The Chiropractic Solution to the Opioid Crisis

The Chiropractic Solution to the Opioid Crisis

It is no secret that the US is facing a crisis of epic proportions. With phrases like “opioid epidemic” and “opioid crisis” littering the news on a regular basis, it sometimes feels like we are facing two choices – live a life in pain or live a life of dependence on dangerous medications. Fortunately, there is a third option that has been clinically shown to minimize pain and maximize function without a prescription.

Pain and Your Brain

The center of every experience we have, every illness we face, every pain we endure is found in the central nervous system. This vital part of your body is made up of the brain and the spinal cord. When you stub your toe, signals travel from your toe through your spinal cord and directly to your brain where it is interpreted as sharp, throbbing pain. Your body then naturally releases opioids to help interrupt the pain signals and settle your brain into a more relaxed state.

How Opioids Work

Prescription opioid medications bind to the pain receptors in your brain, preventing them from receiving signals. While this process sounds nice for someone in excruciating pain, there are two inherent problems with this system. First, your brain loses its ability to respond to opioids it receives which creates dependence on prescription pain medication. Second, it does not address the underlying cause of a person’s pain, nor does this type of medication improve someone’s overall function.

The Chiropractic Difference

Even if someone has heard of chiropractic care, chances are their understanding is limited.

Chiropractic care is a holistic approach to improving the body’s function. By eliminating the interruptions in the way, the brain receives signals from the body, the body is allowed to heal itself, improve its function, and limit its own pain naturally and effectively.

For instance, if you experience chronic low back pain from a slipped or bulging disc, pain medication may keep you going for a while, but it will not fix the bulging or herniated disc on your back. Chiropractic adjustments that allow the disc to have the space it needs to repair itself will not only relieve your pain over time, it will also help you bend, lift, stretch, and otherwise return to normal function.

What Chiropractic Care is:

  • Safe

  • Drug-free

  • Non-habit forming.

  • A scientifically proven way to reduce the amount of pain you experience.

  • A way to improve your body’s function.

What Chiropractic Care is Not:

  • A magic pill. In fact, it is not a pill at all.

  • A quick fix. While many of our patients experience some relief after their first adjustment, chiropractic care offers a cumulative effect. The more diligent you are with completing a treatment plan, the greater the benefit you will experience, the more long-term success you will have.

  • Dangerous. Chiropractors are highly trained medical professionals that can offer you a customized treatment experience based on your body and your needs. Even though many treatments use strange-looking equipment, every chiropractic process is rooted in science, rigorously tested, and safe.

For more information on how chiropractic care can help you eliminate pain without prescriptions, call our office today..

Back stretches you can do at home!

Back stretches you can do at home!

If you are one of the 31 million Americans that experience low back pain, you know relief can be hard to come by. While pain relievers temporarily mask the pain, stretching offers both pain relief and increased mobility in a matter of minutes. These stretches are an ideal way to loosen tight muscles and keep your back moving. Hold each for 15 seconds before releasing and moving on to the next stretch.

Laying Down

Many of the best stretches for your lower back happen while lying on the ground. Choose a carpeted floor or lay on a yoga or gymnastics mat if you have one available for maximum comfort.

The Bridge

Lay down with your feet flat on the floor, your legs forming a 90-degree angle. Pushing your weight through your heels, lift your bottom in the air until you feel the stretch. If you experience any pain, lower your buttocks slightly and flex your leg muscles.

The Side Roll

From “The Bridge”, tilt your knees to one side and place your opposite arm out to the side. You should feel this stretch in your hip and lower back. After holding for 15 seconds, bring your knees back to center and repeat with the opposite side.

Single Leg Chest Hold

Still laying on your back, bring one knee up to your chest, holding it with your hands. Extend the opposite leg out on the floor as straight as you can. Hold this position for 15 seconds and then repeat with the opposite leg.

Double Leg Chest Hold

Bring both knees to your chest and hold this position. You should not experience pain in this stretch. If you do, release your legs away from your chest until you no longer feel pain.

Seated Stretches

Most people don’t realize the role your hamstrings, quadriceps and gluteal muscles play in low back pain. Often the painful pulling you experience in your low back originates in one of these areas. Stretching your hamstrings, quads, and glutes can have a profound effect on the pain you feel in your lower back.

Figure 4 Stretch

Sitting on a mat or the floor, bend one leg until the sole of your foot is touching your thigh. The other leg should be outstretched. Without curving your spine, reach toward the outstretched toe or ankle, whichever is more comfortable. You should feel this stretch in your hamstring. Switch legs and repeat the stretch.

Gluteal Stretch

Sitting on a mat or the floor, cross your foot over your leg and turn your body the opposite direction of where your foot is placed. Be sure to pull your knee into your chest as you turn. You should feel this stretch along the outer thigh and into your glutes. Repeat the stretch on the opposite side with the opposite foot crossed over the other leg.

If you experience any pain while performing these stretches, please call Pure Wellness for more information on how these stretches can be modified for your benefit. If you are experiencing low back pain, our doctors can help restore your strength, improve your flexibility and eliminate discomfort. Call today for your consultation.

Don’t Let Your New Year Resolution Become a Statistic

Don’t Let Your New Year Resolution Become a Statistic

Having a new year ahead of us is a little intoxicating (and no, we’re not talking about the champagne at the New Year’s party a few weeks ago). The idea that we have a clean slate, a fresh start, a chance to change things about our lives that no longer serve us is enough to make the most practical of goal setters swoon. Yet 80 percent of all new year’s resolutions fail by February with only 8 percent making it to the end of the year. What is it about these goals that keep us from actually following through and achieving them? And more importantly, how do we prevent ourselves from becoming a statistic?

Be S.M.A.R.T.

In the heady excitement of the new year, we often forget what makes a goal, a goal. The acronym S.M.A.R.T. is a great reminder of how our new year’s resolutions should be structured. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. In order for a goal to be considered a goal, it must be all of these things. For instance, one of the most common resolutions we make is to lose weight. We may even make dramatic changes to our lifestyle in order to accommodate this resolution, but we are seldom successful. Even though the goal to “lose weight” is attainable and relevant to your life, it is not specific, measurable or timely. However, once we change the new year’s resolution from “lose weight” to “lose 1-2 pounds per week until June 30, then focus on maintaining that weight loss through the end of the year,” you clearly define success. Not only have you created a large, overarching goal (to lose as much as 50 pounds), you have given yourself weekly measurements of success along the way. Translating all of your new year’s resolutions into S.M.A.R.T. goals can greatly improve the likelihood you will follow through.

Be Relevant

Even though we touched on the idea of setting a relevant resolution when we were talking about S.M.A.R.T. goals, it bears spending a little time on why this aspect is so important. Too often we get caught making new year’s resolutions that are popular but are not relevant to us. No wonder we lose enthusiasm for our resolutions almost as soon as we begin them. Choose goals that you are ready to devote time and energy to and skip the things you think you “should” focus on. 

Be Patient

At one time scientists believed you could create a new habit in as few as 21 days. New research suggests a new habit is only formed when we crave the new behavior over the old. This is something that can take as long as 60 days to achieve. If come February you find that you are still craving sugar, hate working out, want a cigarette, or despise cutting down on your spending, give it until at least mid-March before you throw in the towel or change course. 

By setting S.M.A.R.T goals that are especially relevant to you and being patient with yourself as you change your habits, the likelihood that you will be one of the 8 percent of people who achieve their new year’s goal dramatically increases.

How to Ease Your Aching Joints This Winter

How to Ease Your Aching Joints This Winter

The temperature isn’t the only thing freezing up this winter. Your joints are also protesting the arrival of colder temperatures. Whether your back, your knees, your hands, or your feet are the culprits, there are a few things you can do to beat the winter ache.

The Cold Connection

It’s important to understand why cold weather and joint pain go together. While changes in weather and temperature can affect your mood, activity level and comfort, studies have found that it’s a change in barometric pressure that causes joint pain. Barometric (or atmospheric) pressure is the force the atmosphere exerts on an object. Developing storms cause barometric pressure to drop while clear skies are associated with higher pressure. High pressure also keeps the tissues inside of your body from expanding. As pressure falls, your tendons and ligaments expand causing pressure on nerves and resulting pain. You cannot control barometric pressure outside, but you can combat its effects.

1. Drink More Water

It is tempting to rely on drinking coffee and tea during winter months for their warming properties. While a single cup of coffee or a mug of green tea have inflammation-busting antioxidants, caffeine can have a diuretic effect on your joints if you drink it in excess. Water, on the other hand, promotes synovial fluid production, the fluid that lubricates your joints. Drinking water before a meal can also limit your caloric intake and prevent holiday weight gain which also has an effect on how your joints feel.

2. Get Moving!

As tempting as it is to sit by the fire and avoid the chill, exercise eases joint pain, even in winter months. Now is the perfect time to resurrect your gym membership, take a fitness class, do an exercise video indoors, or stretch while watching your favorite show. Plugging exercise into your routine, especially in the morning hours when you have a tendency to be the stiffest, will ease the ache throughout your day.

3. Stay Warm

Stiff, achy joints are often made stiffer and achier by a lack of blood flow to your muscles in an attempt to keep your organs warm and functioning. Adding gloves, hats, layers of clothing or even wraps to your aching joints can hold in the heat and ease the ache. Just be sure to pay attention to your hands and feet as these are the areas where most pain and stiffness originates in the winter. 

4. Visit the Chiropractor

When nerves become crowded, pinched or inflamed the way they do when your soft tissues expand in lower barometric pressure, the aches and pains that result are your body’s way of telling you there is a problem. The same painful aches occur when your spine and joints are out of alignment. Combine everyday stressors and the physical demands we place on our bodies with colder temperatures and you have a recipe for winter pain. Fortunately, chiropractic care can realign your spine and joints, allowing the soft tissues room for expansion without pain. 

Call Pure Wellness today and find out how chiropractic can keep you moving, pain-free this winter.

The Physical Effects of Holiday Stress

The Physical Effects of Holiday Stress

It seems like as soon as pumpkin spice lattes appear in coffee shops across the country our thoughts turn from the lazy days of summer to the holidays. Whether you have elf-like enthusiasm or a Grinch-like attitude about the whole season, one thing is nearly universal – the holidays often equal stress. What you may not know is that the holiday stress you feel now can impact how you feel physically all season long.

The Biology of Fight or Flight

Your body is equipped with a fight or flight response that is designed to keep you from being hurt, killed or eaten by predators. When our hunter-gatherer ancestors came across a wild animal, their brains would flood their bodies with stress hormones that would cause their heart rate to go up, their digestive system to slow down and their muscles to use available blood glucose in their blood to either fight the animal or run from it. Our bodies and brains are still equipped with this defense mechanism, even though the wildest animals we encounter are our problematic coworkers or the other parents at the school drop-off line. Unfortunately, our biological responses are the same regardless of the type of stress we experience. If you are stressed about cooking Thanksgiving for 30 people or surprised by a rattlesnake, your body will not differentiate between the two.

Stress and Your Body

While the fight or flight response has a real biological purpose, activating this response over and over can cause very real physical symptoms. In fact, chronic low levels of stress keep the proverbial “gas pedal” down on your sympathetic nervous system that controls fight or flight. Much like idling a car for too long, persistent levels of stress hormones can damage blood vessels, contribute to weight gain, raise blood pressure, cause muscle aches and pains, contribute to digestive problems, and increase the likelihood of suffering from a heart attack or stroke. The fact that there is a sharp increase in the number of deadly heart attacks during the holiday season has been linked to these physical effects of stress.

Fighting Fight or Flight

Learning how to manage your stress this season is the key to having a pain-free holiday. Meditation with deep breathing has been linked to lower blood pressure levels. Physical exercise has been shown to lower heart rate, increase feel-good hormones in your body, and shut down the brain’s fight or flight response. Chiropractic care releases stored tension in the body and prepares the muscles to send and receive communications from the brain and spinal cord more effectively. Massage has been clinically shown to reduce tension and enhance relaxation not only during the massage but for hours afterward.

Fortunately, you can access these therapies and more stress-busting treatments at Pure Wellness. Not only will your body thank you, taking a few minutes out of your holiday schedule to take care of yourself will help settle your mind and prepare you for what’s next. Call today to schedule your appointment or book online and begin enjoying a lower stress holiday season.

Hormones, Hormones Everywhere…

Hormones, Hormones Everywhere…

Your body is dependent on hormones. From digestion to energy absorption, sexual function to hair growth, hormones are the chemical messengers that signal every process throughout your body. Too much of one, too little of another, and your entire system is thrown into chaos.

In fact, there are one trillion cells that rely on the precise (and often precarious) balance of hormones in your brain, blood, saliva, muscles, and other organs. Fortunately, the safest way to balance your body’s hormones is through a process called Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).

What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?

There are two basic types of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – conventional HRT which uses medications like PremPro, Progestin and Provera to balance your estrogen and progesterone levels, and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) which uses custom-compounded hormones from natural sources.

Extracted from plants, such as yams , BHRT is designed to replicate the natural hormones your body produces. Not only does this make them easier to absorb, but your body also does not recognize the difference between them and the hormones your body naturally produces. This results in better results with fewer side effects. Best of all, plant-based BHRT can be customized for each user.

How do I know if I need BHRT?

As you age, your hormone levels naturally change. Anyone who has been through puberty, pregnancy or menopause can relate to the wild fluctuations that seemed to happen during these times. But even when you are not going through these times of your life, your hormones may be causing several symptoms. These may include:

• Depression, anxiety or mood changes
• Insomnia
• Headaches
• Migraines
• Memory loss
• Fatigue
• Unexplained pain
• Night sweats and hot flashes
• Unexplained weight gain
• Hair loss
• Decreased libido
• Suddenly heavy/ light periods
• Thyroid disorders

You don’t need to be experiencing all of these symptoms to have a hormonal imbalance. Even if you are only experiencing a few, you may be a good candidate for BHRT.

What is the BHRT process?

The first step in identifying the right BHRT combination for you is to get an idea of where your hormones are right now. At Pure Wellness, that begins with a thorough review of your medical history. Dr. DiRenzo will also ask questions about your lifestyle, your symptoms, your medical and family history, and your specific needs.

Blood tests will be taken to determine your current hormone levels. Once these tests are reviewed, Dr. DiRenzo will create a hormone treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs and goals. Once you have begun BHRT, you will be periodically monitored throughout the process for changes to your lab results and symptoms.

Stop accepting the “natural aging process” as a reason why your body isn’t functioning the way you want it to. Call Pure Wellness for a free consultation to find out more about BHRT and whether it is right for you.