Toxins are anything harmful to us. These can come in all kinds of forms; solids, liquids, and gases. These can enter from the outside in or from the inside and come out of our bodies. We can consume toxins by eating or drinking or through our largest organ of our whole body- our skin, by breathing something into our lungs and then it entering our blood system, or intravenously.
Commonly, the quality of our air and water are beyond our vast control. We can have air filters or clean out the ducts annually in our homes and offices, but when we go outside, we are at the will of our environments. Some situations we can control, for instance if we smoke, that will impact everything from our mouths to our throats to our lungs to our blood, and actually the fluid around cells including in between our discs of our spine. Or on a healthy spin, we can breathe in diffused air with essential oils. There are some benefits to taking a whiff of lavender or peppermint from time to time to break some tension. It's also a great excuse to take a big, deep, refreshing breath which we all need more often than we take.
With proper consumption, drinking water which helps flush toxins and hydrates our cells. This is all suggesting good quality water is ready and available. Triple osmosis processes is the optimal kind of filtered water to be drank. The optimal amount of water consumed each day is half your weight in ounces throughout the day and stopping about 2 hours before bed.
Furthermore, we only have so much control about the water that comes from our cities and to our homes. We can only drink bottled or filtered water and we can put filters in our shower heads so the water that comes out of our facets. The water that comes out and onto and a lesser amount- into our bodies may have an impact over time to specific organs such as the thyroid.
Our thyroids are impacted by soften water because our water is often softened by salts and salts often have iodine and our thyroids are impacted by iodine. We often need certain levels of iodine for our thyroids, but too much or too little can change the way our thyroids function. This can impact levels of hormones within our bodies. If you're concerned with the levels of salts or other minerals, a filter for the shower head can be found at a local health food store or online.
Our bathwater isn’t the only thing that comes into contact with our skin, what we put on it can also impact the way our bodies function. For years I used this specific lotion. Only this lotion “worked” for me. One day, I thought about how I used gobs and gobs of this lotion and STILL had dry skin. What the what, right? I looked at the ingredients which was a long list. One of the ingredients was the same as in my face wash that claimed to dry out my acne. Weird. I then decided to change up my routine and threw it all out. Now, I wash my face with baking powder. I use a concoction I make myself of apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, and tea tree oil for my toner and I cover myself from head to toe in a one ingredient coconut oil. At bed I used unrefined because I don’t care who smells me, and for the day, I use refined for my moisturizer and body lotion. I have had less acne and softer skin since. Consider what you put on your body and how you might be able to replace it with a fewer ingredient option or just put on less, i.e. make-up.
With foods, not limited to, but including the SAD- Standard American Diet- inflammation can run rampant. Diets containing high amounts of red meats can lead to inflammation processes like gout, while other diets high in white meats can lead to hormonal imbalances of the consumer if the meat doesn’t come from anti-biotic/hormone free sources. Even eating animal products that have been treated by multiple medications/hormones can be transferred to the consumer even after cooking. Whatever is given to by feed or injection to the animal, are still in the meat of the animal and whoever eats it also gets it in some way or another.
But this notion is not just limited to animal products, fruits and vegetables are also conduits for dis-ease if not cleaned properly, stored properly, prepared properly, and consumed properly. The foods we eat can help fuel the fire of toxicity and inflammation or help relieve it. With antioxidant rich foods*, we can battle the processes that create inflammation within our guts (digestive systems) and into our blood streams all around our bodies to all of our cells. Try eating with purpose and if it comes to the point where you’re ignoring the feeling after eating trash food, maybe you should think of your older self and how they’d thank you if you just started adding a few more greens here and there before that’s all you’re allowed to eat. Better to transition on your own time with it being your idea than someone else’s, don’t you think?
Just to recap from last week, our topic was "Thoughts" regarding three stressors Chiropractic looks at when questioning the foundation of a problem. Our thoughts can really impact our posture and our posture can really impact our thoughts and when believing this to be true, changes can be made. Sitting or standing up straight and tall can increase our range to take a deep breath or give us the confidence to continue on. Here is a link to Amy Cuddy's infamous TedTalk about how posture can motivate us:
This week I'm going to write about traumas. First I want you to imagine a person writing this speaking in a British accent. Trust me. It adds flare to the geekery that is necessary.
How a muscle becomes sore after a preemptive aging/weight gaining motive:
Did you know the reason we are sore after working out is that we break down our muscles and rebuild them? If you can put on your scientist hat and turn your wrist if you wear your heart on your sleeve- and picture raw meat, beef for instance, you can see the pale fibers between and holding the red meaty ones. The pale fibers along with the red ones become fixed when one becomes too stagnant and slightly dehydrated- those fibers adhere to the fibers near it. When one decides to take on more than average activity; those fibers within and between the muscle fibers are broken. So imagine tearing hundreds, maybe thousands of fibers and the fluid building up allowing those areas to become slightly swollen. From the outside in containing the fluid along with the fibers, the complexity adding up to equal global soreness.
To add insult to injury, remember, muscles are attached to bones. With many muscles attached to our spine & pelvis, it is easy to see how we may injure ourselves beyond pulling muscles. Disclaimer: if the pain doesn't go away after icing and mild stretching and you're unable to function properly or normally within a couple of days of the intense workout, it's probably a sign that something else- much deeper- is wrong.
It’s also important to know that injuries can happen beyond our spines.
Many people are surprised when they find out not only can the spine be subluxated (misaligned and putting pressure on the nervous system), but also their shoulders, elbows, hands, hips, knees, and feet. All of these can be out of correct position as well. Chiropractors are capable with helping with these concerns and you should feel comfortable asking.
Moving on to discuss the differences of injury-
With the doozies; it's those that can happen in one of two ways. One, there's one incident that can really rob one of health and wellness. This can be where a too heavy object is lifted one time, when one falls from a higher area as simple as a curb and to the cold hard ground, when one commits to being a weekend warrior, along with many other single situation incidents.
And two, multiple micro-traumas that finally start to add up. There can be anxiety-freeing multiple mile runs, the bending over and again without engaging the core that starts to blow out the low back, the lifting multiple too heavy objects too quickly with bad form, the weekday sitter; sitting for many days for too long with few breaks and bad posture, the pushing in one way or another over and over again until something else gives.
Now that we have discussed what happens with an injury and how it can happen, we could go on to say that the doozies are just micro-traumas in waiting and with proper alignment and pressure off the nervous system; anyone can heal faster or prevent the injury in the first place. Why not?
Holding the core strong with regular engagement becomes easier with proper alignment of the spine and vice versa along with keeping limbs in proper position thus using Chiropractic aiding with prevention and proactivity of healing of injuries allowing the body to heal itself with energy from the nervous system.
Let it be clear, gun shot wounds or anything that breaks the skin not limited to but including broken bones may not have as fast results in healing as an aforementioned bio-mechanical injury.
April is National Stress Awareness Month. To be clear, this isn't National Mental Health Awareness Month. I am not a licensed therapist or counselor, but I am a licensed Chiropractor so I will apply awareness of STRESS and how it impacts our bodies.
When I talk about Chiropractic and what impacts our nervous systems in my office; I talk about stressors including thoughts, traumas, and toxins. This week I want to focus on thoughts. Thoughts can be stressful. Not only in our heads, but how our thoughts are impacted by our bodies and our bodies are impacted by our thoughts. Stress can exhibit in many ways not limited to but including to mental, physical, and social health. Issues can arise if one’s tolerance is reached or exceeded in any of the previous noted areas.
Let’s say I'm bummed or even too relaxed, my posture shows it. Picture this, I let my shoulders sink forward, I let my chin tuck under, and the muscles in my back holding me upright release. It’s very common for those who are depressed to want be in the fetal position again. Others don’t even want to be seen and curl up into a C-shaped ball and shrink. For others, it’s a place where we all once felt safe.
On the other hand, when I’m in traffic in the morning I can also feel stressed. Anxiety at the wheel instead of a well-adjusted commuter. I’m guilty of driving my car like a golf cart on occasion; leaning forward, shoulders up by my ears as to make it go faster, head in front of my shoulders, and my thoughts racing to make sure I get where I’m going without accident or incident.
Here are two examples of how my mood can impact my posture. The strains on my posture may be a small thing, but small things can grow and change and make bigger impacts. My back muscles, my spine, and inevitably, my spinal cord to some degree are impacted-all of which influence my nervous system.
Your body may have an impact on your mind if you sit up, put your shoulders down & back, lean your head back to sit on your shoulders, and take a long, deep breath in. Those breaths can take that oxygen to all areas of your body and feed it proper nutrients inevitably relieving some stress. Good posture may lead to good thoughts because you’re taking pressure off your nervous system and allowing it to work properly.
Being aware that being depressed or that being anxious is also stressful can lead us to make positive changes in our lives. I want to leave you with a quote that has helped me and I hope it can help you too. “Being depressed is living in the past. Being anxious is living in the future. Being here now, is a present.”
What to do with shoulder pain…
It can be painful, but healing is possible.
Last Spring I started taking a ceramics class at the Ankeny Art Center. It’ had been awhile, but I’ve had some experience in undergrad with hand-building and less with the wheel. When I started working on the wheel again, I didn’t use my best judgement and tried to “muscle through” to center my slab. This wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had and thus caused me to injure myself. I felt a disruption for lack of a better word in my left shoulder area, but no pain. Not that day anyway. This was in April of 2018.
A few days after I felt this weird sensation-not quite like pain, not quite like weakness, but not normal. I actually forgot all about the centering on the wheel and kind of questioned what else I could have done. Did I lift too many gallons of milk at my part-time job? Did my dog yank me weirdly on a recent walk? It wasn’t until I had gone back to throw had I realized that was the culprit.
After time other things started to happen. I did start to experience moderate pain & weakness with certain actions such as pushing, which is a significant part of my job as a Chiropractor. In addition to work, other parts of my life started to suffer. Certain yoga poses were impossible, painful, and disheartening. Getting that calm after class wasn’t carrying me throughout the day. Then, I started to wake with excruciating pain in the night which caused for long restless days to match the nights. Irritability started in with restless nights and lack of patience started to weigh on me.
Would this damn disruption ever heal?
I often felt someone could take this damn arm instead.
As you can see, I was going a bit nutters with the random pain, weakness, and sleep.
I’m not the oldest person in the world and am quite active with my left arm so it was humbling to say the least. Through this time, I was regularly adjusted-spine and shoulder, received acupuncture, and massage focusing on my shoulder area. Icing, stretching [isometric], and exercising the range of motion in both arms also helped. I often had to check myself-thanking myself for being able to do what I could & never wishing this upon anyone. Finally, in October of 2018, I started to feel like my shoulder had started to heal. Yes, 6 months later.
I know what it’s like. If you or a family member are suffering from shoulder pain, call or tell them to call me at 515.868.6155 to set up an appointment. With compassion, efficiency, and effectiveness, we can work as a team to offer them or you relief.