetic response should illicit. This was proven by Welch and Boone published in 2008, in which they found a decrease in diastolic blood pressure in subjects that received an upper cervical adjustment. So the pressure in the heart decreased further as it filled up with blood. Indicating that activation of the parasympathetic nervous system upon an upper cervical adjustment.
Definition: Diastolic pressure: minimum arterial pressure during relaxation and dilation of the ventricles during filling of blood in the heart.
The scientific explanation helps understand the feeling of being relaxed, calm and the ability to take a deep breath after a NUCCA adjustment at the Alpha Spine Center. If you know a loved one in constant “fight or flight”, stress or sympathetic mode that can’t seem to dial down and be calm; refer them to Alpha Spine Center to determine if they qualify for NUCCA care.
Methods of evaluation of autonomic nervous system function. Zygmunt, A., Stanczyk, J. Arch Med Sci. 2010; 6(1): 11-18.
Upper Cervical Subluxation Complex. A Review of the Chiropractic and Medical Literature. Eriksen, K. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2004
It is so difficult to be “ON” all the time. We shake off our sleepiness and get ready each morning, yearning for that cup of coffee to get us back to our normal selves. Between the balance of interacting with people all day, working with intense focus, and somehow fitting time for meals and the other activities we do, our moods and levels of energy shift and change. During all this time, some of us can be anxious and build up stress; others may use the constant go going as a means of not dealing with the emotions and thoughts they carry inside. Whatever occupation or stage of life you are in, we all deal with emotional stress; with the high and lows of each day, and we all deal with it in different ways. This emotional health is a significant part of having BALANCE in our lives as it has an impact on the other facets of our health (physical, chemical, social, and spiritual).
In 2018, people are more depressed and anxious than ever. The millennial generation is considered generation stress. Left unchecked stress can cause us to be irritable and angry straining relationships with family and friends. It also can also increase the production of the hormone Cortisol in our bodies. This chemical engages our fight or flight responses. Having continuously elevated levels of cortisol can interfere with our learning and memory, increase the risk of heart disease, increased risk of depression, mental illness, and lowers our immunity to sickness. On top of this, our disconnect through social media and the technology have gradually amplified our anxieties as we are now able to see all the exciting things everyone else is doing as we sit alone in our bed or stuck in an office. We are losing our ability to communicate and connect with people in person comfortably, and in turn, don’t receive the stress-relieving benefits of genuine human connection. The constant stimulus and business have stopped us from getting the adequate rest we need.
All is not lost though; there are some lifestyle choices we can make to keep ourselves emotionally healthy.
1. Get Regular Physical Activity- Going on hikes, going to the gym, throwing a Frisbee at the park, kickboxing, and swimming are all great ways to release that built up cortisol and stress. It also allows us to feel more self-confident and happy as we build strength, get out in the sun, and release endorphins. Even if you have a busy schedule, try finding ways to fit in daily activity on your lunch break or even 15 minutes before you sleep.
2. Intentional Social Connectivity- when we aren’t feeling ourselves or feel overly anxious, a typical response is to isolate ourselves from social situations, only increasing our cortisol and stress-related issues. Close-knit bonds with family, friends, and partners are vital for our mental health. Try intentionally talking about your day or struggles with someone you trust. When you find yourself wanting to back out of social commitments because of anxiety and stress, try forcing yourself to go to that small group meeting, that night out or that day hike with your friends.
3. Take Time for Self-Reflection and Prayer- a great way to balance our emotions is to take time to reflect alone, unplugged from our text messages, emails, and constant notifications. For starters take 10 minutes each morning to reflect on yourself, have your morning devotional and prayer time, read a self-reflective book that encourages you. Not only does this allow you to have a sense of calmness, it’s a great way to center yourself and reflect on your life before you dive back into the hustle bustle of life.
4. Talk to A Counselor or Professional- We all have things we struggle with and deal with, and it is so important to express them instead of bottling them up. This could be as simple as finding a trusted friend or counselor to discuss your stresses and thoughts. Seeing a trained and trusted psychologist is a great way to have a third party listen to your struggles and give you valuable insight into who you are, how you are dealing with things, and how you can move forward in light of it.
5. Learn to Have Boundaries- “Good fences make good neighbors.” Good boundaries make life easier, reduce conflict and improve relationships. Boundaries are those invisible lines of protection you draw around yourself that let people know your limits on what they can say or do around you, and they give you space and time to do what you need to do for you. Boundaries give you freedom in relating and connecting with others. Make them too solid, and you build walls, too weak, and you allow other’s actions to harm you and run your life. To begin thinking about how well balanced your boundaries are pay attention to your language. Do you tend to use “you” and “we” statements rather than “I” statements? “I” statements let others know where YOU stand and don’t come off as offensively as “you” statements. Another way is to begin noticing how clear you are with the words “yes” and “no.” Do you sit on the fence with decision-making? Are you someone who has a hard time committing verbally to things? Knowing how to say yes and no effectively won’t only allow for better-defined relationships, but it will let you feel more confident in your own decisions and life.
Making these lifestyle changes and creating boundaries takes attention and intention, but with practice and discipline, you will experience much more freedom and balance in your emotional health and day-to-day lives!
What is Balanced Health?
Most of us have heard that we should get regular exercise and eat a balanced diet: Lose the weight, stay in shape, and eat our vegetables, etc., etc. It’s good advice to take care of our body, but is this balanced health? Not entirely. A balanced lifestyle not only focuses on our physical and nutritional health (healthy food, exercise, sleep), it recognizes the Mental/Emotional, Social, and Spirituals needs and their impact on our overall health.
5 Key Components to Balanced Health
Mental-Emotional health relates to how we feel, and how our emotional needs are met. It deals with how we are satisfied mentally. Continuously learning, being aware of our emotions, and having a positive outlook on life helps our emotional, mental health.
Social health has to do with our relationships. As relational beings, we need to connect with others and create companionship. Dysfunctional and unresolved conflict in our existing relationships, dealing with loneliness, and lack of community are some things that can affect social health.
Physical health focuses on our physical fitness and the condition of our physical body. Getting adequate rest, having a healthy environment and living space, and taking proper care of injuries are some examples of taking care of physical health.
Chemical health is what we put in and on our bodies, as well as how our body reacts to substances. This includes our nutrition, being aware of allergies and food intolerances, as well as reducing the use of harmful substances (alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and certain pharmaceutical chemicals.
Spiritual health deals with our connection to our values and actions, and a sense of greater purpose. It is time spent in reflection on our values and spiritual relationships. Engaging in prayer, quiet time, and connection with God gives a sense of direction, harmony, and peace in our lives.
By balancing these five areas of our overall health, we can achieve a healthy balanced lifestyle, but letting any one of the areas slide can negatively impact the rest of your health! Someone who struggles with being out of shape or obesity may have social insecurities related to their weight or appearance, find themselves with less energy to physical activities, and are 25% more susceptible to mood disorders such as depression (Everyday Health). Those who struggle with emotional, mental depression suffer in their physical health due to lack of appetite and a lack of desire to take care of themselves. They also will suffer in their social health as they isolate themselves from others. Without spiritual purpose or direction, life can feel like chaos, leading to addictions, not eating well, and emotional volatility.
On the other hand, working on any area of our health helps the other three components as well. Working out creates chemicals called endorphins that make us feel happy, and it creates the discipline that gives us a sense of accomplishment. Spending quality time with friends allows us to physically and mentally relax from the stresses of work and life. Having trust in God and taking quite time to reflect on Him takes off the emotional and mental pressure to have all the answers, and can even provide community through religious gatherings.
Here at the Alpha Spine Center, we know how wellness goes beyond the physical care we provide, and our doctors are always willing to address the emotional, social, and spiritual impacts on your health. It is important for us to bring awareness to these different areas of overall health so that you can continue to live a healthy balanced lifestyle and retake charge of your life as we help you with all of your spinal health needs.
Thompson, Dennis. “Depression and Obesity.” EverydayHealth.com, Everyday Health, 15 July 2011, www.everydayhealth.com/depression/depression-and-obesity.aspx.
“Wellness: Seven Dimensions of Wellness.” Wellness: Seven Dimensions of Wellness, University of California, Riverside, wellness.ucr.edu/seven_dimensions.html.
Teenage years are the best years of your life, filled with future hopes, dreams and aspirations. These are the times when you are motivated to conquer the world. Imagine being 18 years of age and your life gets put on hold and all your vivacious hopes, dreams and future aspirations are taken away from you with a blink of an eye.
On a beautiful spring day of May 2015 K.D. experienced a significant loss in life: the optimal functioning of her body. That day, K.D. couldn’t move the entire right side of her body, the words coming out of her mouth were slurred, her vision began to blur, she had a major migraine with TMJ pain. After a few more episodes, she sought help. She saw stroke specialists, neurologists, heart doctors, physical, occupational and speech therapists, she had taken medications but nothing helped. Unfortunately, she had to drop out of college and move in with her parents as she could no longer read, write, type, speak or take care of herself. Three months had passed, with no resolution and 70 migraine episodes that lasted days or weeks with $200, 000 in medical expenses.
On August 28th of 2015 her parents drove 60 miles (2 hours) from McDonough, GA to Alpha Spine Center, with a gleam of hope and a diagnosis of a complex-stroke migraine or hemiplegic migraine and conversion disorder.
K.D. presented into the office on a wheelchair desperately waiting for a solution to her debilitating state. During the consultation, it was daunting to see her struggle as she tried to express herself through the process. Dr. Salminen performed a thorough examination on K.D. and determined that she was a perfect candidate for NUCCA care. It brought her joy and tears in her eyes, as she was relieved that there was a cause and solution for her stroke-like migraines. Dr. Salminen gently carried K.D. from her wheelchair and placed her onto the adjusting table. Moments after the adjustment K.D. clearly, uttered the words “I am better”, and sat herself up. She could finally feel the right side of her body move!
After a couple of months of NUCCA care with Dr. Salminen, K.D.’s excitement returned as her hopes and dreams evolved again. She returned to college, as she could read, write, type and speak again. The motor control of the right side of her body increased with precision. This allowed her to drive and start working again. K.D. gained her life back; she didn’t have to wonder whether she’ll have the opportunity graduate college or get a professional job or even get married.
K.D’s migraines were debilitating! It put her life on hold. If you know anyone experiencing one of the above types of migraines, please get them in immediately at the Alpha Spine Center to be evaluated on whether they are a candidate for NUCCA care.
Migraine Facts. Migraine Research Foundation. http://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/.
The Migraine – Stroke Connection. Lee, Mi Ji; Lee, Chungbin; Chung, Chin-Sang. Journal of Stroke. Vol 18(2); 2016
Summer is an awesome time of the year! Full of family gatherings, vacations and plenty of time outside. Kids will be out of school spending loads of time playing outdoors with their buddies. What one of the most popular and yet incredibly harmful activities kids love to do is jump on a trampoline. They are extremely dangerous if not used correctly. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advises that even with nets: “Parents should never purchase a home trampoline or allow children to use home trampolines.” Children 6 and under should never bounce on a trampoline. But let’s face it someone in your neighborhood has a trampoline. Kids are just going to bounce and bounce without a care for their safety. The absolute worst thing children can do and will is jump with multiple friends at once. Double bouncing and playing “popcorn” doubly increases their chances of a severe injury. Even with adult supervision, the “one child bounce at a time” rule isn't necessarily in place. The statistic is that 75% of trampoline injuries occur when several kids are jumping at once. Also, many insurance companies won’t insure homeowners that have a trampoline on the premises and/or may not cover trampoline-related claims. Coverage is highly variable.
You might be asking yourself then, how bad can a trampoline be? They are super fun! It's simple physics really. A trampoline creates a rebounding force into the spine causing your joints to compress. The harder you jump, the more force it creates into the body thus increasing the chance of severe trauma to the body. While kids can maintain some control on the up motion, it’s the down motion that is harder to control. This is where injury usually happens. Lacerations, sprains to ligaments, strains to muscle fibers, broken arms and legs and hyperextended knees are just some of the injuries that can occur. And those are the minor ones! Avulsion fractures can occur where a fragment of bone tears away from the main mass of bone. Yikes! Not to mention the occurrence of concussions and disc herniations to the spinal structure. Furthermore, injuries sustained on a trampoline can be equal to or sometimes worse than an auto accident whiplash!
If you or your child have any soreness after bouncing on a trampoline, you can be sure that there has been damage to your body. It is imperative that you call a N.U.C.C.A. doctor immediately. The sooner, the better! N.U.C.C.A. is ideal for addressing trampoline injuries. The most important thing when injured is to realign the spine and extremities and allow them to heal properly. It takes muscles 4-6 weeks to recover, ligaments 6-8 weeks, and nerves 3-4 months. This can ruin summertime fun! We at Alpha Spine Center have seen 100’s of children over the years with minor to major injuries from bouncing on a trampoline. What is our advice to parents? Say no to trampolines (and bounce houses for that matter)! With the warmer weather upon us, we expect to see these preventable injuries. The statistics over the last couple of decades speak for themselves. Just because there isn’t an outright ban of these dangerous “toys” doesn’t mean they are safe. We urge you, parents, to ask yourselves whether a few minutes of “innocent," joyful bouncing is really worth the risk of a catastrophic injury to your child’s developing brain and bones.
Ever wondered why you bite your tongue while chewing or talking? Some cultures believe when you bite your tongue it is an indication of someone cursing at you. Which would not make sense for anyone that is a left brainer or anyone who requires the facts. When I began to wonder why I bite my tongue, I was one day talking and happened to which created a bump. As the day went by the bump never subsided. However, when I sat for dinner, I bit my tongue in the same spot AGAIN! Really?! Which brought the question up as what is the reasoning for anyone to bite their own tongue?
As a chiropractor, the most logical reasoning would be that there is a spinal misalignment, causing the jaw to shift from its original positioning. The atlas vertebrae sits directly behind the jaw or more specifically the mandible. When the atlas moves out of alignment, it takes up some of the space between the atlas and mandible (the area right below the ear). This causes the jaw to move out its original place (to create space) as it opens. Now the jaw opens in a slanted and zig- zag pattern confusing the tongue about its spatial placement while it makes specific movements as we talk and chew, thus compromising itself between the teeth. Ouch!
The opposite is true too that the jaw can cause the atlas to move out of alignment. The jaw's position is compromised by postural abnormalities created by tight and weak muscles in the neck and mouth region, therefore causing the atlas to move out of its way.
As NUCCA chiropractors that specialize in the atlas bone, we will analyze and understand its relationship to the mandible, and address the issue by aligning the spine first, and the jaw second. So do you really need to see your chiropractor for that?Yes, Of course! Your atlas is the outlet for all communication between your brain, spinal cord and the rest of your body. If the mechanics are disturbed by its misalignment, then there is an increased probability of pressure on the brainstem. Next time you catch yourself biting your tongue, come to the Alpha Spine Center to be sure everything is aligned.
As you may have noticed in the office, previous newsletters and promos we have been advertising the professional line of nutritional supplements, Designs for Health. We are so impressed with Designs for Health and the quality of their products. They specifically cater to partnering with healthcare professionals and their patients. Designs for Health guiding philosophy is “Science First.” As it states on their website, they are committed to “research-driven products, synergistic formulations, and meaningful quantities of therapeutic ingredients.” What this means is that you will be getting high-quality nutritional supplements and proven efficacy. In other words, supplements that work!
They have an extensive line of products covering a broad range of nutritional needs. They have multi-vitamins and minerals, delicious protein powders (vegan and paleo too), and more targeted supplements for needs such as thyroid support, arthritis, and cardiovascular issues. The list goes on and on. We highly recommend a visit to our Designs for Health professional store at www.alphaspinecenter.ehealthpro.com to get more information about this superior supplement company and their products. They have made it incredibly easy to order online. Please ask an ASC team member about these products and how you can get registered and started today! Patients will receive 20% off their first order. We can’t say enough about Designs for Health. Another means to achieve a balanced and healthy 2017!
Have you ever seen Will Smith’s movie Concussion? It depicts head traumas from sports related injuries that can create detrimental unseen damage to the brain and brain stem. Although sports injuries are the major cause of concussions; whiplash causing activities and motor vehicle accidents are just as prevalent in causing concussions.
Imagine riding a motocross cycle in the backwoods of Georgia with your son, and he is blasting ahead as you try to keep up. You are over 50 years old, and you are trying to relive your youth. Then your son and the other riders find themselves at the end of the trail near the cars, and you are nowhere to be found. An hour later you find yourself at the truck not realizing how you got there with a pounding headache. You feel dazed and confused and don't know that you hit your head from a fall. The dirt on one side of your body and scuff marks on the helmet is the sign that you had an accident and didn't remember a thing. You just had a concussion!
It is estimated every year that there are around 136,000 sports-related concussions just in young people alone. These incidences occur most often between the ages of 9 and 22. For 90% of these young people, their recovery time is one week. However, for the 10% (approximately 13,600) of young people who have prolonged periods of recovery, the post-concussive syndrome can become a concern. There are four prominent symptoms of PCS-- sleep, cognitive, emotional, and somatic. The percentage of these cases can range from 1.5% to 15% and can leave devastating results. This damage can lead to memory loss, intolerance to exercise, and neurocognitive dysfunction. PCS and brainstem trauma can both have a negative impact on the communication of the nervous system. They can also create headaches, nausea, dizziness, foggy thinking, lack of appetite, and neck pain.
Did you know the doctors at the Alpha Spine Center are well versed in diagnosing and detecting post-concussive syndrome and brain stem related injuries? In fact, the story shared earlier wasn't just a story made up to give an example but David Long's story, a patient, who called the Alpha Spine Center right away to receive the necessary care for his scary experience with a Concussion. Depending on the level of trauma we will determine whether they need to be referred out for a PET scan, to a neurologist or cared for at the Alpha Spine Center. If your child or loved one has ever had nausea, vomiting, unclear thoughts, repetitive thoughts, mood swings and dizziness after any head trauma; make sure you have them get checked from one of the doctors at the Alpha Spine Center to prevent long term damage to their nervous system.
While our bodies can create vitamins such as vitamin-K and vitamin-D internally, the essential vitamin, vitamin-C, cannot be. This vitamin, however, is one of the most crucial vitamins for our health; that is why it is so important that we include a vitamin-C supplement in our diets. Here are the top three reasons why:
1. Vitamin-C supplementation boosts immune function. Vitamin-C deficiencies are often lead to an increased frequency and duration of colds. While colds themselves are not all that dangerous, they can be a gateway to bigger and more critical illnesses, such as pneumonia. Without proper supplementation of vitamin-C, we put our bodies at risk for a weakened immune system.
2. Vitamin-C helps to energize and support our immune system. For instance, if we have an infection, our immune cells will send more vitamin-C to the area where our body needs it the most. That is why, if we have a deficiency, the duration of our illness increases.
3. Vitamin-C aids in the production of collagen. Collagen is a tissue your body needs for your bones, blood vessels, teeth, and gums. Collagen cannot build without vitamin-C. Our heart and blood vessels cannot function without collagen; therefore, vitamin-C is a vital nutrient for our health and well-being.
Because vitamin-C is water-soluble and excreted through urine and sweat, we need to replace it every day. That is why products such as BioFizz and Stellar C by Designs for Health are essential products for our daily routine. These products, taken as a daily dietary supplement, will boost your health and lead to optimal immunity.
Another day…you slowly get out of bed to the ringing alarm. You sleepily get ready and head off to work or school, or maybe you wake up at the crack of dawn to the baby crying. Perhaps you’ve eaten enough food, and gotten the sleep you need, but for some reason you still find yourself pouring cup after cup of coffee to combat a constant state of tiredness. Well, that’s because there is much more to our energy than just eating three square meals a day and getting 8 hours of sleep. Our emotional, mental, and chemical health has a tremendous effect on how much energy we have. Juggling a hundred different things at once, not dealing with strains in relationships, holding on to past regrets, and even living in an environment that makes it difficult to get moving (such as a cluttered house) are things that can cause us to feel fatigued. Here are a few little lifestyle changes and tips that can help you feel “up and at em” once again!
-Get enough sleep, about 8-10 Hours a night is recommended
-Want to feel less tired waking up? Avoid caffeine, alcohol, television, and big meals right before rest.
-EXERCISE! Regular activity boosts your energy, and it allows your body to relax and fall asleep more quickly and easily at night.
-Eat foods high in nutrients found in fruits and vegetables and if you don't think you are getting solid nutrition through your food consistently, supplement your diet with high-quality vitamins.
-Get outside! Sunlight tells your body to be active by releasing the hormone Serotonin.
-Manage your stress by giving yourself time and space to relax and clear the mind.
-Give your eyes and mind a break by getting away from the screens on your phones, TVs, and Computers. A British experiment showed that when people simultaneously juggle work and email, their measured IQs dipped by 10 points. Give yourself a break!
-Treat Yourself! Do something recreational that you love in balance with your hours at work.
“People who stick to a reasonable schedule and a regular regimen do better at fighting fatigue in the long run.” Says Rochelle Rosian, MD, a rheumatologist in Cleveland, OH.
All it takes is a little organization, and some small lifestyle changes, to get back the energy you need to make the most of each day. It is up to you so make the changes you need to live your life to the fullest!